michelle obama does pushupsWe knew Michelle Obama had gorgeous sculpted arms of steel, but even that knowledge didn't quite prepare us for her performance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen (who herself is surprisingly buff) challenged her to a push-up contest, and the First Lady wowed the audience by pounding out 25 real push-ups one after the other. And, she would have kept going if Ellen hadn't stopped her!

So what exactly do I mean by "real"?

It simply means an honest-to-goodness push-up where your abs are in, your body is in a tight, straight plank position (no butt in the air), and you push up from your hands and the balls of your feet.

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The alternative, of course, is doing a push-up on your knees, which can feel easier. Sometimes these push-ups on the knees are referred to as "girly push-ups." But I think this term is sexist, not to mention inaccurate: I've seen quite a few men in my Wednesday night rebounding class drop down to their knees when they think no one's looking -- I SEE you!

Not that there's anything wrong with a push-up on your knees. In fact, many people new to fitness (and of BOTH genders) start with those kind of push-ups until they are strong enough to graduate to the "real" ones. Personally, I think it's better to work hard every day at a few real push-ups (even if you can only do one or two) rather than doing 10 push-ups on your knees. But you should do what's most comfortable for you.

And in the meantime, let's check on our First Lady ... yeah, she isn't messing around (although if I had to critique her form, I'd say she should go down another inch or so):

How many push-ups can you do? Are they "real" or the other kind?

 

Image via PBO2012/YouTube