Can a child be too young to do pushups? How young is too young for kids to do pushups?

What’s interesting about this question is that babies do this type of motion all the time.

Though there is no practical reason to make a young child do pushups (as far as fitness is concerned, there are parents who enforce this exercise as punishment), it certainly isn’t harmful to a child’s body.

How many times have you seen a baby press up his or her body weight as though trying to do a pushup?

His upper body is off the floor, arms/shoulders holding it up, while the legs are still on the floor.

But what about preschoolers and young grade schoolers?


Is it safe for kids these ages to do pushups?

Yes, it definitely is safe. Think of the things that kids do, that you normally wouldn’t think of as being potentially harmful to their joints or muscles.

Examples are lugging around heavy bags of raked leaves, carrying out the garbage, picking each other up during play, carrying around dogs or their toddler siblings, bowling, and carrying heavy backpacks on their backs at school.

These are all weight-bearing activities that stress a young, growing body unequally and put strain on the back!

Pushups, on the other hand, stress the child’s body equally on both sides, with very minimal strain on the back.

Though few young people can do a complete pushup without a lot of practice, this doesn’t mean that this exercise is dangerous for them.

I have spent a number of years training in the martial arts, and have witnessed scores of young kids doing pushups.


Do novice children struggle at these? Of course. But so do teens and adults.

The ability to do this exercise is learned, either directly (as in the case of kids), or indirectly, as in the case of adults who lift weights.

If your child wants to train at pushups, encourage it. If your child must do them as part of martial arts training, then don’t fret.

Kids can become very efficient at performing this handy exercise.

If you want to make your child do pushups for general fitness this is perfectly fine.

This exercise will not injure kids unless they’re forced to overdo it and hence, harm a shoulder joint.

They are more likely to “pull something” while shoveling snow or lugging around heavy garbage bags.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Duct