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When you think of an exercise, any exercise. What’s the first to come to mind? Star jumps? Most people would say push-ups, and of course push-up can be one of the most effective exercise you’ll ever do…. If you do them right!

The not-so humble push-up is brilliant for strengthening your core however it is also notoriously hard to master, or master properly! Many people start with knee push-ups, which is fine if a full press-up is beyond you however it is important to know that knee push-up won’t help you get better at full push-ups.

Knee push-ups are utilised by those without adequate strength to do a full push-up and I get that however what people really need to do, if they want to graduate to full push-up is to see these two forms as entirely separate. The only way you’ll get better at doing a full push-up is to do a full push-up. A knee push-up uses different muscles.

Don’t believe me? Let’s compare the two.

 Full Push-Ups

When doing a full or proper push-up you should have your feet together, your back should be in a suitably neutral holding position and your glutes will be pulled in / squeezed tight. When you push-up you use your whole body and your core reaps the benefits. Your body holds taut, your elbows are placed at forty-five degrees and when you “reach” the ground your forearms should be parallel to the floor.

 Knee Push-Ups

 Try and squeeze in your glutes when you’re in the knee push-up “pose”. It isn’t easy at all and is certainly not as effective as a proper push-up. Consider also your spine when doing a knee push-up as compared to a full push-up. The tension just isn’t there. You will struggle to end the exercise with your forearms vertical to the ground and indeed trying to will likely cause additional and unnecessary stress on your elbows and shoulders. Not good stress that helps you build muscle but bad stress that encourages wear and injury.

Moving On

If you’ve been doing push-ups on your knees don’t throw the towel in and bemoan this as a waste of time. It isn’t, it simply isn’t nearly as effective as a full push up. Move on from this point, practicing your full push-up proficiency. It takes time and practice to get a full push-up “right” and of course it is over time that your skill will improve, your stamina will improve and that you’ll see and feel the benefits to your core.