8 Reasons Why I Should Love Pushups

I shouldn’t start out saying I hate pushups… but that is pretty much the truth.  Whether you spell it push-up, pushup, push up or even press-up – they all mean a real upper body challenge to me!

Arm strength has never been my thing. Pushups are great it that you don’t need any equipment to do them. Pushups are a “real” exercise. My arms feel like jello after doing them. I’m still struggling to do good form pushups and often complete the round on my knees.

I’d love to be able to do something like 25, from the TRX. I can do four, when I’m fresh and really feeling strong.

More often than not, I’m struggling to keep good form. I don’t want to have to go to my knees in order to keep my body straight. I also find I want to bend my neck instead of looking slightly forward. Good form, which is important for all exercises, is really important with pushups.

Love Pushups
Photo credit – Form – via Unsplash.

I know I need to LOVE pushups. Why?

Here are some of the benefits of doing pushups:

  1. I want to be strong. Carrying groceries, lifting boxes, putting a suitcase in the overhead bin – I don’t want to ask for help. Being strong is good.
  2. Good upper body strength will help to catch me if I start fall or help me get up off the floor (after getting worn out trying to do pushups – ha ha!)
  3. Pushups work my core. Each pushup has a bit of the plank in it. Its one of the most basic exercises.
  4. Pushups definitely make stronger shoulders. That’s a good thing for me after a skiing crash on my left shoulder in 2015 that still bothers me when I’m sleeping from time to time.
  5. They help with posture, because pushups work the shoulders, the back and the chest.
  6. Pushups improve balance – very important for bike riding. (I didn’t realize this until I read about it this morning. It must be the core.)
  7. Because they are so hard I feel like they have to be good. Maybe it is because I feel so accomplished after I actually can do them.
  8. Even 85-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsberg does 20 pushups each morning – and not on her knees – in her Notorious RBG workout

They say form is most important. So I’m trying not to just flail up and down but really focus on my form. In fact, I find that when I break them up throughout the workout so my arms don’t get so fatigued, it helps me to complete more pushups with good form. (Okay, now I’m just trying to convince myself I don’t hate pushups.)

Sometimes I distract myself by doing different types of pushups. Here are various kinds of pushups that have been part of my group exercise classes in the last few years:

  • on my knees (which may seem like a copout, but I find can still get a good work out and keep form)
  • on a bosu ball, with the solid side up and the rounded side down. We did four pushups and then four mountain climbers – repeat – for one minute
  • on a raised step – either a bench with risers underneath or an actual stair step
  • doing pushups off the wall or a countertop – different angles works things differently I’ve found
  • putting your feet in the loops of the TRX strap and doing pushups while your feet are suspended (YIKES!)
  • pushup on dumb bells combined with one arm rows
  • adding a pushup in the middle of burpees (The reason I like these pushups is because then I am concentrating on hating the squat thrust part of the burpee instead of the pushup — ha ha!)
  • pushups as part of yoga in sun salutations or cobra style (love these!)
  • hindu pushups (I have not been able to ever do these, but I try. If you’ve never tried them, you gotta Goggle it and try it. Makes normal pushups feel so much better.)
  • dolphin pushups
  • suicide pushups – These are not as bad as they sound. Start in a low plank and then go to high plank. Then back to low plank. Switch which arm you lead with each time.

Pushups are a love/hate thing with me.  I’d love to love pushups. The only way that is going to happen is for me to do them regularly and don’t give up. And stop saying “I can’t” or “It’s too hard.”

Are you doing pushups? What type do you do? How did you learn to love them? Leave a comment below.

5 thoughts on “8 Reasons Why I Should Love Pushups”

  1. I finally got around to looking up suicide push ups. They’re not bad. I used to do them frequently. Not so often lately, so I guess I should consider getting them back into the schedule.

    I did the Hindu push ups at a boot camp class. People were complaining terribly about them. I actually thought they weren’t that bad because I realized when I started to do them that I was going from down dog to up dog and I’ve done that in yoga classes though they weren’t called that.

    1. Jill –

      I really struggle with Hindu push ups. Maybe you can show me the trick. I really have a tough time swinging down and through.

      – Chris

  2. Form is definitely important! I do try to do as many as I can with straight legs but it’s better to drop to your knees than to start to have bad form.

    I thought of this post the other night at a boot camp class. We must have done about 5 sets of 10 push ups mixed in with other things. It was a tiring class, for sure.

  3. My CrossFit coaches tell me knee push ups with good form are better than straight leg pushups with bad form! So don’t feel like you are selling yourself short by doing them on your knees.

    1. Wendy –
      Good advice. Good form keeps my back feeling fine. Thanks for the reminder! It’s a good point!

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