You don't need high-tech gym equipment to get a serious full-body workout at home; push-ups are a simple, effective way to strengthen and tone every muscle group using only your body weight. Targeting your arms, chest, abs and glutes, push-ups can also improve your core stability and posture.
But if you're not able to do a full push-up, fear not. There are plenty of push-up modifications you can try based on your fitness level. For example, as a beginner, you can start with modified push-ups on your knees or on an incline.
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And if you're more advanced, you can focus on improving your range of motion, lowering your chest closer to the ground as much as possible, and moving more quickly with proper form.
Here's a 20-minute push-up workout for every fitness level to help you get started.
Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we've got something for everyone.
Move 1: X Push-Up
- Get into a modified push-up position with your knees bent on the ground and legs crossed behind you. Place a towel or mat under your knees for support.
- Form an "X" on the ground with your hands by crossing your arms, fingers facing opposite directions. Keep your back flat and your gaze down throughout the movement.
- Engaging your core and glutes, slowly lower your upper body until your forearms are parallel to the ground and nearly touching it.
- Press your hands firmly into the ground to push yourself back up to the starting position. This is one rep.
This is a modified push-up with your knees bent. Once you build the strength in your arms and upper body, you can try this exercise as a regular push-up with your legs extended behind you in a high plank.
Move 2: Shoulder Press Push-Up
- Start in a tabletop position with your knees directly below your hips and your shoulders above your wrists. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips up, straightening your legs. Draw your shoulders down your spine away from your ears.
- Walk your hands out to the sides so that they're a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
- With the tops of your shoulders facing the ground, slowly lower your shoulders (as far as you can go) with your elbows flaring out to the sides.
- Press your hands firmly into the ground to push yourself back up to the starting position, straightening your arms. This is one rep.
If you are a beginner and find this move difficult, you can also perform it in a modified push-up position with your knees on the ground, like the X push-up, until you build the strength to do it with your legs straight.
Move 3: Cross Body Push-Up
- Start in a high plank position with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your legs extended behind you.
- As you lower your body, simultaneously cross one leg to the opposite side, bending the knee, while rotating your hip toward the ground.
- Press your hands into the ground to push your body back up while returning the leg to the starting position. This is one rep. Repeat the same movement on the opposite leg and continue alternating.
Move 4: Side to Side Push-Up
- Get into a modified push-up position with your knees bent on the ground and crossed behind you. You can place a towel or mat under your knees for support.
- Place your hands together in front of you, and lower yourself toward the floor (as far as you can go).
- As you push yourself back up, place one hand out wide to the side and lower your body toward the ground.
- Then, press your hands into the ground to push yourself back up and return to the starting position with your hands together in front of you. Repeat another push-up in this position before you place the other hand out wide to the side and lower your body toward the ground.
- Push yourself back up and then return your hands to the starting position. This is one rep.