My hubby and I opted not to find out the gender of baby #2, but I’m pretty convinced it wouldn’t matter since apparently I’m having a basketball. Complete strangers have stopped me on the street, Target, at restaurants and said, “WOAH basketball”, or “it looks like you have a basketball in your shirt!”. So when the doctor delivers this bundle of joy, I’m fully prepped for: “Congratulations! It’s a basketball!” And this basketball bellied lady has had to make some major modifications to my usual workouts – including these 8 ways to modify pushups.
Maybe you too are prego. Or maybe you have yet to master a full-out pushup. Maybe you’re building your strength or maybe you need to scale back. Whatever the case, modifying pushups doesn’t mean you aren’t working you arms, back, and core to the max. You can still get the strength-building benefits of a pushup even tweaking your technique just a tad.
Yes, executing pushups on your knees is one simple way to modify a pushup. But there are so so so many more different and inventive ways to do it. Here are a few to try!
8 Ways to Modify Pushups
#1. Side Lying Pushup
Bend your knees at a 90 degree angle and lie on your side. Place your hands directly under your shoulders and extend your elbows. Now you are ready to drop down in to your pushup position and extend back up. Level: Easy
#2. Knee Down, Side Leg Extended Pushup
Bring both knees to the ground and place your hands directly under your shoulders. Extend one leg out to the side. Bend your elbows and lower your body down in to a pushup position and extend back up. Level: Easy
#3. Knee Down Pushups
Keep both knees and toes on the ground as you execute a full pushup, making sure to lower your upper body to the ground and keep your hips in line with your shoulders. Level: Easy
#4. Knee Down Pushups with Heels to Seat
The same concept as the knee down traditional pushups, but this time bring your feet in towards your bottom and execute a full pushup. Level: Moderate
#5. One Knee Pushup with Leg Extension
Place one knee down on the ground, hands directly under your shoulders. Next, lift one leg off the ground and extend it behind your body. Keep this position as you bend your elbows to execute a pushup and extend to the original position. Level: Moderate
#6. Diamond Pushups
Open your legs so that your knees are wide apart. Lift your feet off the ground and touch them together, keeping that position the entire time. Next, place your hands into a diamond position directly in front of your chest, making a diamond with your thumbs and pointer fingers together. Bend your elbows to execute a pushup position then extend them back to the original position. Level: Moderate
Ready to get off the ground? Try these modifiers if your knees need a break!
#7. Wall Pushups
Place your hands on a wall and position them directly in front of your shoulders. Walk your feet out and away from the wall until you reach a comfortable, yet challenging position and stand on the balls of your feet. Bend your elbows to execute a pushup at the wall. If it’s too challenging, walk your feet in towards the wall. If the position is not challenging enough, walk your feet away from the wall. Level: Easy to Moderate
#8. Bench or Ledge Pushups
Find a sturdy bench or low ledge and place your hand directly in front of your shoulders, on the ledge. Walk you feet out so that you are in an angled plank position, hips directly in line with your shoulders. Bend your elbows to execute a full pushup. The lower the bench or ledge is to the ground, the more challenging this pushup will be. Level: Moderate
When you feel like you have mastered all these variations, try a full pushup!
Here are some other modifier workouts you can do anywhere, any time! Modifier HIIT Workout, Low Impact Total Body Tone.
Beverley @ Born to Sweat says
hahaha you’re actualllly amazing to keep doing push ups. I would probably roll onto one side and imagine myself doing them. kudos to you momma Benson
Shut up you would NOT! You’d do them with a freaking kettle bell on your back 😉
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
So many great modifications! I have clients that are ready for more from their pushups, some aren’t ready for the whole enchilada yet–I love these different options!
Thanks Susie! I’m so glad you will have some use for these variations with your clients!
Great tips on modifying push ups!! I can do about 15 real ones and then I need to modify
15 real ones is no joke! You are bad ass!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
I love how many variations of push-ups there are (just like planks!) that’s why they are one of my top favorite exercises 😉
YES! I never thought about all the variations of planks too. Guess I know what kind of workout I’m doing tomorrow!
You still got it, girl! I can’t wait to see your basketball!!
Hahaha. I’m excited to find out if it’s a pink or blue basketball!
It’s making me tired just to look at this! The basketball bit made me laugh.
It’s pretty comical (unless you are the one carrying it, then it’s just uncomfortable). 😉 Thanks Michelle!
Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers says
These are super helpful! Push ups are one area I really struggle with and I know these modifications will be useful. Going to try a few of the easy/moderate ones today!
Awesome to hear! I hope these are all super helpful for you Chrissy! You’ll be busting out full ones in no time!
What a great list of variations. I’ve never had very good upper body strength so I’m slowly working on that.
I hope these modifications come in handy for you Mikki!
This post is super helpful I will pass on this link to my friend who is expecting and is looking for some fitness guidance.
Thanks so much Gunjan!
Christina Bauer says
Wow, I had no idea there were more than 2 variations!!
MIND BLOWN! 🙂 Glad I could introduce something new to you Christina!
I’ve never seen 1-3,5-6!
Fun new ones for you to try then Carmy!! 😉
This is such a helpful post! And I think your basketball is adorable. 🙂
Awe thanks Allyson!
Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife says
Isn’t it so crazy what random strangers will say to you when you’re pregnant? 🙂 Love the different variations of pushups!
Seriously so crazy! When I heard the, “WOAH, basketball” comment coming from behind as I was shopping I wasn’t sure if I should turn around or not?!? Thanks Marlynn!
Girl- you are doing awesome! Thanks for the ideas. I am 18 weeks along and these are great ideas.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! And thank you so much for stopping by Kimberly!
Samantha @ Momma Wants Java says
I have yet to master pushups (either pregnant or not) so I’m a huge fan of the wall pushups! I love all of your variations though. And you look amazing!
Thanks so much Samantha! I’m glad these brought you some inspiration to try other varieties! Modifying pushups is still hard work, even if you can’t master a full pushup!
These are such great modifications. I always just do the knees, but now I can switch it up. I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to really do full-on push-ups, but my arms are my weakest area. Ps. Your basketball bump is adorable!
I NEED variety or else I get so darn bored! I’m glad these brought you some inspiration Shann! You’ll be busting out full pushups in no time 😉
Girl you lookgreat! I love seeing women who aren’t afraid to keep getting fit while expecting!
Heck no! In fact, I truly believe it helped me power through my first birth and alleviated aches and pains during pregnancy! Thanks Mariah 🙂
Pretty cool! So much more than just bending your knees! And you look fabulous doing them all:)
Thanks so much Michelle!! So many fun varieties to try 🙂
Denay DeGuzman says
Chrissa, I am a big fan of your beautiful blog. There’s always so much great inspiration here. I love all of these great exercises with photos showing correct posture during all of the movements. Thank you so much for this. I just pinned this post to Pinterest so others can get motivated and inspired too!
Denay, every single time I get a comment from you it seriously brightens my day. You are seriously the best. Thanks for the smile and keep on coming back my friend!
Emma @ The Happy Journal says
I definitely need this. I have no core strength at all!
I hope it helps you Emma!
Jess @hellotofit says
LOVE all of these modifications, Chrissa!! Yook FAB 🙂
Awwwwwe thanks love!
Heather with WELLFITandFED says
TOTE-ALLY thought this post was about bras! Not kidding. I thought I was going to learn about perkifying the gals. Happy to see I have eight new exercises to try instead. Although…. #ideafornewblogpost
Hahahahaha this is the best comment EVER!!!
Dia All The Things I Do says
Great collection of variations. The standing push up is amazing. It really helped me build up my strength to do traditional ones.