Alternative Exercises for Push Ups

If you ever teach kids you’ll know that many of them have a hard time performing a decent push up. Often you’ll see their bellies sag to the floor, or their backsides stick way up in the air like Mt. Fuji poking through the clouds. And of course some students just don’t understand that their arms are supposed to bend!

So rather than persisting with something that might take years to achieve until their bodies grow and develop , here are 2 quick alternatives to push ups that are great for kids (you can do them with adults too, just increase the reps or duration).

Alternative #1 – Wall Push Ups

Have your class line up facing a wall with about 2 feet gap between them and the wall. Students then lean forward and place their hands on the wall and perform push ups with full extension. The change in elevation takes much of the pressure off of the core which allows them to work the arms.

You can have fun with these too – have them do one-handed push ups, clap push ups, etc.

Alternative #2 – Bridging/Planking

Bridging or planking is when you lay on the floor face down, with your weight on your toes and forearms (elbows wide, fists together like making an upside down V with your arms). The rest of your body is not allowed to touch the floor and you must hold the position for 30 – 60 seconds (or longer if you like).

As you do this make sure you are not only keeping your body straight and off of the floor, but to squeeze your abs for the duration of the exercise. Sound easy? Let me assure you it’s far more difficult that you’d expect, particularly on the 3rd repetition. Your class will most likely shake and groan with this exercise!

Both of these exercises are great ways for students (kids in particular) to learn how to keep their bodies straight, develop core strength and eventually make a good push up.



P.S. In my 125 Dynamite Drills there are 17 more push up drills to keep you fresh with ideas and your class motivated. There are also over another 100 karate drills and exercises to work basics, kata, kumite, self defense and more… check it out at

P.P.S. Years ago my Mum told me an easy way to remember the height of Mt. Fuji. I guess she learned this when she was in Japan. The tour guide told her the height was 12,365 ft. Why is this easy to remember? 12 months in the year, 365 days. Now if you Google the height, it’s not exactly that but it’s pretty close…

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