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August 31, 2022

The Science Behind the Knee Push Up & Why It’s Easier

The Science Behind the Knee Push Up & Why It's Easier with Annie Miller

Most people in fitness around the globe recognize that push ups from the toes are harder. But WHY?

In short, two things – the upper body is less “elevated” from the toes than from the knees, and more of the body weight is being moved from the toes than the knees (the load is heavier).

A push up from the knees is still a push up because the push up is not only a movement but a PATTERN.

Standard push up from toes by Annie Miller
Knee push up with narrow hand stance by Annie Miller

Is a back squat done with 135 or 200 pounds still a back squat? Is a pull up done with assistance, a pull up and a weighted pull up all still pull-ups?

Do you know what doing a push up from the knees does? Why we do it?It decreases the LOAD. Not the range of motion. It’s like walking your feet further under the bar to make yourself heavier or standing more vertical to be lighter in inverted rows. It’s like using a lighter dumbbell or adding assistance to pull ups.

Swipe 👉 Slide 7 is my fav…

  • The Science Behind the Knee Push Up & Why It's Easier with Annie Miller
  • The Science Behind the Knee Push Up & Why It's Easier
  • The Science Behind the Knee Push Up & Why It's Easier

The pattern is a push up. Full stop. If someone can do 10 push ups from the toes but not 3×10 so they go from the knees to lower the load…IT IS STILL A PUSH UP. So, one is just a progression from the other, just as push ups with feet elevated or with a weighted vest would be a progression from “normal” push ups.In this case, It’s all about load.Tell a friend. Which do you use most often? I do from the toes for most sets, from the knees for narrow or super high volume.

P.S. If you feel like it doesn’t count if you were going from your knees, I am here to inform you that you are indeed working the skill of a push-up. And working towards doing them from your toes, it’s simply working towards a harder version. Which is absolutely fine. Good day.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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