I have to get something off my chest – What is up with “Girl Push ups” aka GPUs?  First off, there is no such thing as a girl push-up (a push up but you are on your knees).  For those that automatically do these type of push ups without even attempting a standard push up – YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET ANY STRONGER or ANY BETTER AT PUSH UPS! Stop doing them this way. It irks me to see and it irks me more when trainers don’t correct or encourage people to do them the correct way. There are modifications that can be done that will get you stronger and are not ‘girl push ups’. I can’t tell you how many times I look around my boxing class and I am one of the very few women who are actually doing a true push up.

How do you train for push ups?

When you get a chance read this “Girl Push-ups” Aren’t a Thing. If you don’t have time, here are some key points to realize:

“Many people don’t realize that the push-up requires more than just the chest and arms. It also activates the shoulders, upper back, abdominals, lower back, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Your body needs to maintain a plank position throughout the movement, requiring a straight and tightened core from neck to toes. Push-ups are awesome for full-body development and everyone who has the right moving parts should do them.”

How do you train for Push Ups?

“To train for push-ups, you need to do push-ups or a movement so truly analogous that there is no practical, functional difference other than the resistance experienced by your body. This means that you need to force your core into a tight, steady plank while experiencing resistance on your chest/arms and moving between contracted/extended arm positions.”

I am constantly urging my friends to do modified push ups instead of on their knees. It means that they change the angle or widen their legs as they are going down. If they insist on doing knee assisted push ups,  I give them a disappointed look and then challenge them to do as many modified push ups as possible before going to their knees. They will NOT get any better at push ups doing GPUs – period, end of STORY!

As a side note: where did this idea that girls can’t do real push ups come from? Is it from the same urban legend creator as the girls can’t do Pull Ups myth? I can do both and know many other women out there who bust the hell out of both of those myths!  We need to rethink how we encourage people to do push ups. I wonder if knee assisted pull ups (GPUs) are how young girls are encouraged to approach push ups day to day. I am going to ask around and see if this is the case and then share information about the modifications that should be encouraged instead.  It only takes one person to start a ripple of change…

Here’s another great write up about Why Knee Push Ups Won’t Make You Any Stronger that includes alternative movements that will get you stronger and on your way to being able to do a full proper push up.

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