Have you ever wondered if doing push-ups on your knees actually has any benefit to you and whether you should add them to your workout routine? Well, the Les Mills website has conducted a study that could help shed some light on this debate.

Here at KA Leisure, we offer classes from Les Mills. Such as Body Pump and Body Combat. View the fitness class timetable to see the next class Fitness Timetables – KA Leisure.

The Study

Tests were conducted where they measured the muscles activated while participants did push-ups on their knees and their toes. They monitored 12 active men while they completed the exercises and studied the muscle activity in key areas of the upper body. To measure this they used electromyography (EMG) signals which test the muscle’s reactions to nerve stimulation. The aim of the study was to prove if doing push-ups on your knees could actually improve upper body strength to help the individual improve muscle strength to be able to eventually do push-ups on their toes.

“The results show that while overall muscle activation is greater during the toe push-ups – due to the extra load on the upper body – the contribution from each of the muscles was similar for the two variations. This means exercisers are training the target muscles in the same way, just using less load when on their knees and reducing the risk of injury if they are not yet strong enough to ensure proper hip and neck alignment on their toes.” Read more on the study here: New research confronts myths around knee push-ups (lesmills.com)


The study concluded that yes doing push-ups on your knees did have benefits to muscle growth but it is less effective than doing pushups on your toes.

They say that “Once you can confidently do 16 push-ups on your knees, you’re ready to try doing them on your toes. If you lose form, you can just drop back to your knees again.”

Read more similar articles on the Les Mills website: Health and Fitness Articles – Les Mills