Girl push ups- Are They ONLY For Girls?

I first heard the term girl push ups when training a client to do knee push ups.

That’s the first time I heard the phrase, and not the last time either.

According to this client, a girl push up is a push up that is performed on the knees.

I was baffled, a modified knee push up isn’t a girl push up.

Girls aren’t the only ones who do them!

I’ve trained scores of men who couldn’t do a single push up, and I’ve started many of them on their knees.

While it isn’t necessary to do push ups on the knees in order to progress to full push ups, the term girl push ups just seems silly to me.

So I thought I’d write a blog post about why I thought it was silly, but I decided to ask my girlfriend what she thought about “girl push ups” instead.

My Girfriends Thoughts On "Girl Push Ups"

Many people (boys and girls included) can`t do push ups in the beginning.

It is not a very easy movement to perform.

It’s harder for girls I agree, but it is equally hard for many men to do with correct form.

When I started working out, I was most intimidated by push ups. The thought of having my entire body weight on my skinny arms was pretty scary.

I didn’t think I had the strength to do them. Every session I would say let’s skip the push ups part.

I would do all the exercises with a lot of enthusiasm but I wouldn’t dare try doing push ups.

After a lot of insistence from Suhail, I was convinced that push ups were an excellent movement and needed to be done.

Having the ability to move your body through space give you a sense of confidence like no other.

So, I started with high incline push ups, but the movement felt really easy for me. This gave me a lot of confidence.

Every third session he would make me decrease the angle of the incline

As I got stronger, Suhail moved me to a lower incline.

I was hooked with the progress I was making and wanted more.

Besides once you master a move and gain some confidence you are more than willing to move forward.

It was taking the first step that was hard. I did incline push ups for two weeks building my upper body strength one rep at a time.

I followed the same formula Suhail mentions in his push up progression guide.

Since I didn’t have a pair of gymnastics rings handy, the moment I could get my hands on the ground, I did.

This meant I skipped a large number of steps in between, but my coach said that it was okay and so my next progression was push ups on my knees.

I’d like to repeat that they are not called girl push ups. I`d rather call them a modified push up.

This was as close as I had ever come to a real push up. Watching me, come from the wall to floor was a big boost to my morale.

Once I reached this stage of push ups on my knees, Suhail made me decrease my reps but he increased the sets.

I did 5 reps for 5 sets with a rest time of 30 seconds. One week of this and I was ready to go. I was ready to move to the next step – negative push ups.

A negative push up is mixture of a full push up and a modified push up on your knees.

Suhail has a guide for that too (Negative Push Ups), but you get into the push up position palms a little wider than your shoulder width, go down into a push up, once you are down you drop your knees to the floor and push the ground away from you.

I started with 5 reps for 5 sets again. Increasing the intensity every work out. I would increase the number of repetitions by a few reps every workout. 

After 3 weeks of negatives it was finally time to test if all my hard work had paid off.

I was nervous, would the method work?

I’m happy to say that I did my set of 5 push ups and I never felt better. I was like magic.

I felt like I had achieved something and had gotten over an irrational idea that I don’t need to and can`t do push ups.

I went through the whole process of modified versions of push ups till I could actually do a regular push up.

Making modifications doesn’t make them inferior. It is step by step process, which varies from person to person depending on your strength levels.

So please stop calling push ups on the knees girl push ups. It’s just a modification and makes the process of learning push ups a lot easier.

You calling them girl push ups doesn’t make them any easier for you or for me.

Leave your ego at the door and work at your strength level and get on your knees.

Go through the steps described in this blog and before you know it, you’ll be doing full push ups too.

I encourage girls who think they can`t do push ups to start doing them.

My arms and chest feel stronger, more than anything else it has also shown me that with the right system in place, you can achieve anything.

With Suhail’s guidance, I can now do full pull ups, something a lot of men can’t do.


I think my girlfriend laid it out pretty well.

In fact, it’s the best advice I’ve ever heard about doing push ups:

  1. Leave your ego at the door
  2. Work at your level of strength
  3. Take things step by step

If you’re looking to learn how to do push ups, here is some recommended reading on my blog:

Push Up Progressions

Incline Push Ups

Knee Push Ups

Negative Push Ups

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