First of all, they are not "girl" pushups; they are modified pushups. Dropping to your knees when you're warming up or exhausted, or when you're learning the movement is acceptable. But you're not doing yourself any favors by continuing to do pushups on your knees when you're capable of so much more! There are better, more effective ways to build your pushup strength and there are plenty of reasons as to why you would want to do such a thing.
Pushups are one of the most effective total body exercises you can perform any time, anywhere. It's not all about the upper body. In order to move your entire body down and back up again, you need coordination and strong core control. You need to recruit the upper back, glutes and solid breathing practices. There are dozens of pushup variations, targeting different muscle groups. But you can't get to any of those if you're still on your knees.
Core muscle strength is the primary resource for a good pushup. When you're on your knees, you cut your body in half. You also naturally stop engaging the core and focus more on the movement of the chest, which is directed by the bending of your arms. Hips sag or pop up, and you think you're getting a super awesome pushup set completed just because your chest is descending and rising. When you take your legs out of the equation, you don't utilize the glutes at all, and the lower abs are hit and miss.
There are better ways to condition the body for a pushup. Try the following variations instead:
1. Wall Pushup: No one is above a wall push up. It shows you exactly how it should feel to move your chest, hips and thighs as one solid unit. Place your hands against the wall, wider than the shoulders at the same line as your shoulders. Walk the feet back two to three feet and press your nose into the wall, exhale and push away. See it here.
2. Elevated Pushup: Ease your way to the floor by meeting halfway. Use a step, stair or bench for it. Start in your high plank and drop your chest, hips and thighs simultaneously until you reach your max, then push out of it with a big exhale. See more here.
>> Double check your form: Watch: Is Your Pushup Correct?
3. Assisted Pushup: Grab a band and wrap it around a pull-up bar or squat rack, then slide the loop around your waistline. Perform the pushup by squeezing the glutes, core and upper back as you push out of it. Go for thinner bands to ease resistance as you get stronger.
4. TRX Plank Tuck and Pushup: Use the suspension training of a TRX or other suspension strap to help you load your pushup. Slide the feet into the straps and get into your high plank. Tuck the knees as closely as you can into the chest to work the core from a different angle. These will be the same muscles you work during a pushup. Try doing a pushup with your feet elevated. There will be more weight in the upper body, which will make a traditional pushup feel like a breeze. See more on this move here.
Ready to give it a go? Build your strength with a 30-day pushup challenge! Click here to get started. Try keeping up with Skinny Mom founder, Brooke Griffin in this Skinny Minute for a Pushup with a Hand Raise: