How To Do Negative Push Ups Properly

Negative push ups are a variation of the traditional push ups, with more focus placed on the downward movements only.

They are a great stepping stone to beginners looking to advance to the conventional push ups. Once you are able to try out 3-5 reps of this routine, you might want to try out the regular push ups.

The negative push ups are a calisthenics exercise that will primarily target your chest and to a lesser degree aim at your abs, lower back, and middle back.

Adding this workout to your routine is a great way to improve your upper body strength in a simple but effective way.

This piece will look at this exercise in detail, to unpack the proper way to perform it, the benefits it comes with, other related exercises, and common mistakes that put you at risk while performing it.


You will notice that learning proper negative push ups form is quite easy if you employ the following step-by-step guide.

With your knees and toes all flexed up and in contact with the floor, get into all fours position. Ensure that your hands are slightly wider than your shoulders.

Stabilize yourself firmly on the ground and rotate your shoulders outwards in order to engage your lats.

You will then need to straighten your legs so as to lift your knees off the ground such that you end up in a plank position. Be sure to have your legs at hip-width apart.

Proceed to pre-tension your shoulders and hips while engaging your core. To attain this, check to ensure that your ribs are down and your pelvis slightly tucked. Squeeze both your glutes and quadriceps.

All this while, your chin should remain tucked as if you are holding an egg under it. This is your starting position. All your reps should begin from here.

As you maintain a strong core and full-body tension, begin to slowly pull your chest towards your hands by bending both your elbows.

As you lower towards the ground, your shoulder should retract. Ensure that your shoulders are 45 degrees away from your body while your wrists are under them (your elbows).

Lower yourself with control until your body touches the ground. Aim to take at least five seconds as these will allow for a controlled movement.

Position your knees on the ground firmly and support yourself back to the starting position. Equally, as you push back to the initial starting position, your shoulder blades should protract.

Straighten out your legs and start a new rep.

Ideally, for negative push ups, you are advised to start by performing 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps. However, this is not cast on stones.

You can choose your sets and reps depending on ability to maintain good form and technique throughout the exercise.


If you have a pre-existing condition, avoid performing this exercise unless you have a go-ahead from your doctor.

If in any case you feel the need to modify this routine by adding weights, avoid going for weights that will tamper with the control you have over your body. Only go for what you can manage.

Avoid continuing with the exercise immediately you feel some pain or discomfort in the areas involved.

Avoid going too fast as this will render the exercise ineffective. Rather, take time and perform every movement using slow calculated steps.


Even though this routine is a compound chest workout, there are muscles that will get worked more due to their direct or indirect involvement in the exercise.

Below are some of these muscles that will be worked.

As mentioned earlier in this article, this push ups mainly work your chest and triceps muscles.

Additionally, your abbs and obliques (shoulders and core) muscles will also get some certain amount of work too.

Besides this, your glutes, hip flexors, erector spinae and back muscles may also have to work during this routine.

Similar to the regular push ups, the negative push ups also work the same muscles. However, the only difference is that these muscles won’t work as hard as in the regular push ups.

Instead, in the negative push ups, the way to build muscles in such places is by engaging them so hard that they tear and get damaged enough.

In turn, as your body works to repair them, it will do so while providing an adjustment to prevent such damage in the future.


While sticking to the downward motion only influences a few things, the benefits associated with this routine are somehow similar to the regular push ups, some of the most ideal ones including:


The negative push ups as mentioned earlier act as a stepping stone to the regular push ups, hence suitable for beginners who find the regular push ups difficult.


Negative push ups are a type of resistance training and as so, can help with building stronger muscles to the targeted areas.


As mentioned before, these push ups can be a great supplement to your weight loss diet and exercise routine.


As it is, this work-out is very convenient as you will not be required to invest in any equipment or any special places to perform it. It is as easy since it uses bodyweight as its main resistance.


While this exercise is a great addition to your routine, doing it over time risks rendering it ineffective. Below are some alternatives that you can ride on to shake things up a little.


These are a full-body workout and will see you using your body weight as the main resistance. They are great for upper body muscles.


Similarly, these are a great alternative if you have problems doing the basic push ups and are great for upper body muscles too.


Once you are at the right skill level, do not hesitate to replace your negative push ups with conventional push ups as this will increase your benefits.


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