When I suggest doing push-ups to an over fifty girlfriend or a middle aged woman I talk to in the gym I usually get the same response: “no way I can do those”. Well it turns out that not only is there a “way” but it’s not difficult at all if you start simply and slowly. Push-ups are one of the all time great exercises — they are fabulous at toning and sculpting your upper body, and they also engage your core and improve your endurance and stamina.
My push-up video shows the three stages to mastering the full body push-up. If you have never done a push-up before, or if you have a weak upper body, start with the push-up against the wall. Basically you are standing away from a wall and pushing your body back and forth with your arms. I suggest aiming at doing 10 of these wall push-ups 3 times. Once you have mastered the wall push-up (the ability to do a total of 30) move on to the modified push-up on your knees. (This is commonly called a “ladies” push-up.) In this version you will be on bent knees, hands shoulder width apart, tummy pulled in and you will move your entire torso up and down in one straight line. Once again aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions, or a total of 30 modified push-ups. Remember that it is crucial to engage your core and move your entire upper body in one straight line from knees to head.
The third step is the full body classic, or “military” push-up. Make sure to keep your hands shoulder width apart and raise and lower your body in one straight line with your feet resting on your toes. Move your entire body as one unit, straightening the arms as your head reaches up and then down to the floor. It is critical to not lock your elbows and to keep your abs super tight and engaged. You will feel the tension in your legs and butt making this movement great for overall fitness. Once again, the aim is for 3 sets of 10 but once you have mastered this move you should definitely start increasing the number of sets and the number of repetitions in each set.
I cannot stress enough the importance of the push-up. So many women over fifty just do cardio and that leads to an underdeveloped upper body. This one movement really does it all and I strongly suggest adding it to any routine.