At first glance, pseudo push-ups seem the same as classic push-ups.
However, as you’ll learn in today’s post, the pseudo push-up is a valuable variation you should include in your workouts for better results.
Without further ado, let’s jump straight in.
What Is a Pseudo Push-Up?
As its name implies, the pseudo push-up is almost the same as a regular one but feels and looks different.
The primary difference is that you must position your hands to your sides but closer to your hips, making each repetition more challenging. Such a position also affects muscle activation. You still train the shoulders, triceps, pectoralis major, and serratus anterior, but now there’s a greater emphasis on the:
- Midsection (abs, obliques, etc.)
A huge benefit of pseudo push-ups is that you can challenge yourself more if regular push-ups feel too easy. Plus, this push-up variation is excellent for whole-body stability and strength, given the greater core activation.
How to Perform Pseudo Push-Ups (Step-by-Step)
- Get down on your hands and knees.
- Extend your legs and support your lower body on your toes.
- Position your hands to your sides and flat on the ground. Your hands should be close to your hips than they would be during a regular push-up.
- Bring your chest out, engage your abs, and take a breath. Squeeze your glutes to maintain good alignment and prevent your hips from sagging.
- Complete the setup by digging your toes into the floor and pushing yourself forward as you extend your ankles.
- Lower yourself as much as possible, hold the bottom position for a moment, and press back to the top, extending your elbows fully—exhale near the top.
- Inhale again and repeat.
Tips and Safety Considerations
Our most important tip for pseudo push-ups is to warm up well. Despite being a bodyweight exercise, this is an advanced push-up variation, which means you must prepare to optimize your performance and reduce the injury risk. (1)
Do some low-intensity cardio (e.g., jogging, jumping jacks, etc.) and proceed to some dynamic stretching: arm swings, shoulder rotations, wrist rolls, etc. Then, do a couple of less challenging push-up variations to warm up your chest, shoulders, and triceps. For example, you can do two to three sets of regular push-ups, not to failure. Once done, proceed to your pseudo push-ups. (2)
Another safety tip is to perform repetitions slowly. Having your hands closer to your hips is a more challenging position to maintain, and there is a greater risk of falling to the floor and bumping your head if you’re not careful.
Also, it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t rush your push-up progression. Don’t jump to pseudo push-ups if you can barely do regular push-ups right now. While seemingly similar, these are an advanced variation, so attempting them doesn’t make sense if you don’t have the necessary strength yet.
Your progression into pseudo push-ups could look like this:
Knee push-up/incline push-up ⇒ Regular push-up ⇒ Decline push-up ⇒ Resistance band push-up ⇒ Pseudo push-up
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- Elizabeth Quinn, M. S. (2020, March 13). Prevent injuries. Verywell Fit.
- Firman, T. (2022, November 8). “pseudo Planche” push-ups strengthen your biceps and shoulders for real. Well+Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/pseudo-planche-pushups/