Build a Better Push-up – 9 Exercises to increase strength for a traditional push-up

Strength training for adults and kids is paramount to any workout program. Whether your goals are to improve your posture, balance, core strength, or simply strengthen your upper body, the one exercise that will help is the push-up.

The proper push-up form can be difficult. Several muscles in the chest, arms, shoulders, triceps, back, and neck all have to work in concert to perform this dynamic exercise flawlessly.

Push-up muscles

As a physical education teacher, I’ve observed the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly when it comes to push-ups.

The goal of this post is to help you and your students eliminate The Just Plain Ugly (PE teachers know what I’m talking about) as described below.

  • Micro Push-ups – rapid-fire head movement with very limited, if any, flex in the arms throughout the movement
  • Dipsy Doodles – arms remain extended, chest up, lower body thrusts up and down
  • Halfsies – nice straight body but arms only flex a fraction throughout the movement  (can be a good lead-up to a proper push-up)
  • Floppy Fish – legs and waist flat on the ground, push up, then completely flop to the ground

Each class will usually have a couple of students who are push-up masters. They’re often the students who are gymnasts, study a martial art form, or they’re just extremely active and possibly practice push-ups at home.

However, many students simply haven’t developed the necessary muscle strength to fulfill a proper push-up, and this is fine. After all, we can’t teach them to run before they can walk. There are several simple exercises that can assist kids and adults in developing their strength, allowing them to eventually perform a perfect traditional push-up.

By incorporating the following exercises consistently, anyone can become a push-up master!

If the following videos do NOT appear, then click BUILD A BETTER PUSH-UP for access to the push-up playlist.

Wall Push-up

Tabletop Push-up

Incline Push-up

Crab Walk

Flexed Arm Plank

Negative Countdown Push-up

Positive Push-up

Wheel Barrow

Knee Push-up

“We must learn to walk before we can run.”

Let’s get rid of the bad and ugly push-ups and go for the perfect form one step at a time.


Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justybubpe.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel for over 100 useful games for physical education!

One Comment on “Build a Better Push-up – 9 Exercises to increase strength for a traditional push-up

  1. Pingback: April Fitness Challenge – BUILD A BETTER PUSH-UP – Keeping Kids in Motion

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