Background info: I'm around 5'5 and weigh around 143lbs. I'm not that active but I'm not unfit where I get tired after the first few minutes of a run.

Whenever I try do push ups I can only do around 4 before my shoulders start to hurt. I can hold a plank for around a minute. Anyone know why this might be happening and how I can increase the amount of push ups I can do?

Thanks guys!

  • 1
    Make sure you're using proper form. If you are using proper form, go to a doctor. You shouldn't feel "pain" when doing proper push ups. We can't really help diagnose your pain.
    – Jun Kang
    May 8, 2018 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


Here's one of the best videos out there on pushups. Follow the form and the progression. More than likely, you're just weak and your body is getting used to it. Obviously, see a doctor or physical therapist to diagnose any pain but more than likely it's form along with the usual beginners' issues. You just started out, your body's not used to it and it's going to take time to catch up. If you're working a desk job without much activity, you probably have rounded shoulders and a host of other issues as well. Look into Kelly Starrett's Becoming a Supple Leapoard.

Follow the video's progression I linked and build yourself up to doing more full form push ups. Pavel Tsatsouline has a thing called 'greasing the groove' where basically throughout the day you practice something like a pull up. You don't go to exhaustion but the idea is by doing it throughout the day with good form you're priming your nervous system to getting used to doing that. Good luck on your push up and hopefully even further physical development journey.

  • Sorry to bump an old thread, but I've been following that video and I have a quick question. Do you think my arms are out too wide (I know it's not the best of images) here May 12, 2018 at 9:52
  • @JoeyHegarty yes from the angle in the pic, it looks like it. Can you go any narrower or is it a mobility issue? May 12, 2018 at 19:21

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