How to Do Wall Push-Ups: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a wall push-up to build upper body strength and core stability, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Nov 28, 2023

What do you do when you’re killing time in the kitchen waiting for your microwave popcorn to pop or you’re forced to sit through a streaming ad? The correct answer is: wall push-ups. In all seriousness, though, this move is an effective way to improve your upper body strength and core stability, yet it’s accessible enough for most people to do — almost like an invisi-move. 

Ready to give them a try? Here’s the scoop on wall push-ups.

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is a Wall Push-Up?

It’s a push-up that you do from a standing position with your hands on a wall rather than on the floor. Wall push-ups work the muscles in your arms, chest, back, and abs (as well as your glutes, hamstrings, and calves) just like a regular push-up does. But doing it against a wall takes off some of the pressure, making it a bit less challenging and gentler on your joints. 

What Muscles Do Wall Push-Ups Work? 

Push-ups are a compound exercise, which means that they engage several different muscle groups at once. These include:

  • Pectoralis major. This is the primary muscle in your chest. It works hard during this move.

  • Triceps. Located on the back of the upper arm, your triceps help you extend your elbow.

  • Anterior deltoid, or the front part of the shoulder muscle. It's activated when you push your body up and helps you flex your shoulder.

  • Serratus anterior. This muscle — sometimes referred to as the "boxer's muscle" — is located along your ribs beneath your armpits. It helps stabilize your shoulder blade against your rib cage.

  • Rectus abdominis. Often known as the "six-pack" muscle, this sheet of muscle lies on the front of your belly and helps stabilize your core. 

  • Obliques, which run along the sides of the abdomen, help you rotate your trunk. 

  • Erector spinae. These muscles run along the spine and help keep your back straight during a push-up. 

Benefits of Wall Push-Ups

We can think of a million activities that wall push-ups can help with — from making it easier to push a heavy door to getting up out of bed. It’s a practical movement with a payoff you’ll notice in your everyday life. 

  • Lifting objects, such as groceries, kids, or boxes. 

  • Reaching overhead to put something in a high cabinet, for example.

  • Pushing motions (think: a heavy door, a lawn mower, or a stroller). 

  • Carrying loads, like laundry bins.

  • Getting up from a lying position. The motion of pushing yourself up from a bed or the ground might become more effortless with regular wall push-up practice.

  • Activities requiring balance, whether it’s a sport or even simple tasks like lifting one foot to put on a shoe. 

  • Repetitive tasks. Wall push-ups build strength and endurance, so jobs or chores that require repetitive upper body movements, such as scrubbing, painting, or hammering, can feel easier.

  • Healthier heart. That’s right. Research shows that the more push-ups people are able to do, the lower their risk for cardiovascular events, likely because muscle strength has been linked to better heart health, and push-ups work many large muscle groups at once.

Wall Push-Ups: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Wall Push Ups

Wall Push Ups

Wall Push Ups

Wall Push Ups

To do wall push-ups:

  • Stand with your feet a few feet away from a wall. Lean forward and place your hands on the wall at about chest height, arms and legs straight. (It’s like a raised, regular push-up, just against a wall.) You should feel some of your weight supported through your arms. 

  • Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the wall. Stop when your chest and head get close to the wall. 

  • Focus on keeping your body aligned as you pause in this position. (Don’t let your hips dip toward the wall or pop up.)

  • Push through your hands and straighten your arms, returning to the starting position. 

  • As you do each rep, you might feel your arm, shoulder, and chest muscles working.

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

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Wall Push Ups Modifications

Wall Push Ups Modifications

Wall Push Ups Modifications

Wall Push Ups Modifications

To make wall push-ups easier:  

  • Adjust your starting position by bringing your feet closer to the wall. This will lessen the amount of weight your arms need to support during the exercise. 

To make wall push-ups harder: 

  • Try doing the push-up against a sturdy table or countertop instead of a wall. The lower angle is challenging because your muscles have to support more of your body weight. 

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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  1. Yang, Justin, et al. (2019). Association between Push-up Exercise Capacity and Future Cardiovascular Events among Active Adult Men. JAMA Network Open, vol. 2, no. 2, p. E188341.doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.8341

  2. Solan, Matthew. The Rise of Push-Ups: A Classic Exercise That Can Help You Get Stronger. (2019). Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved from

  3. Mayer, Frank, et al. (2011). The Intensity and Effects of Strength Training in the Elderly. Deutsches Aerzteblatt Online, vol. 108, no. 21. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2011.0359