One of the beauties of doing push ups is that you can do them anywhere and at any time. However, nothing tops the health benefits of pushups every day. Even though they may not be your favorite, they are among the most powerful exercises with maximum benefits. It is essentially an effective all-body exercise that can strengthen multiple muscle groups, including your chest, core, legs, arms, and shoulders. The effectiveness, no-hassle, convenience, and benefits might explain why most people consider doing push ups every day.
But what are these benefits of doing pushups every day? Most people are only familiar with increased muscle mass and strength. Nonetheless, there are so many gains to these exercises than this. Continue reading to discover more benefits of doing push ups daily. In addition, you will also get insight into the possible risks of doing this exercise daily and how you can prevent them.
What Is A Push Up And What Muscles Does It Work?
A pushup refers to an exercise engaging your upper back, arms, and shoulders when lowering and lifting your body weight off the floor (2). It majorly uses your upper body muscles, which are listed below (12):
- Shoulder muscles, including the deltoid major and minor
- Chest muscles, including the pectoralis major and minor
- Upper and middle back muscles, including the rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and trapeze muscles
- Serratus anterior
In addition to these muscles, push ups also work with other body muscles. They include (12):
- The lower back muscles
- Leg muscles, including the quads, hamstrings, shin, and calf muscles
- Core and abdominal muscles
- Lower back muscles
Doing A Perfect Pushup For Maximum Gains
One of the many reasons why fitness gurus recommend push ups is because of their long list of benefits. However, the problem is that some people do these exercises for a while and only report injuries or no results.
It can pretty much happen to anyone who has not mastered the basics of a pushup. These are the specifics on how you should do a push up correctly. It is the only way you are guaranteed to reap the benefits associated with doing pushups every day. So, before we discuss these benefits, let us take a look at how you are expected to do a push up correctly (9):
- Start in a high plank position with your arms stretched and pressed on the floor. Keep your palms flat and directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your feet either together or at least 12 inches apart. It would help if you were resting on the balls of your feet.
- Keep your back straight and make sure that your body weight is evenly distributed.
- Look down and now start to slowly lower your body towards the ground. Go as low as you can or until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. You should only rest on the floor if you need to rest. If this is not the case, rest a few inches above the ground and then push back to the high plank position. You will have completed one rep. Try to take at least two seconds to lower and one second to lift your body to the starting position.
- Repeat to complete your reps and sets.
Remember that you can always modify this exercise as needed to suit your fitness goals and levels. All you have to do is adjust the speed you perform this exercise, your body’s angle, and hand placement (9).
It leads us to the different variations of the pushup. They are a couple, including the wall pushup, modified, clap, narrow, wide, backward, forward, pike, and elevated pushup. Talk to your doctor and fitness coach before you start doing any of these variations.
The Health Benefits Of Pushups Every Day
There are a lot of health benefits that are associated with this old-school exercise. Take a look at some of the most common pushup benefits:
Increased Muscle Toning And Strength
As we have determined earlier, there are different variations of pushups you can choose to do. Each variation activates your muscles in different ways but ends up toning them and increasing your muscle strength. Take a look at the muscles activated and toned by each pushup variation:
The Standard Pushup (SP)
The SP variation refers to the regular or classic pushup. When doing it, your hands must be shoulder-width apart and directly aligned with your shoulders. You should maintain your trunk, upper body, and legs aligned and rigid throughout the movement.
The primary movers when doing the basic pushup are the chest and triceps (2). However, if you do a perfect SP, you also work the muscles between your shoulders and toes. It means that the exercise will tone your core muscles, trunk, abs, legs, and hips (2).
The Wide Pushup
When doing this exercise, the distance between your hands must be twice that maintained when doing the SP. It greatly challenges your upper body, mainly your chest, shoulders, and upper arms. It is the variation to choose if you want to build core strength or tone these specific areas.
The Narrow Pushup (NP)
Like with the other different pushup variations, this one, too, is slightly different. When doing the NP, your hands must be directly below the center of your sternum or breastbone (11). The thumb and forefinger of each hand must also be touching each other.
If you master the correct technique of the NP, the exercise significantly activates your triceps and pecs (11). These variations are excellent recommendations for anyone trying to increase their pecs and triceps’ size, tone, and strength.
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The Forward Push Up (FP)
It would help if you kept your hands shoulder-width apart but 20 cm in front of your shoulders (11). The exercise targets your back and abdominal muscles and is best suited to tone these two areas.
The Backward Pushup (BP)
When doing this exercise, make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart and 20 cm behind your shoulders. The above pushup variation activates the most significant muscle groups compared to the others (11). In light of this, it is deemed the most beneficial pushup for improving upper body strength and condition (11).
How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle Using Push Ups?
The common question most people ask after they start doing pushups every day is how long it will take them to build muscle. It is not surprising that most people want immediate or fast results. However, this is not always the case.
There is no accurate or standard timeline denoting how long it should take you to build muscle. Muscle growth and response are dependent on several factors, which might explain the different growth rates in other individuals. These include:
Individuals in different age groups tend to build muscle at different rates when doing push ups. Most of those below 40 will build muscle mass fast compared to those above this age. It all comes down to age.
According to Mayo Clinic, individuals after 40 tend to lose skeletal muscle mass. It is because of aging (sarcopenia) and diseases such as cachexia that impair muscle performance (7). It means that people above 40 may take longer to build muscle strength using pushups than those below this age limit.
If you have more body fat, it will take you longer to shed it and increase lean muscle mass (8). You will have to do more pushups every day to burn extra calories to lose body fat and build muscle mass.
Your hormones are also responsible for how long it takes you to build muscle when doing pushups every day. One hormone that influences muscle growth is the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). According to WebMD, HGH regulates body fluids, body composition, bone and muscle growth, heart function, fat and sugar metabolism (6).
Although the pituitary gland produces this hormone, it is also synthetically produced from different prescription drugs (6). Although not FDA-approved, HGH is used alongside other performance-enhancing drugs for muscle growth and enhanced athletic performance (6).
Please avoid using the hormone to trigger muscle growth as it has fatal side effects. According to WebMD, it can result in the following (6):
- High cholesterol levels
- Edema or swelling caused by fluid retention in the body tissues
- Nerve, joint, or muscle pain
- Numbness or tingling of the skin
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Increased risk of diabetes and growth of cancerous tumors
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Improved heart health also ranks among the benefits of doing pushups every day. When you are doing a pushup, various large muscle groups are involved in helping alternately lift and lower your body weight. When this happens, your heart rate tends to increase.
Increased heart rate during an exercise program is associated with strengthened heart muscle (12). As a result, your heart can pump oxygenated blood efficiently to your lungs and throughout the body.
Doing push ups also helps widen your capillaries. These are the blood vessels responsible for blood supply from your arteries to your body organ and tissues. In a nutshell, when your heart rate increases when doing push ups, your body benefits in the following ways (12):
- Reduced blood pressure
- Regulated insulin and blood sugar levels
- Reduced cancer and heart disease risk
- Lower body weight or maintenance of a healthy weight
Uncontrolled high blood pressure thickens your arteries and narrows the vessels responsible for blood flow (4). It is one of the significant risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, high cholesterol levels increase the risk of plaque formation and atherosclerosis (4). This may also result in various heart diseases. Since doing push ups helps reduce high cholesterol levels and uncontrolled high blood pressure, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Increased Joint Support
Doing pushups every day may also increase joint support. These exercises are particularly effective in strengthening the muscles around your shoulder joints. It would help if you exercised these joints as they are responsible for keeping your upper arm bone in the shoulder socket (11).
Nonetheless, it does not mean killing yourself with hundreds of pushups every day. It would help if you did these exercises in moderation. Start by doing a couple a day and then gradually increase your reps. It will help you slowly build strength in these muscles as well as prevent overworking them. Remember that overworking them can result in tendon and muscle injuries (11).
Improved Balance, Flexibility, And Posture
Doing pushups every day can also improve your flexibility. You get to stretch your back muscles when lowering your body to the floor. Similarly, you stretch your bicep muscles when you are lifting your body weight. These movements help improve your flexibility (10).
As for posture, push ups help correct poor posture, especially in individuals who spend most of their time sitting. The exercise activates and strengthens your core muscles, helping you attain a better posture (10).
Improved balance also ranks among the benefits of doing 100 pushups every day. Due to the control you obtain from doing this exercise daily, you get to work on your balance.
Promotes Burning Of Calories
You might have noticed that pushups are among the most recommended workouts in various weight loss workout plans. As you might have guessed, you must think about burning more calories than you are consuming if you want to shed pounds (5).
Doing pushups can also help you burn more calories, making you lose weight faster and safely. Since it uses a lot of energy and works multiple muscles in such a short duration, it makes you burn more calories. The more pushups you do, the more calories you will burn.
However, pay attention to the correct form of a pushup. If you do this exercise in the wrong form, you will injure yourself instead of burning calories. Again, work yourself up the ladder instead of doing so many pushups in the bid of burning more calories. For instance, you can start by doing 50 pushups every day for one week and progress to 100 pushups daily in the second week.
Has Bone-Building Benefits
One of the many benefits of pushups every day for females is increased bone-building effects. WebMD acknowledges that women have an added benefit when they do pushups as they get to strengthen and build their bones (2).
According to the site, a pushup can also be considered a resistance exercise. It means that it is as effective as any other strength training or weight lifting exercise program (2). Doing a pushup can, therefore, strengthen your muscles and make you reap bone-building benefits.
Improved Biomechanics Of Aging
Besides increasing muscle mass and strength, doing pushups every day can also improve significant biomechanics associated with aging. For instance, you are least likely going to injure yourself when you fall. It is because the pushup motion imitates your natural reaction when falling. You tend to extend your arms, wrists, and hands to absorb the impact (13).
Similarly, experts state that pushups can teach better muscle memory (13). It means that you will react quickly and protect yourself if you stumble. These findings concur with Medline Plus’s conclusions, which acknowledge that doing pushups every day can help prevent falls (3).
According to the site, pushups reduce your risk of falling or tripping because it does the following (3):
- It increases the strength of your muscles and makes them more flexible
- Increases the duration you are active
- Improves your balance
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Potential Risks Of Doing Pushups Every Day
Although there are numerous benefits of doing push ups daily, this daily act also raises various health concerns. You have to be aware of these risks before doing these exercises to reduce their impact. Below are some of the health risks associated with doing pushups every day:
You will most likely injure yourself if your focus is on doing 100 pushups every day instead of doing the exercise correctly. It is because your aim is to complete the sets and not to maintain the correct technique. It is rather you do few pushups, but in the proper form. The best strategy is to small with small reps and then increase them over time (1).
As we mentioned earlier, some pushup variations activate your lower back muscles. These include the backward and forward pushups. If they are done incorrectly, they may result in back pain or discomfort (11).
Such pushup variations may, therefore, not be ideal for individuals with existing back conditions. They may also not be suitable for beginners who are yet to master how to correctly perform the standard pushup. Remember to talk to your physician before incorporating these exercises into your routine if you are a beginner or have any back condition.
Reaching A Fitness Plateau
If you constantly do pushups every day, you might notice that they over time become less challenging. It shows that you have reached a fitness plateau as your muscles are no longer getting challenged or developing from the routine. Talk to your instructor, who might incorporate other exercises or variations to help you fight this plateau.
The Bottom Line
There are numerous benefits of doing pushups every day. They include increased muscle toning and strength, burning calories, bone-building effects, and improved cardiovascular health, flexibility, balance, posture, and biomechanics of aging.
To achieve these benefits, you have to make sure you do pushups in the correct method. It will help you avoid associated health risks, including injuries, back pains, and reaching a fitness plateau. Remember to talk to a healthcare provider before you start doing these exercises daily. Similarly, talk to your instructor to determine the best pushup variation to be doing every day.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Barriers to fitness: Overcoming common challenges (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Doing the Perfect Push-up (2009, webmd.com)
- Exercises to help prevent falls (2020, medlineplus.gov)
- Heart disease (2021, mayoclinic.org)
- How many calories should I eat a day? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH) (2019, webmd.com)
- Slowing or reversing muscle loss (2021, mayoclinic.org)
- Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- The rise of push-ups: A classic exercise that can help you get stronger (2019, health.harvard.edu)
- What Are Push-Ups For? (2021, medicinenet.com)
- What happens if you do pushups every day? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Which muscles do pushups work? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why push-ups help beat aging (2016, health.harvard.edu)