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Pushups Advice For Girl?


Hey Ive got a girl who needs advice on increasing your pushup strength for an entry navy test. She cant do them on her hands and feet yet but has worked up to a few reps from her knees. Do you guys have any quick fix pushup advice for a client like this? Thanks in advance!


I only recommend knee push-ups to people born without feet. Seriously, get her off her knees (hehe), start on her hands on a raised object (most benches should be fine. I find wall push-ups awkward) and set feet wide apart. The wider her feet, the more stable her base, and the "easier" the movement will seem. Work them in sets of 2-4 reps, avoiding failure.

Just out of curiousity, how many are needed for her Navy test?


Why can't she do them normally - where is the weakness, her arms, her chest, her legs? Is she having trouble getting depth?

Try doing wheelbarrow walks. ie grab her legs and she walks around face down. Don't bend elbows much of course or she will fall down. Alternative is get on swiss ball, walk out from it and back again.

Try doing partials on one arm ... get into knees position at the top, lean to the right, go down a bit and use the right arm to push up, then alternate.

Try doing normal pushups but on inclined surface, e.g on a bannister railing or something, easier than normal pushup but still similar in form. ie at 45 degrees. Will help build up the strength for normal.

How the heck she can't do pushups is beyond me though.


the one of the few times a smith machine is handy. Just adjust the bar height and have her peform the given # of reps, with her hands on the bar and feet on the floor. Gradually as strength increases work the bar lower.
Also, incorporate some "core" (spinal stabilization) exercises into the program to help build that specific part.

Utilize numerous progressions of the plank as well.

how many does she have to do?


Thanks for the input guys. She just mentioned it to me in passing at work and I told her I would get back to her. I got the impression she couldnt do that many from her knees and Im guessing its more of the whole upper body that needs work in the pressing chain. Ill also see how many she needs to do.

Are you guys thinking daily work without hitting failure?


That's like saying "I don't know how the heck you can't do a one-arm chinup." It's an exercise which exceeds her current capability. That's all.

It's a possibility. If I did suggest it, I'd probably consider something like 5 reps from the toes, adjusting R.O.M. each session. So, full push-ups, but only descending as far as is comfortable, and trying to get juuuust a little bit further each time.




yeah but she is going into the navy, so it seemed really odd to me. but maybe she is going to be a clerk?


The easiest way to learn to do push-ups is (like chins) by doing them!

Starting with just the negative is fine. Within a couple of days, she should be able to do a nice, controlled negative. Within a week or so, she should be able to do a push-up. After that, it goes up pretty fast.


i have a great idea! Use boards to decrease the range of motion until she can do as many as she needs on that board and then keep moving to a lower board until she is going full range!


I never thought of using boards. Thanx. I owe ya one. I usually have the girls do them on a ste of steps, starting with their hands on the 4th step and keeping perfect from. When they can do 3 sets of 20, then they drop down a step and repeat the process. The key is perfect form. A push-up with shitty form is about as usefull as a DL or squat with shitty form. Have her work on the breathing as well.



Bench press seems like it would help. And/or performing planks. Doing planks would be less work on her shoulder joint, but would strenghten her abs/core.



Ohh... I meant to add this. I think the suggestions so far are awesome! But really, as far as Navy training goes.... that's what things like boot camp are for. They'll make her great at pushups - by making her do lots of them!

Okay, that's partially an assumption on my part. I was in the Marine Corps, so I shouldn't assume what the Navy training will be like for her. It's fantastic that she's being pro-active about it.




I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to step into training being able to do NO pushups. Not being able to do a pushup is about as out of shape as you can get. I simply wouldn't have the lack of shame to apply for a physical job if I clearly lacked any ability to perform physical work. I'm not trying to be mean here, just being honest. How much time does she have to prepare for this?


kind of hard though when she can't even do one as it is :wink:


If she can do say 25 push ups, make the run in a good time, and do well on sit ups it will spare her a lot of stress (yelling and feeling like a failer). I think her number one goal should be to strengthen her low back/abs first, while working on push up progessions/gereral upper body strength in the weight room; because shitty push up form isn't going to help her at all.


How much does she have to push? If she's too heavy, than that could have something to do with the lack of moving the weight(not entirely her strength). After all the lighter you are, will make it easier to push your weight up.(similiar to the ability to do pull ups, i know strong people that can barely do them because they are just not strong enough to move the 250 or so pounds that they weigh; despit being relatively strong)
(A weight loss diet with some strength training might be an easy answer.)

2nd When a girl does push ups they tend to use thier triceps more to push up than thier chest. Close grip partial rep push ups & holds should strengthen up those arms.

Try having her just hold up her bodyweight as long as she can in a staic hold to build strength. (push up position or a diamond push up position or even a dip position) Sometimes its a very good way to build some strength. I used this technique in forearm training and worked very well.


I couldnt agree more. I once also could not do a single proper pushup and couldnt even do half a negative and I used to weigh 30Kg when I was like this.

I didnt know anything about working out and stuff etc. I just started doing pushups on knees (close but not to failure) I started doing 15 on knees and just did them at home in my room in whatever clothes I had on lol (You dont need a gym for pushups) I did them whenever I had minimum of 30secs free. Ofcourse I only did 1 set at a time and would do 7-8 sets in a day spaced throughout the day. I quickly was on my toes and let me tell you, once she can do at least one on her toes. Just do like 50 sets of 1rep spaced throughout the day. Although this probaly aint best its worked for me. I now do weighted pushups on pushup grips so I can go lower. I also do some handstand pushups whenever I can find time.

Another good thing I find (now) is holds. Eg. If she is doing pushups on knees, get her to hold her chest like half a centimetre from the ground (just as long as she aint using the floor for support) hold it for 3 seconds and it should be good.

Hope that helps somewhat.


Have her get huge implants to decrease her ROM...


ding ding ding ding....we have a winner!!!