Push up challenge for women – strengthen your upper body

Last updated on August 4th, 2022 at 05:27 pm

There are lots of chest exercises you can do with weights and other resistance equipment, but the main body weight chest exercise is the push up. Full push ups require a lot of upper body strength and women often struggle to do even one, so need to start with a modified version.  This push up challenge for women uses 3 modified versions of the push up to build strength in the chest, shoulders and arms over the 30 days.

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Push ups challenge for women

Push up challenge women PDF

Info box

There are 3 levels of push up in this challenge: wall push ups, incline push ups and knee push ups.  It starts with wall push ups and as you work through the 30 days, you start to do more incline push ups and knee push ups. The instructions for the 3 exercises are below and you can see the number of reps to do each day in the chart above, or the one at the bottom of the page.  You can also download a printable version of the chart.

You’ll be more comfortable doing this if you have something to cushion your knees. An exercise mat is ideal, alternatively you could use a folded blanket or quilt.


Please read these safety guidelines before starting the challenge.

Benefits of push ups for women

Push ups mainly work the chest and triceps. Having firm, toned triceps muscles helps to avoid “bat wing” arms.  Training the chest muscles helps to keep you firm and lifted. The core muscles and shoulders are also used in push ups to stabilise the body.

Arm circles to warm up

Before you do your push ups each day, warm up your arms, chest and shoulders with some arm circles. Stand with your feet about hip distance and then rotate your arms all the way round in front of your body. Do 3-5 in both inward and outward directions.
Arm circles

Exercise instructions

#1 How to do wall push ups

The challenge starts with wall push ups. These are suitable for beginners and will help you to learn the push up technique and start to build strength.

Wall push up

  1. Stand at arms length from the wall, feet hip distance apart.
  2. Place your palms on the wall at chest height, a bit wider than shoulder distance.
  3. Allow your arms to bend at your elbows as you lean towards the wall, keeping your body in a straight line.
  4. Push yourself away from the wall back to your starting position.

#2 How to do incline push ups

Push up challenge women - incline push up

For the incline push up, you need to find something suitable to support your weight.  Ideally, you should be able to have your hands a bit wider than shoulder distance, as in the wall push up.  You could use a bench, a sofa or a bed for example. Whatever you use, make sure it is firmly in place and not going to slip.

  1. Once you have your hands in place on your support, walk your feet away, until your body and legs make a straight line.
  2. Bend your elbows as you lower your upper body towards your support, until your chin is close to it.
  3. Reverse the movement back to the starting position.

# 3 How to do knee push ups

The weight is supported on the knees for knee push ups, but you need to be careful that it’s the top part of the knee in contact with the floor, not your knee cap.

Knee push up

  1. Start by getting into an all 4s position on the floor, with your hands below your shoulders.
  2. Now walk your hands away from your legs, at the same time as you lift your feet into the air. You are aiming for a position in which your body and upper legs form a straight line and the top part of your knee is in contact with the floor.
  3. Bend your arms at the elbows so that your head and upper body lower towards the floor. Look down at the floor so that your head stays in line with your body.
  4. When your chin is an inch from the floor, reverse the movement and come back up to your starting position.

Push ups challenge for women schedule

These are the reps of the various types of push up for the 30 days of the challenge:

Push ups challenge women schedule

Get the push up challenge PDF

Sign up for My Fitness Planner updates and get a link to the push up challenge PDF e-mailed to you:

After you sign up, you’ll get 2 e-mails, one will have a link to your printable download and the other will be a welcome e-mail.

If the e-mails haven’t turned up within a few minutes, please check your junk folder, as some service providers have very strict filters.

Related to push ups challenge for women – read now or pin for later

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Challenge FAQs

Last updated on July 9th, 2022 at 06:58 am

All exercise is beneficial. Doing exercise most days for 30 days will result in improvements to your fitness and muscle tone. It will also get you into the habit of regular exercise, by starting easy and gradually increasing each day. To maintain any improvements, or to continue to improve, you’ll have to keep exercising once the challenge is finished of course. If you’re already a regular exerciser, then challenges can be a useful way of trying something new or adding variety to your fitness program.

Last updated on April 24th, 2022 at 05:57 pm

The first day of the challenge should feel like it needs a bit of effort, but not too much. If you really struggle with day 1, then you probably won’t get through the challenge. The idea with the challenges on this site is that the first few days get you used to the exercises and the daily habit. Usually about halfway through the challenge the effort levels start to increase more quickly.

Avoid challenges that increase effort levels very quickly – they’re simply not realistic. It’s unlikely that, for example, you would be able to increase how many squats you are able to do by 10 a day for 30 days, or increase your plank hold time by 10 seconds a day for 30 days.

Last updated on April 24th, 2022 at 05:57 pm

In general, allowing muscles 48 hours between workouts is good because it gives our bodies time to recover and adapt. Challenges are generally short workouts and for a limited period of time (usually 30 days), so not having many rest days won’t be a problem. With challenges that alternate exercises each day, it’s not an issue, because you’re using different muscles.

Last updated on April 24th, 2022 at 05:57 pm

Fitness improvements don’t always happen in a predictable way. Sometimes we’re just not as strong or energetic for no apparent reason, or we hit a plateau. If you get to a point where you’re struggling to complete the day’s challenge, you can try one of the following:

  • Take a couple of days off and start again where you left off
  • Do the challenge on alternate days rather than every day
  • Instead of increasing the effort every day, stay at the same level for 2 or 3 days and then go onto the next day of the challenge

Obviously these solutions mean the challenge will last longer, but you’ll still benefit from doing it.