The main reason most of us exercise is to experience the benefits that are associated with working out. Working out is known to improve the quality of life and this is important, as we all want to live long, healthy lives. Just like how exercising in general comes with its numerous benefits, specific workouts also have specific benefits for different individuals. With that said, in this read we shall look at the benefits of push ups for females.
Push ups are effective exercises that provide benefits for both men and women. They work out various muscles simultaneously, which is a plus to add to the fact that they help build strength and muscles. Push ups can be placed into two categories of exercises. First and foremost, push ups can be categorized as strength training exercises. This is from the simple fact that they help build the strength of many muscles in your body. Separately, push ups can be categorized as calisthenics. Calisthenics are those exercises which don’t require any equipment. Specifically, they only require a person’s own body weight. Calisthenics only use your bodyweight as the resistance.
In the past, women and push ups were not mentioned in the same sentence. This came from the belief that push ups are quite difficult for females to perform but this is not true. This went a bit too far when an easier variation of the push up was created and given the name, ‘girl push ups’. Unlike the traditional push up, the girl push is quite easy and is usually recommended for people who don’t have enough strength to do the traditional push (2). Here is how the girl push up is done so that you can know what we are talking about:
How To Do The Modified Push Up
This push up varies from all the other variations of push ups in that it is done while kneeling. This is how they are executed:
- Take a yoga mat and lie on it with your stomach facing the yoga mat.
- Then using your hands, push up your upper body into the push up position without lifting your knees from the yoga mat.
- From that position, you move your upper body towards the floor and back up the position you were.
Who Should Do The Modified Push Up
It should be noted that girl push ups are not only for girls as many females can comfortably do the traditional push up with ease. Due to the easy nature of this variation of the push up, it is usually recommended for the following groups of people.
- People who do not have enough strength (2). If you are not strong enough to do the regular push up, this is a good starting place. You can start with this variation as you build strength to the point you are able to do the regular push up.
- People recovering from injuries (2). If you are injured or recovering from an injury, this modified push up is a nice place to start your recovery journey. Regular push ups exert a lot of pressure on your muscles and this might cause a recurrence of the injury. This push up variation is easy on your muscles and that is what you want if you are recovering from an injury.
- People with musculoskeletal problems (2). If you have weak wrists, joints, shoulders and so on. This variation of the push up helps you go easy on your joints while you are getting some work done.
Most gym enthusiasts don’t like this particular workout. This is from the fact that it takes away one of the most important aspects of the traditional push up which is engaging the core (2). The variation limits the exercise your abs muscles and back muscles get. This workout can also be a bit hard on your knees since a lot of the pressure is exerted on the knees. It is advisable to place a soft padded mat under your knees or to do this particular exercise on a yoga mat to prevent injury to your knees.
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How To Do A Basic Push Up
The myth of the girl push up has long since been dismissed. For females to enjoy the numerous benefits that come from doing push ups, they need to do them correctly first. Here is how to do a push up (5):
- Place your hands on the yoga mat. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your fingers facing forward.
- Brace your torso and fully extend your body, so that you’re in plank position. Make sure your head and spine are aligned.
- While keeping the same body position, slowly lower your body toward the yoga mat while allowing your elbows to shift outward. Make sure you bed your elbows to 90 degrees each time.
- Once your chest or chin has reached floor level, press upward through the arms until they’re fully extended.
If you are new to doing push ups and exercising in general, it is advisable to start slow. Try to do 2 sets of push up 2 to 3 times a week (5). You could start with sets of 5 to 10 repetitions until you get comfortable and then you can go adding the number of reps and sets. If you rush and try to do so much while you are still new to the exercise, you increase the risk of injuring yourself. As you get better at the exercise, you can slowly incorporate more intense variations of the push up so that you can challenge yourself a bit more.
Benefits Of Push Ups For Females
Most of the benefits that are highlighted in this section are not specific to females only as some are experienced by male. Doing push ups comes with so many benefits and here are some of the benefits:
Push Up Are Cheap
One of the best things about calisthenic exercises is the fact that they are cheap. Let’s be honest, ever since the pandemic started, most people don’t have money for anything other than the basic needs. Gyms subscriptions have started to look more of a luxury than a necessity. Buying gym equipment is also not the cheapest thing ever.
Reports show that people are in the worst shape of their lives. This can be attributed to the fact that gyms were closed for such a long time and since they are just starting to be opened, people have been more sedentary than ever, not to mention that people are socially distancing while some just rather choose to stay at home to make things simpler. This shows there is a need for exercising now more than ever and that is where calisthenics like push ups come in. Since they don’t require any equipment, any female can find comfort in doing push ups (1).
Anyone Can Do Push Ups
Another advantage of push ups is that they can be done by anyone. People of all ages, genders and fitness levels can do push ups. Unless you are advised otherwise by a health practitioner, take out that yoga mat and do as many push ups as you can while maintaining the right form of course.
Apart from them being able to be done by anyone, they can also be done at any place and at any time. Since they don’t require any equipment, it means you can do them while at work, at school, at home and at any time you want, be it during your lunch break or when you are in between classes. This eliminates the temptation of coming up with excuses as to why you can’t workout. Even if you are on a business trip and you can’t access your gym, you can just drop down in your hotel room and do a couple sets of push ups (1).
Push Ups Are Progressive
For an exercise to be effective it needs to be progressive. When we say progressive, we mean the exercise should be able to challenge you more as you get used to it. It is easy for exercises that require equipment to be progressive since when you get used to a certain intensity you can increase the intensity and so on. Push ups also do that. Remember when you are doing push ups, you are using your body as the resistance.
Push ups help build strength and the stronger you get the heavier you body becomes hence the more the resistance. This is a good way of progressing in an exercise as there is no way you can overestimate yourself and increase the intensity to a degree you can’t handle and hence hurting yourself. Doing push ups creates a cycle where you get stronger, your body becomes heavier and this results in you getting stronger, then your body becomes heavier and the cycle keeps going on.
Push Ups Help Build Full Body Strength
Push ups engage so many muscles across the body. They engage the biceps and triceps in your arms, they work your pectoral muscles in your chest, they work your shoulders, the lats, your hips and also other muscles in the core (6). They work all these muscles simultaneously. Push ups help make all these muscles stronger and this helps you build overall body strength.
Being strong is important as it helps to strengthen your bones and this helps reduce the risk of certain conditions like arthritis. It makes everyday movements and everyday tasks like lifting a bag of groceries or carrying your child easier. Being strong and muscular helps you to maintain a healthy weight (6). Muscles help in weight management from the fact that they are metabolically active tissues. What this means is that they burn calories even while at rest and this helps with weight loss and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
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Push Ups Help With CardioVascular Health
As mentioned above, push ups work many muscles that are located all over the body and this makes the heart work a bit harder as it has to supply blood rich with oxygen to all these organs and this results in a healthy heart (5).
A study was also done to see if this is true. The study was aimed to evaluate the association between push-up capacity and subsequent CVD event incidence in a cohort of active adult men (3). This was a longitudinal study that was conducted for 10 years, from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2010. It also took time to observe the results as the final results were recorded in 2018. The participants of the study were men who were 18 years and older. The participants of the study were placed in 5 groups depending on their push up capacity and exercise tolerance.
The results were able to show that the higher the push up capacity a person has, the greater the reduced the risk they have for various cardiovascular conditions. From the study, people who were able to do more than 40 push ups had a lower risk of incident cardiovascular conditions compared to people who had a problem finishing more than 10 push ups (3) . This goes to show push ups are not just strength training exercises as most people think, they can also double up as cardiovascular exercises.
Push Ups Helps With Core Stability
Having a stable core means having the ability to control the movement and posture of your torso. As mentioned earlier, push ups engage various muscles including the core muscles. The stronger the core muscles, the more stable the core is. Females who do push ups are likely to have a strong core. A strong core is beneficial as it helps prevent back pains, makes everyday movements easier since all the movements originate from the core, helps with balance and it also looks to improve your posture (1). Push ups work the various abdominal muscles without moving or twisting the spine. As the spine is stable, this makes the exercise to be able to focus on the arms, chest, shoulders, upper back and the core as discussed earlier.
Do Push Ups Increase Breast Size?
This is a commonly asked question in regards to the body benefits of push ups for females. The answer to this question is NO (4). Although doing push ups will increase the size of your chest muscles, this does not really mean they will increase the size of your breasts. Breasts are usually made up of fat tissues and not muscles. Thus your breast size only increases when you gain some extra pounds and not by doing push ups (4). Push ups do not result in bigger breasts as they only engage muscle and not fat tissues.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of push ups for females are numerous as highlighted in the read. If you were contemplating whether to add push ups to your exercise routine, we hope this article has made making the decision a bit easier. Before you start doing push ups, it is important to first consult an expert, to find out if it is okay for you to do them. Always maintain the right form to avoid being injured and to enjoy the benefits of doing this exercise.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 10 Massive Benefits of Push Ups (n.d., keepinspiring.me)
- Are Girl Push-Ups Just as Effective as Regular Push-Ups? (n.d., fitday.com)
- Association Between Push-up Exercise Capacity and Future Cardiovascular Events Among Active Adult Men (2019, jamanetwork.com)
- Do Push-Ups Make Your Breasts Bigger? (2019, livestrong.com)
- The health benefits of push-ups and how to do them correctly to get the most out of your workout (2020, insider.com)
- What Are the Benefits of Push-Ups? (2019, livestrong.com)