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I Feel Passionate About Push-Ups

They may be tough, but push yourself to do the real thing, and you'll get better FAST! Credit: Port of San Diego, Flickr

They may be tough, but push yourself to do the real thing, and you’ll get better FAST! Credit: Port of San Diego, Flickr

When Jenn came to visit recently, we got to chatting about workouts, of course. I was talking about how even the idea of her gym intimidates me, what with the people doing pull-ups and crazy fitness feats right and left. She mentioned that even though there are crazy-fit people there, there are some women who go there who still do modified push-ups.

Cue a passion about push-ups that had been laying dormant within me.

I couldn’t believe it. With the crazy stuff those people do, it didn’t seem possible that anyone in that facility wasn’t pumping out hundreds of one-armed push-ups on a given day. How could they be doing modified push-ups?

Now, I hate to bag on modified push-ups — the ones you do from your knees. Or incline push-ups that you do against a wall. They have their time and place, for sure. For beginners, they can be a great first step to gain the building blocks needed for killer upper-body strength. I’m as guilty of the modified push-ups as anyone else. They used to be my thing. I used to think they were just fine; that they were enough. But then I had a trainer who told me in no uncertain terms that I should be doing the real deal. That it didn’t matter if I could only eke out a few, but I should do as many real push-ups as I could do and build from there. And wouldn’t you know it? Ever since then — when I could only do one or two — I’ve been able to consistently do several sets of 10 or 12.

I definitely don’t mean to come across like a push-up snob, but ladies, you can do real push-ups. You really can! You just have to try. Just like Jenn’s pull-ups, she didn’t get there overnight. But you’ll never be able to push yourself to do unmodified push-ups if you’re not even attempting them. And once you master them, you’ll feel silly for holding back for so long. So if you’ve been working out for more than a month, give it a try. Do one. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll improve, and you’ll be rocking out multiple sets of 10 in no time!

Do you do modified push-ups or have you tackled the real deal? —Erin

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