Scale Up or Scale Down Your Push-Ups
Written by Gaje McDaniel

One of the best things about CrossFit is that we are constantly striving to get better; we never settle for average because that’s never fun. Over time we develop different progressions to offer multiple stimuluses for our bodies. This allows us to not plateau, but create a way to successfully complete movements and overall get better at them. Everything we do can be scaled down or scaled up with both weights or reps.

One of my favorite movements to progress is a push-up, as they are an easy movement to scale. This can simply be done if you have an access to a rig.

To Scale Down Push-Ups

Place a band around two J-Hooks, just like the ones you use to rack a barbell. The height will determine difficulty, but my favorite would be to have a medium light band and have it between the rack about hip height.


You will simply place the band just below your sternum, allowing us to maintain optimal positioning when it’s applied.


Get into a push-up position, with a hollow body position, complete some perfect push-ups. Change band height to add just enough assistance to challenge yourselves.



To Scale Up Push-Ups

If you’re looking to make your push-ups harder, put the band as low as you can, climb underneath it and allow the band to put weight pushing you down.

Tips to think about during both the scaled up and scaled down push-ups:

– Maintain good position.

– Chest to deck every rep

– Make sure to send your shoulders over wrists to allow best positioning.

Remember this is by no means the best way to scale a push-up, as there are many different ways to do so. Try all sorts of progressions, find which works best for you, practice and progress!

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Richard Haynes
Richard Haynes
July 4, 2017 5:08 am

Looks like a great idea, thanks. I have a torn RTC on my left shoulder that I am told cannot be repaired so I am always looking for something to assist me here.

Josh Littauer
Josh Littauer
October 27, 2015 8:30 pm

Gaje is really hot. Thanks for not putting on a shirt for this post.