“Girl push ups.” Such a horrible term. Thankfully, the term is not used so much anymore, giving way to the less derogatory “push ups on knees.” But terminology aside, I would argue that this form of push ups should probably be retired as well no matter what we call it.
If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to achieve one good push up or give yourself the best opportunity to do even more good push ups, then I believe there are much better methods to accomplish the goal, several if which I will cover in this post.
Don’t get me wrong…If someone just wants to crank out the reps and get a good ol chest burn, then have at it! But if the goal is to achieve your maximum physical potential, manipulating other variables is a better approach. The simple reason is that taking the push up down to the knees turns it into a different movement pattern. The push up is not just a chest movement – it also involves control of everything below, and even demands mobility from the feet, ankles and hamstrings.
Check this out: Here’s a group fitness member who some would label as having a “weak core” based on the picture. But would you believe her problem was actually a painful right big toe, which she is understandably hesitant to bend! When we offloaded her lower body with the band, she was able to place more weight into her legs and successfully perform a complete push up movement. Had she gone down to her knees, she would be missing out on all those positive qualities we experience from a regular push up position.
Allan Phillips, PT, DPT is owner of Ventana Physiotherapy