The Real Reason You Should Stop Doing Knee Push Ups

Anyone who attended gym class at school will know what a push up is. But nowhere near as many will know the reason why they're so popular. As Robert S. Herbst, a personal trainer and former world champion powerlifter, explained to Insider, "Push-ups will improve your health by building muscle, raising your metabolism to burn fat, and providing a cardiovascular benefit." He continued, "They enable you to get a full body workout with no equipment."

However, not all push ups are the same. And experts believe those who resort to knee push ups are doing more harm than good. "A push-up is not only an upper body exercise, it's a total body exercise," Charlee Atkins, founder of Le Sweat TV, told Well + Good. "In order to do a push-up, you have to have enough arm strength to get your body up off the ground, and you also need to have enough core strength to support the lower back and hips. Hip stability is dependent on core and glutes strength. If you don't have all of those pieces of the body working together, you are at a risk of injuring your shoulders and your lower back," he warned.

Incline push ups are far safer than knee push ups

To avoid injury, you should ditch knee push ups for incline push ups, says Rob Sulaver, C.S.C.S., founding trainer at Rumble Boxing and founder/CEO of Bandana Training. "Start with your hands on a bench or a box that is as high as necessary for you to complete a proper push-up through a full range of motion," he told SELF

The best part? Once you have nailed incline push ups, you can slowly work your way up to a full push up. "After a couple weeks of doing a combo of incline push-ups and other core exercises, someone can usually can get a push-up in," Lauren Pak, NASM-certified personal trainer, and co-founder of Achieve Fitness, added.

Ultimately, it all comes down to technique. No matter what exercise you're attempting to do, if you're not using the correct technique, you're much more likely to harm yourself.