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Upper Body Workout to Build Strength for Push Ups + Tips on How to Do More Push Ups

12 Min • Upper Body
  • View on YouTube
    • Training Type Low Impact, Strength Training, Toning
    • Equipment Dumbbell
    • Membership Free


    This upper body workout makes for a great burnout round, and it’s excellent for increasing strength in order to be able to do more push ups. You can use this at the end of a longer workout, or you can add a warm up and cool down and use it as a standalone routine.

    This exercise works for many different fitness levels, with small modifications. If you are new to building strength, we recommend doing the push up exercises with your hands on a wall, or elevated bench. On the other hand, if you want to make this more difficult, you can elevate your feet during the push ups, or wear a weighted vest in order to make this workout much more difficult. 

    Related: 4 Week FB Flex: Upper Body Strength Program

    Tips on how to build strength for push ups:

    • Use negative reps: if you struggle pushing yourself up away from the ground, try getting into a full push up position and doing a very slow, controlled drop towards the ground, in a “negative” downward movement. 
    • Build well rounded strength: it’s smart to work the entire body. Avoid doing just one exercise in order to get better at only one thing, as this will lead to muscle imbalance. In this push up workout, we have added pull exercises to the routine, in order to help prevent rounded shoulders as the chest muscles get stronger from doing push ups. Most push up challenges that circulate the web are less than ideal for their lack of balance. 
    • Work on core strength: Push ups are really a full body exercise. A strong core is a big part of the picture.
    • Train your upper body 2-3x/week: Make sure to take rest days in between intense workouts.
    • Practice full push ups instead of half push ups: Knee push ups are still a good exercise, but practicing those is not a direct crossover to being able to do a full push up. This is where an elevated surface comes in: picture body alignment when doing a push up against a wall compared to push up from the knees, and you’ll notice how much more closely the full body position mimics the position you take when doing a full push up. Negatives are another way that you can practice the range of motion of a full push up, even if you aren’t actually able to complete a full rep.

    Workout Structure
    Warm Up and Cool Down not included (make sure to do both)
    Equipment: Dumbbells
    Muscle Focus: Chest, Upper Back, Biceps, Triceps, Core

    Workout: 12 min (45 Seconds On, 15 Seconds Off in an AB/AB Format)
    - Regular Push Up
    - Bent Over Wide Row

    - Wide Push Up
    - Reverse Fly

    - Narrow Push Up
    - Bent Over Close Row

    Make sure that you do a warm up before you start, and a cool down when you’re finished. 

    What kinds of workouts would you like to see next? Thank you for working out with us!