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Why Are Push-Ups Harder For Females? (Solved!)

Pretty much anyone can do push-ups or some kind of push-up variation. However, some people will find them more challenging than others.

You might find push-ups harder for a number of reasons.

It might be because your working muscles and joints are weaker than you thought.

It could be that a past or current injury or medical condition (like a hernia) makes the movement less comfortable.

Or, it could be that you’re female…

This is obviously not something you can do too much about, but understanding why push-ups are so hard for females can help you adapt your training to make the exercise more comfortable and, ultimately, easier for you.

That’s what we discuss in this article. Why push-ups are so hard for females, how to get better at them, and whether an average female can do push-ups.

Female doing a push up in a crossfit gym

Can The Average Woman Do A Push-Up?

As a general rule, an average woman can likely do at least a few push-ups.

The issue tends to be (for average women at least) that push-ups are harder and less comfortable when compared to an average man doing push-ups.

That doesn’t mean that women can’t do push-ups, it just means that they’ll likely find the exercise to be more of a challenge than they might expect to. 

Depending on multiple factors such as age, medical history, genetics, etc, an average female may be able to do somewhere between 1 and 10 push-ups before having to stop and allow the working muscles to rest and recover.

It should be pointed out that this is relating to an average female and not someone who trains on a regular basis.

Obviously, if you work out and have higher levels of strength and fitness, push-ups will be easier for you to do than for others.

Women may find push-ups harder but they can certainly still do them effectively. 

Why Are Push-Ups Harder For Females?

Less Natural Upper Body Strength

Women naturally have less upper body strength than men.

This is because women’s muscle fibers are typically smaller than a men’s muscle fibers. Women also have less of their total muscle mass distributed in their upper body.

This doesn’t mean that women can’t do push-ups or that they should avoid doing them, it simply means that they’ll probably have to put in more work to develop upper body strength before they start finding push-ups easier and a bit more comfortable.

Misconceptions About The Exercise

Unfortunately, there are still some old views surrounding exercise that seem to be sticking around for a while.

One such view is that push-ups are a “man’s exercise” and if a woman does them, she’ll get overly muscular and look more like a man.

This is clearly not true and a lot of people no longer think like this.

However, this misconception prevents some women from doing push-ups as part of their training program. As a result, they find push-ups much harder if they do ever decide to do them.

Push-ups are not an exercise designed for one specific gender or type of person.

Most able-bodied people can do push-ups and can get the great benefits they bring to your workouts and overall fitness goals.

Women should not be worried about looking “manly” from doing push-ups. Push-ups are a fantastic exercise whether you’re male or female.

Do Push-Ups Get Easier For Females?

Yes, like anyone else who finds push-ups challenging to begin with, as you get more and more used to doing them, and with the right training plan in place, push-ups will get easier for you.

This makes complete sense when you think that push-ups can be challenging if you have low levels of upper body strength.

As doing push-ups helps to strengthen your upper body, the more push-ups you do, the more upper body strength you will have, and the easier push-ups will be for you.

How To Get Better At Push-Ups For Females

Start With Box Push-Ups (If You Need To)

If you find that you aren’t able to do standard push-ups, then doing box push-ups can be a great starting point for you.

This involves your hands and knees being on the ground instead of your hands and feet during the push-up movement.

Being on your knees rather than your feet reduces the amount of your body weight that you have to lift during push-ups. It also gives you a more stable base, and makes the exercise more comfortable to perform.

Once you’ve done box push-ups for a while, you might be surprised at how much your upper body strength has improved and regular push-ups could now be easier for you.

Try Different Variations

There are so many variations of push-ups out there that it can be difficult to know which ones to do.

That being said, as there are so many versions of push-ups to try, it’s well worth trying a few different ones out to find which ones can help you move toward your fitness goals.

Here are some variations that you can try:

  • Incline Push-Ups
  • Hindu Push-Ups
  • Diamond Push-Ups
  • Handstand Push-Ups
  • Mike Tyson Push-Ups
  • Hand Release Push-Ups

Doing the right push-up variations can help you get better at push-ups as the working muscles will continue to develop and grow in strength until regular push-ups become less challenging.

Add Bench Press To Your Workouts

Female doing bench press

The biggest muscle involved in push-ups is your chest.

If you can strengthen your chest, then you’ll highly likely find push-ups much easier to do.

Doing bench press can increase the strength in your chest quite dramatically so it can be a great idea to add this exercise to your training plan.

Are Push-Ups Easier For Males?

Normally, but not always, push-ups will be easier for men than for women.

Men naturally have more upper body strength so usually find push-ups less challenging than women do.

Push-ups aren’t easy for all men though (just like they aren’t challenging for all women).

For example, you’ll likely find push-ups to be harder if you’re overweight.


In summary:

  • Push-ups are harder for females because females typically have less upper body strength than males.
  • If you find regular push-ups too challenging as a female, you should start with an easier variation, like incline push-ups.

That’s all for this article, but you might be wondering whether you should do stretches before push-ups? Or maybe you want to learn more about clap push-ups vs regular?

Hope this helped!