One of the most important exercises that I have all of my female clients work on is the Push Up. While it’s primary purpose is to build up the chest muscles, there is so much more value in mastering this movement as it is a key exercise in overall upper body development in helping create the illusion of a smaller waist and more fit looking physique. More importantly, mastering the Push Up increases overall strength (chest, shoulders, triceps, and core). It even indirectly helps with back development in a full body exercise strategy as an antagonistic movement to pulling.
The Push Up is also extremely effective at engaging the muscles that help move your shoulder blades (i.e. your Serratus Anterior) and because these muscles are so small, neglecting it will increase the chances of injury through shoulder impingement which is extremely painful because the muscle tendon becomes entrapped in the shoulder joint causing the shoulder blades to tilt forward and down (i.e. you’re looking slumped over). I can’t help but insist enough that Push Ups should be an integral part of every training program especially for women.
That being said, most women just beginning a fitness regimen aren’t conditioned enough and lack the necessary strength to perform traditional Push Ups right off the bat so what I suggest is to begin with Push Variations such as on the knees or on a bench to reduce the weight of the movement until the body thoroughly adapts to the movement.
Even better the Push Up can be done almost anywhere and because it is a bodyweight exercise, it can be performed frequently allowing the body to adapt to the movement very quickly (i.e. increased strength, enhanced posture, and improved conditioning).
In my upcoming Strong Like MOMMY e-book, I have included a number of Push Ups and Push Up modifications in the training program for all of my soon-to-be STRONG MOMMIES of varying Fitness Levels.
As far as physique development and improved fitness levels, the Push Up is an excellent Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced exercise for both men and women.