10 Best Types Of Push-Ups For Women And Their Benefits

Strengthen your core and improve your posture with the right push-up techniques.

Medically Reviewed by Gabbi Berkow, RD, CDN, CPT
By Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Push-ups are great for strengthening and toning the shoulders, chest, and arms (1). Women may feel that “push-ups are for men” because women have less upper body strength than men. However, that’s not true! Push-ups are really for everyone and will make your entire body stronger! With just the right practice and attitude, women can perform push-ups just as easily as men.

Push-ups can also support the abs and the muscles of the mid and lower back. They are great for improving your posture and strengthening your core with no need for equipment, as you maintain a plank position for the entire exercise. You can start with the easier versions and gradually move on to advanced levels of push-ups. In addition, performing them in the correct form by learning the proper technique is key to getting maximum benefits and reducing the risk of injuries.

This article explores the 10 best push-up exercises for women and their benefits. Keep reading.

10 Best Push-Ups For Women And Their Benefits

Warm up your upper body, core, and legs for 10 minutes before you begin so you can perform push ups correctly and without risk of injury. Incorporate planks and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Get ready to start with the easier push-ups before going.

1. Wall Push-Ups

Benefits

Wall push-ups work on the chest (pectoral muscles), shoulders, arms, and core muscles without excessive weight on your upper body. They are great as you’re first learning and help you learn the proper movements of your shoulder blades in a push-up. They help build, strengthen, and tone your chest muscles and can give your breasts a lift naturally. They prepare them for regular push-ups and other advanced variants.These are easiest since you are standing and therefore have the least weight on the hands.

Steps

  • Stand facing a wall your arm-length away. Keep your feet hip-width apart, legs straight, and knees soft.
  • Place your palms on the wall at chest level with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your neck straight and look at the wall. Engage your core and glutes so your body is in a straight diagonal line. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and bend your elbows to 45 degrees towards the wall. Make sure you do not bend from the hips. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows to 45 degrees, not out to the sides. Your head, spine, glutes, and legs should be in a straight line. Do not drop your head or lift your shoulders.
  • Stop when you are a few inches away from the wall.
  • Pause and push your body back to the starting position by separating your shoulder blades. Inhale.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps. Move on to 8 or 12 reps as you become comfortable.

2. Knee Push-Ups

Benefits of knee push-ups

Shutterstock

Benefits

Knee push-ups are great for beginners. They work on the chest (pectorals), shoulders (deltoids), and arms (biceps). With knee push-ups, you will learn to engage your core and maintain proper form – and this is crucial for moving on to advanced push-ups.

Steps

  • Come to hands and knees on an anti-slip mat, knees under hips, hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, palms flat on the floor, and look a few feet in front of you (do not drop your head)
  • Tuck your toes on the ground so you’re on the balls of your feet, tuck in your stomach to keep your core tight, engage your glutes, and keep your head, neck, and spine in a straight line. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and lower your chest towards the floor. Bend your elbows back to 45 degrees by squeezing your shoulder blades together; your elbows should not point straight out to the sides Do not let your hips drop down.
  • Pause for a moment, and push your body up to the starting position by straightening your arms and separating your shoulder blades. Inhale.
  • Repeat the steps again.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps. Move on to 3 sets of 8 as you become more comfortable with the technique.

3. Incline Push-Ups

Source: YouTube

Benefits

This is a slightly tougher push-up variant compared to knee and wall push-ups. Incline push-ups are performed with the hands positioned higher than the feet. It helps improve the upper body’s muscular strength and prepares you for a full plank on your hands. It also tones and strengthens the chest, shoulders, arms, and core. To do an incline push-up, you can use a bench at the gym or a sofa, a table, a sturdy chair, etc.

Steps

  • Place your palms flat on a bench or elevated surface, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Keep your neck straight and look at the bench. Extend your legs backward and keep your feet close together.
  • Tuck in your stomach, engage your glutes, and keep your head, neck, back, hips, and legs in a straight line. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and bend your elbows back to 45 degrees by squeezing your shoulder blades; your elbows should not point straight out to the sides.
  • Stop when you feel your shoulders start to lift. Do not drop your hips down or hunch your back. Keep your shoulders down. Pause for a moment and push your body back to the starting position by separating your shoulder blades. Inhale.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps before moving on to 8 and 12 reps per set.

4. Regular Push-Ups

Benefits of regular push-ups

Shutterstock

Benefits

Regular or basic or standard push-ups are an effective upper body strengthening and endurance exercise that engages the core, shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps. Regular push-ups are tougher than the knee, wall, and incline push-ups because much more weight is on your hands. But regular push-ups get easier with practice, so be consistent!

Steps

  • Start in a full plank position – hands under shoulders, legs straight back in line with hips,abs in, shoulders down, hips up in line with shoulders so your body is in a straight line.
  • Exhale and bend your elbows back to 45 degrees by squeezing your shoulder blades; your elbows should not point straight out to the sides.
  • Stop when you feel your shoulders start to lift. Do not drop your hips down or hunch your back. Keep your shoulders down relaxed.
  • Pause for a moment and push your body back to the starting position by separating your shoulder blades. Inhale.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps before moving on to 8 or 12 reps.

5. Decline Push-Ups

Source: YouTube

Benefits

Decline push-ups require you to keep your legs on a higher plane and hands on the floor. This works the shoulders more than regular push-ups while challenging the core, glutes, chest, biceps, and triceps. You can use a bench, a box, or any piece of furniture to do this push-up.

Steps

  • Sit on your knees facing away from the bench, box, or the furniture you are going to use for this exercise.
  • Place your palms flat on the floor, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Roll your shoulders back.
  • Place your feet on the bench one by one, legs hip-width apart. Tuck in your stomach and engage your glutes. Keep your head, spine, hips, and legs in a straight line. Look at the floor but do not tuck in your neck. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and bend your elbows back to 45 degrees by squeezing your shoulder blades; your elbows should not point straight out to the sides.
  • Stop when you feel your shoulders start to lift. Do not drop your hips down or hunch your back. Keep your shoulders down relaxed.
  • Pause for a moment and push your body back to the starting position by separating your shoulder blades. Inhale.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps before moving on to 8 or 12 reps.

6. Diamond Push-Ups

Source: YouTube

Benefits

Diamond push-ups really target your chest and triceps while working your shoulders and core. They help improve your upper body strength and endurance as well as firm up your triceps.

Steps

  • Sit on the mat on your knees.
  • Form a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers touching as shown in the image above.
  • Place your hands on the floor, shoulders rolled back, with the core and glutes engaged. Look about 6 feet in front of you but do not tuck in your neck. Your head, neck, spine, hips, and legs should be in a straight line. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and bend your elbows back to 45 degrees by squeezing your shoulder blades; your elbows should not point straight out to the sides.
  • Stop when you feel your shoulders start to lift. Do not drop your hips down or hunch your back. Keep your shoulders down relaxed.
  • Pause for a moment and push your body back to the starting position by separating your shoulder blades. Inhale.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps before doing 8 or 12 reps per set.

7. Tricep Push-Ups

Source: YouTube

Benefits

Tricep push-ups are similar to regular or basic push-ups, but your elbows stay in next to your ribs to target your triceps more than your chest. They are a great way to tone and strengthen your upper body.

Steps

  • Get into the starting position of a regular push-up – a full plank on your knees or feet with stomach tucked in, glutes engaged, neck straight, and look at the floor (do not drop your head).
  • Exhale and bend your elbows. This time make sure that your elbows point straight back next to your ribcage Do not let them stick out. Go as far down as you can maintaining proper form.
  • Pause for a moment and push your body back to the starting position by separating your shoulder blades. Inhale.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps before attempting 8, 12, or 15 reps per set.

8. Spiderman Push-Ups

Benefits

If you are ready to take your push-up game to the next level, try spiderman push-ups. These modified push-ups are a mix of push-ups and spiderman lunges, and really work your core and upper body by having you lift 1 leg. These work on your abdominal muscles, especially the oblique muscles that are present at the sides of your belly, upper body, glutes, hip flexors,quads, and hamstrings. They help target love handles, glutes, triceps, and chest. Steps

Steps

  • Get into a high plank position on your hands, hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, and feet together.
  • Tuck in your stomach, engage your glutes, and look a few feet in front of you (do not drop your head or lift your shoulders). This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and bend your elbows to 45 degrees (not out to the sides) to lower your body. Simultaneously, lift off your right foot, bend your knee, and try to touch your knee to your right elbow.
  • Inhale and push your body back to the starting position. Place your right foot back on the floor.
  • Exhale, lower your body again, and this time, lift off your left foot, bend your knee, and try to touch it with your left elbow.
  • Inhale and push your body back to the starting position. Place your left foot back on the floor.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps before doing 8, 12, 15, or 25 reps per set.

9. Pike Push-Ups

Source: YouTube

Benefits

Pike push-ups are an advanced variation that helps tone and strengthens the upper back and chest while working the core, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. The challenge here is to maintain a pike position as you do the push-ups.

Steps

  • Get into a high plank position – hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Look a few feet in front of you and do not drop your head. Hold your stomach in and engage your glutes.
  • Move your hips up to the ceiling, keeping your legs straight and your head and spine in the same line (a downward dog or upside down V position). This is the starting position.
  • Exhale. Bend your elbows out to 45 degrees and lower your head towards the floor. Do not drop your hips or hunch your shoulders.
  • Pause for a moment and extend your elbows to lift your body back to the starting position, pressing your shoulders down as you straighten your arms. Inhale.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps before moving to 8, 12, or 25 reps per set.

10. One-Arm Push-Ups

Source: YouTube

Benefits

The one-arm push-up is a very tough challenge for your core, glutes, and upper body. Once you have built your core and upper body strength and endurance by practicing the above 9 types of push-ups, you may try the one-arm push-up. It works on the core, shoulders, chest, biceps, triceps, and forearm muscles. If you have weak wrists, do these exercises.

Steps

  • Get into a kneeling position. Place your palms flat on the floor, right next to your knees. Extend your legs backward. Move your feet wide apart to support your body weight on just one-arm.
  • Lift off one-arm and place it on your thighs or on your back. Place more weight on same the foot as the arm that is lifted so your hip points towards the floor. Tighten your core, press your shoulders down, and engage your glutes. Breathe. This is the starting position.
  • Exhale and bend your supporting elbow to 45 degrees to lower your body down towards the floor. Stop before you touch the floor. Do not let your hips sag or twist.
  • Pause for a moment and push your body back up and inhale.
  • Do 3 sets of 2-3 reps before moving on to 5, 10, 15, or 25 reps per set.

Note: You can also do ballistic push-ups that include a clap at the top. However, these are very advanced, so perform these under the guidance of a personal trainer.

These are the 10 push-up exercises for women (and anyone). But before you start off, here are a few important points to keep in mind.

Points To Remember

  • Always warm up for 10 minutes before starting any exercise. Roll your hands, stretch your shoulders, squeeze your shoulder blades together, engage your abs and glutes in planks, and extend your arms to warm up the hand muscles before you start doing push-ups.
  • Always start with a lower number of repetitions per set. Begin with 3 sets of 3 reps. Then move on to 3 sets of 5 reps. Then, 3 sets of 8 reps and so on.
    Practice knee push-ups and wall push-ups for a week or two before you attempt the regular push-up.
  • Do not overdo push-ups. Do 2-4 types of push-ups 2 to 3 times per week with a day of rest in between Once you have mastered the proper form, you can do push-ups more frequently.
  • Maiintain proper form. Keep your shoulders down, spine long, and abs and glutes engaged. Do not drop your head or hunch your shoulders. Keep your spine, neck, and head in a straight line.
  • Eat healthy, protein-rich foods to fuel your exercise and muscles. Rest well. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night so your muscles can build and recover
  • Also, knee push-ups are not “girl push-ups”. Anyone who is a beginner starts with knee push-ups and builds strength to perform the basic push-ups. No gender is superior or weak.

Push-ups are an effective bodyweight exercise that helps strengthen the upper body and core muscles and improve endurance. Doing push-ups can also improve chest and shoulder shape, tone your triceps, and fat, and increase core stability. These effects will help you perform other exercises better and for a longer duration. Start today and be consistent. Progress through all the 10 best push-up types mentioned in this post, prioritize good form, and you will be the go-to push-up exercise guru in no time!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is doing push-ups before bed good?

Push-ups before bedtime are acceptable as long as you don’t overdo them. You can work out in the evening if you refrain from engaging in any strenuous activity for at least an hour before bed (3). The advantage is that you’ll be exhausted after working out, making it much simpler to go to sleep.

What are the disadvantages of push-ups?

Push-ups are an excellent upper body and shoulder strengthening exercise, but bad technique and overdoing them can increase the risk of injury. They may cause elbow injury, wrist pain, and lower back pain. However, people can mitigate these dangers by learning the right techniques.

Key Takeaways

  • Women can do beginner-friendly or advanced push-up variations as per their strength and stamina level.
  • Push-ups help you tone and strengthen your upper body muscles, including your chest, arms, and shoulders.
  • Knee push-ups, wall push-ups, and decline push-ups are some types of push-ups women can do regularly.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Muscle Activation during Push-Ups with Different Suspension Training Systems
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126284/
  2. Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8477683/
  3. Effects of Evening Exercise on Sleep in Healthy Participants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30374942/
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author
Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 5 years, she has... more

Gabbi Berkow

(MA, RD, CDN, CPT)
Gabbi Berkow is a Registered Dietitian, exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer, Pilates instructor, and dancer. She specializes in weight loss,... more

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