What Are Knee Push Ups?

Knee push ups are a basic bodyweight pushing exercise that will develop your upper body strength towards achieving the full push up. This exercise targets the same muscle groups and has the same movement path as the full push up, therefore you will reap the same benefits from this regression exercise.

What Muscles Are Worked by Knee Push Ups?

The primary muscles worked are the pectoralis major, triceps and anterior deltoids. The secondary muscle groups worked are the abdominals, obliques, serratus anterior, glutes, and quadriceps.

What Level are Knee Push Ups?

Knee push ups are great for beginners who want to develop their chest and triceps muscles. They are simple to perform because more load will be transferred to your knees, which makes them easier to perform. Hence why this is ideal for those who are starting out their fitness journey.

How to do Knee Push Ups

  1. Get On All Fours

Start by getting on all fours, placing your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart. Your shoulders are stacked directly on top of your wrists, and your knees are together and extended back. Engage your core and glutes to maintain a straight line. This is your starting position.

2.Gradually Lower Down

Inhale through your nose as your lower your chest down towards the ground until your elbows are approximately at 90 degrees angle. Elbows are drawn in towards your torso rather than flaring out. Engage your core the entire movement.

 

3.Gradually Push Up

Exhale through your mouth and push back up to the starting position. Squeeze your chest, core, and triceps at the top position. Lock both arms out fully before repeating to ensure a full range of motion.

4.Repeat

Repeat this movement for 3-10 reps for 4 sets. Train this 3 times a week. Stay between this range for 2-3 weeks and gradually increase 1-2 reps, as well as sets to ensure progressive overload.

What are the Benefits of Knee Push Ups?



Improved Upper Body Strength

Knee push up is a compound exercise which means that many muscle groups are being worked at the same time to perform a single movement. Your chest, triceps, shoulders, and core will be activated. Training these consistently will improve your upper body strength, and it will sure makes you look more toned and sculpted. 

Improve Core Strength and Stability

This exercise recruits your core muscles as a stabilizer to prevent your body from toppling over. Targeting the core will enhance the microscopic nerves to be more responsive to stimulation, which will help the whole unit of your core become stronger and be more stable.

No Equipment Needed

Knee push ups are free to do as all you’ll need is your body as resistance and some space. You can get a great upper body workout from doing just push ups! There are more variations to the knee push up that is covered below. Therefore, you can target many angles of your chest by doing different variations.

Knee Push Ups Variations

Wall Push Ups

Wall push ups targets your chest, triceps, back, and shoulders. This exercise is a great starting point if you are not yet able to do knee push ups, as most of the load will be on your feet rather than your upper body. To perform this, you will:

  1. Stand tall with your body being 2 feet from a wall. Your arms are straight in front of you at shoulder-width, and shoulders are in line with your hands. This is the starting position.
  2. Inhale and bend your elbows as you lean your body as close you can towards the wall. If you feel you’re reaching too far, move your feet close to the wall.
  3. Exhale and push back to the starting position. Aim to perform 5-12 reps for 4 sets.

 

You can experiment with your hand position to target different muscle groups and a different sections of the muscle. The shoulder-width grip targets the middle chest and triceps. The diamond grip will limit the involvement of the chest and isolate the triceps. The wide grip targets the outer chest, shoulders, and back.

 

Diamond Knee Push Ups

This variation is a progression to the knee push ups as you will form a diamond/triangle shape with your hands and located at the center of your chest. This will put more stress on the triceps and limit the involvement of the chest. Your balance point will be smaller which will recruit your core more. To perform this, you will:

  1. Get on all fours with your hands at the center of your chest in a diamond/triangle shape (connect your index fingers together, as well as your thumbs). Shoulders stacked on top of your wrists. Extend your knees back and engage your core and glutes to maintain a straight line. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale and gradually lower down until elbows are parallel to the floor. Keep your core engaged the entire movement.
  3. Exhale and push back up to the starting position. Lock both of your arms out to ensure a full range of motion.
  4. Repeat this movement between 3-10 reps for 4 sets.

Negative Push Ups

Negative push ups is similar to traditional push ups, but the difference is that you will focus on the lowering down part with as much control as possible. This is also known as the eccentric part. Doing this will increase time under tension for your muscles which will develop strength and endurance for the full push up. To perform this, you will:

  1. Get into a plank position where your hands are shoulder-width apart and shoulders stacked on top of wrists. Legs are fully extended and feet are together. Engage your core to maintain a straight line. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale and gradually lower your chest down towards the ground, counting 3 seconds as you do so. Focus on engaging your core and glutes as well as chest and triceps activation.
  3. Lean back into a child’s pose position and return to the starting position and repeat this movement. Aim to perform this between 2-6 reps for 4 sets.

Push Ups

Push ups would be your ultimate goal. It is progression as more load will be placed on the upper body. Practicing previous progressions will develop your muscle strength and endurance in the upper body to enable you to perform a push up. To perform this, you will:

  1. Get into a plank position where your hands are shoulder-width apart and shoulders stacked on top of wrists. Legs are fully extended and feet are together. Engage your core to maintain a straight line. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale and gradually lower down until your elbows are parallel to the floor. Keep your elbows close to your torso. Squeeze your chest and triceps at the top position.
  3. Exhale and push back up to the starting position. Extend both arms out fully before repeating to ensure full range of motion.
  4. Repeat. Aim to do this movement between 3-10 reps for 4 sets

About the Author

My name is Pat Chadwick, I am a calisthenics coach with over 4 years of experience in helping people from all backgrounds to achieve their calisthenics goals. My goal is to become the number one calisthenics coach in the world as it is my passion to help people change their lives through inspiring bodyweight movements. I believe everyone deserves the right to feel good about their health, body, and be delighted inside and out.