Pushups – good or bad?

Q: I recently heard that it is not good for a woman to do full push-ups. Is this true?

A: Absolutely not! Push-ups are a great, do-anywhere way to strengthen chest and arm muscles for both men and women. The exception: If you have wrist or shoulder problems, pushups may not be your best option.

Pushups – the full kind where you’re balancing on your hands and toes – may have gotten a bad rap from women because we tend to have weaker upper bodies, making push-ups really tough to do. But you can get stronger by doing them.

If you’re just starting out, do push-ups on your knees to make it a bit easier. If that’s still too difficult, stand and place your hands on a desk or table. Try to do 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, three times a week. When you’re comfortable with that, try a few full push-ups on your toes. Remember to keep your neck, back and legs in a straight line. Do as many as possible using good form, then finish your set doing them on your knees. Eventually, you’ll be able to do full push-ups for your entire workout. The sense of accomplishment will feel great, your arms and shoulders will be firmer and lugging heavy grocery bags will be easier.

Quick tip: If your wrists ache, hold onto dumbbells instead of placing your hands flat on the floor. This prevents you from bending your wrists, taking some pressure off the joint.

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