There are so many reasons why the push-up is a perfect exercise for everyone. Before you say “I can’t do a push up because…(fill in the blank)” hear me out. There are so many benefits to the push-up
Push-ups are free. They require no special equipment or additional equipment. Now sure, if you wish to buy fun equipment that is your option but it’s not necessary to complete a push-up. As a result, you can do them at home, outside, in a hotel room, in a well-equipped gym and in an ill equipped gym.
Push-ups provide functional strength. This is a move you need in life. You push things all day and hopefully wish to be able to push things for many years to come. Push-ups will ensure that.
Push-ups provide shoulder strength and stability. As we age, our shoulder joint weakens. This is the number one reason why I hear people say they can’t so a push up. This is also where modifications are needed. Now if you have a serious injury that require you to avoid this motion, you are the exception, not the rule. But the rest of us, which is most of us, we need this shoulder strength and stability to ensure a long happy shoulder life.
Push-ups strengthen your pectorals (chest muscles) and triceps (back of upper arm). Men are more willing to keep push-ups in their routine but women are quick to leave them out. I want to encourage women specifically to make them a normal and regular part of your routine. Upper body strength is essential for any active adult and women you will not bulk up doing a couple dozen push-ups. I personally would be thrilled if that were the case, but as a woman, bulk is very difficult to get. Sexy arms are a more realistic result. You strengthen both your chest (think natural lift) and your triceps (think firm back of arm). From what I hear women complain about, those two are at the top.
Push-ups work your core. Core is often the true reason someone cannot do a proper push-up. Core strength is the biggest part of push up strength. This is where modifications are needed. If you cannot do a traditional floor push up, I suggest starting at the wall, moving to a counter as you get better and then down to a shorter but sturdy level (stair, bench, retaining wall, etc). My personal preference is to stay in full body position instead of going to knee push up. I like combinations of full body push-ups and knee push-ups for variety but the full body position in an elevated position is my favorite way to perform a push up and the truest way to build on functional strength, pectoral strength and core strength. Especially since you need the core element to be engaged so that you can get lower and lower until the full body floor push up can be achieved.
So with all the benefits of a push-up I want to encourage everyone to put them in their routine. Some of you will need modifications as you build your strength to handle a full body push up. Modifications are a natural part of strength training progression. Don’t judge, just know where you need to start and start. If you have shoulder problems your start point will be different than if you have a back issue. If you are unsure of what to do, contact a certified personal trainer or other qualified fitness professional for assistance. You may also contact me and I will do my best to guide you to a proper push-up for you.