If you’re struggling to do pushups, you’re not alone. For a lot of people, it’s one of the more common exercises that they simply can’t pull off. If you try to do a push up, does it feel more like you are struggling to get your arms and core to move in a way they’re not accustomed to?
Women in particular seem to have a tough time with this exercise, but anyone can do pushups. It’s simply a matter of building up your strength and progressing from something that’s easier to do to the more difficult pushups. I’m going to share with you a few tips on how to get better at pushups female health enthusiasts can use. If this has been the one exercise you simply can’t handle, it’s time to change that.
Build Upper Body Strength
Probably, the biggest area where you’re struggling with this exercise is in simply having the strength to do it. Maybe start by developing upper body strength, particularly in your arms and shoulders.
Here are a few exercises you can use to develop musculature there:
- bicep curls
- overhead resistance band stretches
- pull aparts
Spend a couple weeks doing exercises like these to work on your upper body strength. Couple that with a healthy diet where you cut back on sugar, fatty foods, fried foods, and simple carbohydrates and focus on eating lean meats and protein. This will help spur muscle development, especially when partnered with a regular exercise routine. Very soon, you’ll notice your upper body strength improving. You may be able to see better muscle definition there, and you might start to feel stronger.
Boost Your Core
Doing pushups means engaging your core as well. It’s not just strengthening the shoulders and upper arms that you need in order to pull off a good push up. You may need to work on your core strength as well.
Any kind of exercise you can do that will build core strength will be helpful. The American Council on Exercise says that low core strength is one of the most common contributing factors to an inability to do pushups. So, you’ll want to build that core strength to pull off a good pushup.
Some of the best exercises to fit into your routine to improve core strength are planking and boxing. Planking is actually one of the best progression exercises to do to work your way up to pushups, since the two are so similar. The pushup is essentially a moving form of plank, so it makes sense that you could progress from one to the other. Try to focus on your planking to where you could hold it for a full minute at a time. Also try to work several sets of planks into your workout routine a few times a week. Doing this regularly, you’ll soon be able to pull off a pushup with ease.
Start with Easy Pushups
Knee pushups are sometimes known as girly pushups, and you don’t need to be ashamed to start there. Not everyone is going to be able to do a proper pushup the first time they try. You may need to work up from something easier before you get to the more advanced exercise.
To do a knee pushup, get down on your hands and knees, and then lower yourself by using your arms until your face is hovering just above the floor. Your elbows should bend outward away from your body, and your pams should be flat on the floor. For most people, this is a very simple pushup to do, and it helps ease you into the motions of the proper pushup and build up some of the muscles that will be used for pushups as well.
Try doing a few sets of 10 to 15 knee pushups every workout session, getting in a session three to four times a week. Pretty soon, you should be able to do a proper pushup, supporting yourself on your toes rather than your knees.
Try Different Hand Placements
Part of the reason you may be struggling with the traditional pushup is because of your stance. The distance between your hands and where you place them on the ground when you do a push up can affect how difficult the exercise is to do.
The conventional pushup calls for you to place your hands about a shoulder width apart from each other with your palms flat on the ground. That’s far from the only way to do standard pushup, though. You can place your hands farther apart and see if that is easier for you or place them closer together. They can even be right next to each other. Try these different distances and see how they work for you to find something that’s comfortable and easy for you to do.
You can also try balling up your hands into fists rather than opening your palms as you do pushups. This can place less strain on your wrists, which may be helpful if you have weak wrists. If you’re doing pushups with fist hands, you can place your hands so that your thumbs point toward each other or turn them upward so that your thumbs point ahead of you.
Try Different Kinds of Pushups
A different placement technique that can help is trying inclined pushups. This usually requires very little upper body strength, and they can minimize the need for core and midsection strength. So, if you’re weak in that area, try an inclined pushup to see if that’s a little easier for you.
You can also slow down your pushups to make them easier. You don’t have to keep pace with an exercise video or instructor as you do the exercise. If they are too challenging for you, just slow things down and see if that makes them more manageable for you.
You can try decline pushups too, which require you to push your entire body upwards and put the burden on your shoulders, back and upper arms.
These different types of pushups can offer you a different entry point to regular pushups, and you may find some of them easier than the regular pushups.
It also helps to keep your expectations low and try to do just a few push-ups in a row. Don’t push yourself too hard at first, as you can make yourself too sore to do pushups the next day. Whenever you’re trying a new exercise, it’s always best to take things easy and move at a slow pace at first, until you get used to doing regularly. If you find that you overdid it and pushed yourself too hard with the pushups, you can take a little time off from doing them.
Don’t stop exercising, though. Make sure you stretch out and massage them to get rid of soreness. Try to do some less strenuous upper exercises as you allow your body to recover. You’ll be able to do pushups soon, as long as you follow the guidelines and pushup tips listed above. Anyone can do pushups, as long as they stick with them and build up the muscles needed for this exercise.