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"Girl" Pushups

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[caption id="attachment_3521" align="aligncenter" width="775"]This guy totally got that body doing modified pushups This guy totally got that body doing modified pushups [/caption] I despise the term “Girl Pushups.” Personally I call them modified pushups, as opposed to full pushups, but “girl pushups,” is the popular name, to my dismay. I think it’s sexist, limiting, and lazy; I never use it myself in class, and I only used it in the headline because it would grab attention, and who among you wouldn’t sell out your principles for a handful of extra page views? First, it implies that girls can’t do “real” pushups, which is just a stupid attitude. Maybe it’s the relatively thoughtful and educated membership of Krav Maga Raleigh, but I don’t think I hear guys use the term too much. I seem to hear it more from girls. “Can I do girl pushups instead?” they sometimes ask. But while there’s no problem with doing pushups from your knees, I do take issue with the implicit assumption that, as a girl, they should default to girl pushups. One of the tenets of coaching and training is that you don’t start with the assumption you can’t do something. The term “girl pushups” is inherently limiting, encouraging women to start with the idea that they’ll never do full pushups, and we can’t put limits on ourselves if we want to reach our potential. On the other side of this subject, I also don’t like the term, “girl pushups” because they’re a great exercise for guys as well. No one of any gender should feel bad about doing modified pushups if that’s the correct exercise for them at the moment. For neophytes it’s a great way to work towards full pushups, and for strong people there are still plenty of times when your chest and arms just fried and it’s better to do good modified pushups than sloppy full ones. And they aren’t all that easy anyway. I did some experiments using a scale and a modified pushup was between 60-75% of the “weight” of a full pushup. That number fluctuates with body type and weight distribution, but even at the lower end it’s still not that light. Modified pushups done correctly can still be plenty challenging. So don’t feel bad about doing modified pushups, and don’t think that they’re the limit of your strength either. It’s an exercise like any other, and what matters is how you use it.

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