Push-Up Progression: Go From 0 To 20 Real Push-ups

Yesterday was all about chin-ups progression (did you try one?) so let’s turn the tables and talk about their sister exercise, push-ups.

Push-ups are a staple in the fitness world and should be. They rock and I am not just saying that. There is hardly a workout that goes by that doesn’t have at least 1 set of push-ups in it.


Because, like the chin-up it is a BIG muscle exercise. Not only does it work some big muscles, it works a lot of muscles.

Let’s look at Mr. Muscle Man again:

push-up muscles







Butt what? If you do push-ups and actually concentrate on keeping a tight body, you’ll feel muscles working from head to toe. Butt included, just “sqeeze” it throughout the set.

Going From 0 – 20 Push-Ups

While it’s easy to say, oh do more push-ups, the reality is that few woman can pump out proper ones. That’s okay! You have to start somewhere which is why my talented husband put together this progression chart.

pushup progression for women

If you can’t do push-ups right now, don’t let that keep you from trying! Start with the first push-up variation, wall-push ups. When you are able to do the recommended amount (50) then follow it down to the next variation. Continue working towards the recommended reps. As you get stronger and make your way down, you will knock out those big girl push-ups!

Realize, it won’t happen over night but with continued practice, you’ll see yourself getting more confident and closer to the ultimate goal.

When you get to your knees, after 1 week of knee push-ups, start each set trying for “big girl” push-ups. Even if you can only do 1 more than you were able to do during the previous workout before dropping to your knees, that’s okay! Push yourself forward until you accomplish 20 no knees!

Push-Ups And Bigger Breasts

I can’t tell you how many time’s I’ve been asked

“Will push-ups help my boobs get bigger?”

Unfortunately, breasts are made of fat and breast tissue so no matter how many push-ups you do, those girls will not “grow”. However because it targets the chest, you can help to give the appearance of a lift. Helping the girls to stay a bit more perky!

If push-ups gave bigger breasts, I might resemble Dolly Parton. And clearly that’s not the case.

Don’t be afraid of push-ups! Go for it and when you can knock out 20, I want to know about it! Good luck 🙂


I just realized that Monday was my 1 year veganversary! It’s been over a year since I had a classic burger or steak.

So how did I celebrate?

With this:

coconut chicken

Coconut Pecan Encrusted Chicken Breast

Just kidding, that was Dan’s plate. This was mine:

coconut encrusted tempeh

Coconut encrusted tempeh over mung bean fettuccine noodles with asparagus.

To be honest, the year went by very quickly and I am still loving the way I am feeling. Have I been perfect? Nope! I’ve enjoyed some seafood from time to time and of course some unvegan treats like yogurt and chocolate cake. Like any diet, you have to give yourself a break. This is a lifestyle not a prison sentence. I eat vegan because of the health benefits that I have observed and the overall way I feel.

Excited to see how the next year goes!

Have you ever tried to see how many push-ups you can do? 

What’s your favorite body weight exercise?


  • Hooray! Happy vegan birthday.

  • Cassie

    Congrats on the one year vegan! After Baby Woos is born I really think I want to challenge myself to give up animal products for a month and see how it goes. Out of curoristy where did you buy the mug bean noodles or did you make them from scratch? I can’t seem to find them.

    • Thanks! I get them at EarthFare, but they also sell them at Whole Foods and Harris teeter. But harris teeter is a bit more expensive. They are in the pasta section. We love them, and they cook in less than 3 minutes!

  • I’m known for doing improper pushups, so this is really going to help 🙂

  • Samin

    Ur tips are really inspiring and willing me to do. Thanks
    i m little confuse, do we have to do 50 reps and how many pushes in each rep
    I think i m only one confuse about this 😉

    • Thanks Samin, a rep is 1 push-up so when it says 50 reps, that means 50 push-ups. The goal is to break up the push-ups as needed until you do 50. When you’re able to do ALL 50 without stopping, then move to the next progression. Don’t worry, I am sure you’re not the only once confused 🙂

  • stephanie

    i love this!!!! but i have a question, do we do one workout a day ? for example today i start with the 50 wall push ups then tomorrow i do table pushups? and continue to do table push ups day by day until i get to 50? i also dont understand the number 20 that connects to the last three circles, knee pushups say 40 reps but the bubble says 20

    thank you!!!!

    • That’s awesome Stephanie. Yes, do the table push ups each day (or every other day) until you hit 50. Then chair push ups until you get 50. Then 40 knee push ups and finally 20 big girl.

      The 20 reflects the number of big girl push ups. Sorry for the confusion on that. Good luck!

  • Susan

    I have done push ups almost every morning for about a year. It’s a morning ritual that I built up over time as I was determined not the do them from my knees anymore. I set the timer for 30 seconds x 2 each morning. I started with a low number as a goal and now I do 15-20 reps/30 secs (depending on the morning) . Once I got my numbers up, I challenged myself to go as low as possible with each one. It has become a habit now and my morning is just not the same without them. 🙂 Happy I came across this page!

    • That is awesome Susan! Great job and good luck on your continued pushup success!

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  • Kathi Daugherty

    Should we work on pushups every day? or give our muscles a break and work every other?

    • Max Bouvrette

      no workout routine or specific exercice should be done every single day of the weak. Period. The maximum should be set at 5-6 days a week depending on experience and intensity.

      As for push-ups, there are multiple ways of working out, here are some ideas:

      2 days on – 1 day off
      3 days on – 1 day off
      work on specific days: monday-wednesday-friday-sunday

    • Dan

      Hey Kathi… I agree with Max, especially if you hit it really hard. You need that recovery day or two. And you don’t really need to work on pushups everyday… mix it in. But if you want to focus on pushups, I would do a mix of strict pushup work, chin up work, core work, and glute work… and wrist mobility work too!

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  • J Shannon

    Thank you for posting this information and I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m 45 and made the choice this year to make my health a priority. I couldn’t even do one push up. I’m to the table progression now and can feel the results.

    Thank you and also that you’ve got some great recipes in here too!

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