Exercise Modifications for Plus Size Beginners – Push Ups

Push Up Modifications

Today, we’re talking exercise modifications. We’ve all been there – you’re flipping through a magazine or the newspaper only to find a sample workout full of a bunch of exercises that seem much more suited to a size 8 gym bunny than you. When we’re first starting out, especially when we’re above our most comfortable weight, modifications are often necessary.

In this, the first of a ten part series, we’re looking at push ups! Push ups are dreaded by many and seem downright impossible for the majority of plus size beginners. They are certainly in just about every sample workout that you might come across in a magazine or online. Don’t get me wrong – push ups are a GREAT exercise. They’re just kinda scary when you’re just starting out.

Now, I’m guessing the good old military style push up on your hands and toes isn’t possible for you just yet. So what are your more plus-size beginner friendly options?

Option One: Wall Push Ups

  • Stand a little more than arm length away from a bare wall with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Place your hands on the wall, shoulder width apart and at shoulder height – this is your starting position
  • Bend your elbows to slowly lower your upper body toward the wall – keep the movement slow and controlled
  • Slowly push yourself back up into the starting position

Option Two: Knee Push Ups

  • Kneel on the floor and walk your hands out in front of you until you are able to drop your hips in line with the rest of your body – this means there should be a straight line from your neck to your knees (avoiding dropping your hips too low or lifting too high, focus on that straight line)
  • Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart – this is your starting position
  • Lower your chest toward the floor by bending your elbows being sure to maintain the straight line from neck to knees
  • Continue to lower your chest until your upper arms are parallel with the floor before pushing yourself back up to your starting position

Knee push ups can be made easier again by placing your hands on an elevated surface such as a step or low bench.

Once you’ve built your way up to doing 20+ knee push ups with good form, it will be time to progress to giving the full standard push ups a go – and yes, plus size bodies can most definitely do these once you’ve practiced the modified versions and built up the strength required. We will be working on some demonstration videos featuring plus size exercisers.

Make sure you give us a yell if you need any help with your push ups, we’re only too happy to help. You can find us over at our Facebook page – let us know how you get on!