This trick will help you master a push-up

a photo of a man doing a push up
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Sure, push-ups are excellent for building your arm muscles; in fact, they are one of the best arm exercises you can do without weights. But if, like me, you can’t do one without putting your knees on the ground, how good are they? 

I’ll caveat by saying I have tried and failed to do full push-ups for years, but as a runner, a strong upper body has never been something I’m overly worried about. That said, it would be nice not to have to lower to my knees in a HIIT class now that I’m heading back to the gym, so I set out to learn how to push-up like a pro. Read on to find out the simple push-up hack that taught me how to do it. 

The push-up resistance band hack

When looking for hacks on how to master a push-up, I stumbled upon Kara Lennon’s TikTok account. The fitness instructor has a simple method for learning the technique required for a full push-up and it involves one simple piece of equipment — a resistance band. The resistance band Lennon uses is a small looped one — we’ve hand-picked some of the best resistance bands for working out at home here. 


♬ Super flat lad - Tik Toker

To do the push-up hack, place the resistance bands around your upper arms, above the elbow joint. Get into the push-up position, with your arms wider than shoulder-width apart, and your shoulders stacked over your elbows. Keeping a straight line from your heels to the crown of your head, straighten your legs and engage your abs, so you are in a high plank position. Bending at the elbows, lower your chest down to the floor, pause, then straighten back up. The resistance band will help support the weight of your upper body as you bend your elbows, helping to make the push-up easier. 

Is it cheating? Well, kinda. The resistance band definitely makes the move easier, but it can help you learn the proper technique, and work on strengthening the arm muscles needed to master a push-up on your own. 

What are the benefits of push-ups? 

Push-ups are an effective way to build upper body strength using just your body weight.  When done correctly, a push-up will work the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. They can also work on your abdominal muscles, as well as strengthen the lower back. If you're having trouble with your form, be sure to check out our guide on how to do a push-up properly. 

Fed up with push-ups? Try these 5 variations on chest day.

Looking for more workout inspiration? We’ve found six of the best resistance band exercises to build your arm muscles from home, the best arm exercises to do with dumbbells, and how to do Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature shoulder exercise

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.