Women and pushups are often not a love story. And at the same time it is a cheek to refer to the much simpler variation of the classic exercise, in which the knees are placed on the floor, as “women’s push-ups”. Let’s put an end to this! Because every woman can do push-ups – and correct ones.
However, we have to admit beforehand: It is true that many women have difficulties with classic push-ups. There are several reasons for this. We will clarify here why this is and, above all, what you can do about it.
How are push-ups performed correctly?
Before we get to the bottom of why women often find this supposedly simple exercise so difficult, take a look at what it should ideally look like:
- Put your hands on your shoulders with your index fingers pointing forward.
- Stand your feet so that your body is in a straight line from head to toe.
- Inhaling, bend your elbows and lower your body straight down towards the floor like a board. (Don’t cheat by thrusting your head forward – your neck stays straight too.)
- Exhaling, press up again with the strength of your upper body.
Tip: push-up grips
Order here: Push-up grips from Perfect Fitness
If you avoid push-ups because they hurt your wrists, use push-up grips. This pushes you up from a grip position – many athletes find that more pleasant. If you don’t have any push-up grips on hand, you can also do the push-ups on dumbbells or your fists. The only important thing is that your wrists don’t bend.
What must never happen with a push-up: Your buttocks shoot up or your hips sag. That’s the theory. In practice, however, these no-gos are often the rule. The compromise is often: “Put your knees down, you don’t have enough strength yet.” Is that true?
Which muscles are used in push-ups?
In principle, push-ups are not particularly complex – but: They require strength and activity in many different areas of the body. When you push yourself up from the deep push-up position, they mainly work Chest muscles (Pectoralis) and your arms. Throughout the exercise, however, much more happens to other muscles if done correctly:
- The Rhomboids and the Trapezius pull the shoulder blades towards the spine.
- The Serratus anterior anchors the shoulder blades in the back.
- biceps and Triceps stabilize the elbows.
- Back extensor and Abdominal muscles stabilize the trunk.
- The Ilipsoas the pelvis tilts slightly forward.
- The Gluteus stabilizes the hips.
- The Quadriceps straighten your knees.
- The Calf muscles dampen the recoil.
In other words, your whole body is under muscle tension. The push-up is a full-body move! Tip: You can find out which exercises conjure up a strong, taut upper body here.
Why are pushups so hard for women?
The real reason is not, as is often claimed, in the pure physical strength, but in the female anatomy. Compared to the male V-shape with broad shoulders and narrower hips, most women tend to have narrower shoulders and a wider pelvis.
This inverse relationship between hips and shoulders shifts the center of gravity further down in women – making it harder to maintain the straight line in the support position. The result: the pelvis is more likely to sag. Or you work specifically against it and therefore stretch your buttocks a little too high.
Do women have other disadvantages when it comes to push-ups?
In fact, yes. Another obstacle on the way to properly performed push-ups is mobility in the shoulder girdle. The shoulder joint is the most flexible joint in the body and women in particular often lack the necessary stability in the shoulder girdle. So there is another problem.
Of course, you can simply switch to the lighter version instead and put your knees on instead of your feet. But it is better: You train the supporting and auxiliary muscles so that you can soon master the push-up. We tell you how!
3 exercises that will improve your push-up power
The good news is: you can always get better. With these simple additions to your workout, you can strengthen the parts of your body that are used during push-ups:
1. Side support
The side plank strengthens the shoulder girdle and promotes your body tension, as you also keep the whole body under tension in a straight line.
- Place one hand under your shoulder and “stack” your feet on top of each other on the outer edge.
- Your body forms a straight line from head to toe.
- If this gets too intense for you, you can put your lower knee on the floor or put your feet in front of each other.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
2. Dumbbell flys
This exercise strengthens your upper back, which then gives you more stability in the push-up position.
- Grab two light ones Dumbbells and bend your knees slightly.
- Bend forward slightly with your back straight.
- Raise your arms straight to your sides and pull your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower it again.
- 10-15 repetitions, 3 sets
Here you can find out which dumbbells are right for you and what to look out for when buying. And here’s what the 4 best dumbbell exercises to do at home.
3. Triceps extensions
This exercise strengthens the backs of your arms without putting any strain on your shoulders. Having strong triceps will help you control the downward movement during push-ups.
- Stand shoulder width apart, lift one up Dumbbell with your arms stretched over your head and hold it with both hands.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell behind you. Keep your elbows close to your head.
- Exhaling, stretch your arms back to the starting position.
- 10-15 repetitions, 3 sets
You can read here what other exercises will make your arms tight and firm.
Push-ups that you should try
1. Tight pushups instead of wide pushups
Ideally, your wrists are just below your shoulders when doing a push-up. The more they deviate outwards or inwards (diamond push-ups), the harder it becomes. To protect your shoulder joint, you should keep your elbows close to your body when lowering.
2. Play with the slope
Instead of supporting yourself on the floor, you can also raise your hands – on a bench, the edge of a table or on the wall. That makes the push-ups a lot easier. Warning: the other way around, it becomes more difficult with raised feet. Try it!
With a few stabilizing exercises for the shoulder girdle, you can push your push-up performance. But above all: Believe that you can do it! Forget terms like “women push-ups”. They suggest to you that proper push-ups are not feasible for women. That’s nonsense. You can do it!