Pushup progression | Four ways to get pushups into your warmup

Remember my New Year’s goal of being able to do the Astavakrasana move? I’m still working on that. That’s not me in that video.

And I’m starting with pushups. The most basic of bodyweight exercises, pushups will not only build my strength, it will get me used to using my bodyweight for training.

Here, I give the three warmup routines I’m using that let me throw pushups into the mix before the heavy lifting commences.

Need a refresher on the movement? Read this first.

Five-minute progression

Every 30 seconds, do three strict pushups. This means on your toes, chest to ground, elbows in (no chicken-winging). Once you complete three reps, rest for the remaining seconds. Repeat until you reach five minutes.

If strict pushups are too difficult, go to your knees; but try to do as many reps as possible on your toes at the start of each round. Still get your chest to the ground. Repeat every 30 seconds for five minutes.

No worries if this is still too difficult. Start on your toes and lower yourself till your chest goes to the ground. Drop to your knees and push back up. Repeat for five minutes.


Inchworm bonanza

Quite possibly my favorite warm-up exercise, inchworms warm up the shoulders for any kind of presses and pulls.

Start in a standing position and bend over until your hands reach the floor (you can bend your knees). Walk your hands out until you’re in a pushup position.

Do a pushup.

Swoop into the upward facing dog yoga position. Come back to a neutral plank position.

Then push up into the downward facing dog yoga position.

Walk your hands back and end in a standing position. Repeat five times.


This warmup is perfect for those short on time and aren’t going super heavy with their lifts.

Begin your burpee just like normal. From a standing position, bend and plant your hands on the floor. Kick your feet back and bring your chest to the floor.

Staying on the floor, pushup and come back down to the floor.

Bring your feet back to your hands and stand. Bonus if you jump at the end.

Repeat 10 times or until you’re properly winded.


Pushup rows

Also known as a renegade row, this is more of an advanced warmup. It shouldn’t be performed if you’re planning to lift super heavy.

Get a medium-to-lightweight dumbbell or kettlebell (two would be a bonus for each hand).

Do a pushup.

At the top in a plank position, grab your dumbbell or kettlebell and do a tricep row. One for each arm.

Repeat for three sets of three.

You shouldn’t be smoked after this. Ten-to 15-pound weights will do you just fine.

Ready to step it up a notch? Check out our pushup variations, workouts, and advanced progressions.

12 Replies to “Pushup progression | Four ways to get pushups into your warmup”

  1. Push-ups are such a basic exercise, but can be made to be as difficult (or easy) as you wish. I never realized how many variations there are until I started doing strength training. Not that that has made them any easier….

  2. Love the K9. Hate the inchworm. Pushups are the bane of my existence. Or maybe burpees are. I can’t decide. I think I was not destined to have a strong upper body.

  3. Today I did t-rex pushups. Thankfully, I do a lot of them aka chatarangas at yoga. But my CF coach made me hold these for 20 seconds, which feels like forever!

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