Although my claim to fame is nerdy scientist, I'll have you know in my heyday I was also a jock. After a brief encounter with softball in 3rd grade -it didn't work out- I started my soccer affair. For a decade plus I enjoyed the masochist's sport. Demandingly high endurance, requiring not only strength but speed and agility to keep your ACL from snapping, soccer kicks your ass and you come back for more because baby -it hurts so good. You want me to run 6 miles? Sure. You want me to do 90 push-ups? Yeah, whatever. You want me to do suicides across the football field and immediately drop to a minute long plank? Come on, it's Tuesday. I'm going to need more than this.
To this, I shall credit my extreme body sensitivity. A tool whose precise balance matters, and I can tell when it's off. I feel heavy. I think I put on a couple of pounds. I get on the scale, and yes, two pounds heavier. It's not water weight? Nope, not that time. Maybe you think I'm feeling phantoms. So little couldn't matter. But when you've enjoyed the same weight since high school, you're quick to feel a shift. You've been lax. Haven't walked enough. Okay, okay, I'll fix it.
None of this is about my weight or body, however. It's about the fact girl push-ups are pointless.
I know I shouldn't call them girl push-ups. Forgive me for habit -such is the title of my nostalgia. But you envisioned what I meant immediately.
There it is. Knees bent, lightly resting on your palms. Some articles will tell you, "Girl Push-ups are Great!" As with this one, if you're truly physically incapable of doing one push-up, maybe it's not a bad place to start.
Probably though, that isn't your case. Probably, you can do one push-up. I'm going to give the anatomy of why that one true push-up outstrips 10 of this false competitor.
I possess what I fondly entitle a "Venus de Milo" paunch. The curvature beginning at the bellybutton sloping down you see in the Greek and Roman artworks and cherubicly plump dames of Renaissance work. No matter what I do, it never seems to go away. Perhaps with enough effort, but if my varsity soccer days didn't get rid of it, I'm not hopeful. During that phase, my body and I came to an agreement I'll never possess the flat stomach of Alessandra Ambrosio, but by damn, I'm Classic and that works for me.
And yet, it's the thing first targeted when I feel flabby. In come push-ups.
If you had to vote on a single "Best Exercise" for your body, push-ups should be a strong competitor. In one motion which can be performed anywhere at anytime (depending on your personal level of comfort), you exercise arms, abs, legs and back. They come with all sorts of variations highlighting the different areas. Knee push-ups is not one you should indulge in.
Look at all those muscles you're working! Especially those lower abdominals I wish would get to work in removing my roundness. You want to do knee push-ups instead? Well, take away those abs. Take away the lumbar stabilization muscles, too. Oh, and those pectorals. No resistance on them, no gain. (Did you know the pectoral muscles help give you perkier, healthier breasts? But, who cares about those things right?)
Which leaves your triceps and, alright, I'll give you a little deltoid, but again, diminished benefit. You could be working 6 muscles, now you're working 2.
When I played soccer, girl push-ups weren't allowed. It took me 'til college anatomy and physiology to understand "Why". I implore you -do the real thing. You don't have to do 10 of them at one time. You don't have to do 5 of them at one time. If you have to do real push-ups one at a time over the course of an entire day to get to 10, do it that way. Two keys to a healthy body and weight-loss are simply engage more muscles and engage them more often. The true push-up is your friend.