Marisa HeinzeDecember 23, 2019
Tutorial: push-up on knees
The push-up on knees is an essential first step for those looking to master the full push-up correctly. It will help you develop strength and stability. Plus, recent studies show that unlike what is perceived, this exercise is also effective: they still give your chest, shoulders and arms a quality workout while putting less stress in your core. This is how you should perform it.
- The push-up on knees is an active strength exercise for those looking to master the full push-up.
- The exercise is often overlooked as an introductory push-up movement, but it should be drilled during the early stages of push-up training to learn the technique and feel of a full push-up.
- Assume a full push-up position with hands positioned directly under the shoulders – from here drop the knees to the floor. This is the push-up on knees starting position.
- Engage the core. Keeping the hands under the shoulders, slowly lower the torso to the floor. Aim the shoulders towards the hands and maintain a strong core.
- Slowly return and repeat for reps or time.
- The full push-up requires excellent control of body shape (torso) and a high level of upper body strength. It also requires a strong foundation through the shoulder girdle and shoulder joint to provide an ‘anchor point’ for the upper body.
- Unfortunately, many people who wish to master the push-up jump straight into it and cannot adequately stabilize the torso and upper body – often resulting in arching/rounding of the back, and sore shoulders. Lack of wrist strength may also become an issue resulting in sore wrists.
- The push-up on knees allows you to drill the push-up at lower loads, placing more focus on technique development. It’s interesting to note that many individuals have enough pushing strength for the push-up, but it’s the core and shoulder stability that lacking.
- During the movement, pay close attention to the following:
- Make sure you lower your shoulders towards your hands. It’s common to see shoulders lowered behind the hands and the shoulders too elevated. The problem is this takes the ‘strength’ from the chest, placing it in the upper back.
- Engage the core to prevent the low back from arching. Although you are not carrying the weight of the legs in this exercise, it’s important to gain awareness of having a tight core. When you eventually perform the full push-up, the weight of the legs will ‘pull’ the low back into an arch and this will require a strong core to counteract it.