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Perhaps one of the easiest exercise movements, the standard push up activates nearly every muscle in your body, which yields far more than toned muscles and increased endurance.
If you’re not convinced about adopting a push up routine into your exercise program, or you simply wish to understand the power of this simple exercise, continue reading to uncover the real benefits of doing push ups.
What Are Push Ups Good For?
As you will see throughout this article, push ups are great for various things, including building muscle and strengthening the upper body. These exercises target the pectoralis major (chest) muscles, triceps, and shoulders.
There isn’t a limit to how many push ups you should do in a day; however, the average person can usually perform 50 to 100 push ups daily to help maintain a good upper body.
Push ups provide both concentric and eccentric strength, making them more effective than planks for some. You will quickly find that the benefits of doing regular push ups will far outweigh the benefits to be had when doing standard planks.
Benefits of Push Ups Every Day
There are many benefits of push ups every day, which we will go over in more detail below. The push up is often considered a staple in any effective workout routine. Daily push ups can help you significantly boost your fitness level without needing expensive gym equipment or a paid gym membership.
Additionally, push ups every day allow you to strengthen multiple muscles at once, including chest muscles, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and upper back muscles.
However, you also need to remember to maintain proper form throughout each push up movement, so you can keep your core and other muscles engaged during your workout.
Related: How to Get Motivated to Work Out
1. Increase Functional Strength via Full Body Activation
As you lower your body to the floor and the familiar “burn” begins to encompass your muscles, the last thing you’re thinking about is the number of muscles you use. However, this is one of the top benefits of push ups. As you engage in this exercise, literally every major muscle in your body is called upon to execute the movement.
Major muscle groups, such as your biceps, core muscles, triceps, anterior deltoids, and lower body muscles, are activated to support your body while stabilizing your movements.
Classified a compound exercise – meaning multiple muscle groups are called upon – you train the most important muscles throughout your body for strength gain. Have you ever wondered why a standard bench press is so easy compared to a standard push up? This is why.
2. Muscle Stretching for Health and Vitality
One of the most underrated benefits of doing push ups is the stretch it provides to your biceps and back muscles. As you lower yourself to the floor, your back muscles are effectively stretched, and as you push yourself to the starting position, your biceps obtain a full stretch. This not only improves your flexibility, which helps prevent injuries, but a well-stretched muscle has a solid and attractive appearance.
3. Enhance Your Cardiovascular System
As stated earlier, push-ups are classified as a compound exercise as it calls upon multiple muscle groups and can benefit your cardiovascular health. When simultaneously engaging large muscle groups, your heart must work harder to deliver oxygen-rich blood to muscle tissue.
Ultimately, this activity results in effective cardiovascular exercise, which supports heart health and promotes the reduction of stored body fat.
4. Increase Whole Body Muscle Definition – HGH Promotion
Throughout the movements of a push up, you recruit a wide array of primary and stabilizing muscles. The more muscle mass utilized in a strength training exercise, the greater the production and release of a specialized hormone known as HGH, or human growth hormone.
As a young man or woman, your body pumps out large concentrations of this specialized hormone to support the natural growth of your entire body. However, as you age, the natural release of HGH declines, making building muscle challenging for older adults.
By calling upon such a wide array of muscles, the production of HGH is triggered, ultimately resulting in muscle hypertrophy – or muscle growth. To maximize push up benefits, you must incorporate this exercise into your regular strength training program.
5. Protect Your Shoulders from Injury
One of the most debilitating and common injuries for older individuals is a rotator cuff injury. While the severity of this injury is based upon a host of unique circumstances, protecting this delicate part of your body must become a priority.
The standard push up is among the most effective ways to safeguard your shoulder joints from injury, especially in older adults. Because push ups call upon stabilizing muscles, which surround the rotator cuff joint, this area of the body is strengthened and conditioned for dynamic movements.
By supporting the strength and health of primary and secondary shoulder muscles, the likelihood of debilitating injuries significantly lowers.
6. Improve Your Posture
Whether you sit at a computer all day or simply ignore your mother’s or teachers’ nagging recommendations, improper posture can destroy your health and comfort as you age. One of the most common reasons for lack of proper posture is weak core muscles.
To properly hold your shoulders and back, your entire core must be strong enough to support its vertical positions. When push ups are properly executed, the muscles responsible for supporting posture are strengthened and fine-tuned.
Moreover, as you regularly engage in push ups, your body will naturally lean toward proper posture. This is one of the most influential passive benefits of push ups.
7. Prevent Lower Back Injuries
There are few injuries as debilitating as a lower back injury. This essential part of your body supports practically every movement, so if it’s damaged or injured, even the simplest of tasks can become excruciatingly painful.
As mentioned earlier, push ups call upon your entire torso to stabilize its movements. By doing so, you strengthen this vulnerable part of the body.
By developing strength gain in this specific portion of your body, you cultivate muscles responsible for reducing lower back pressure, which is imperative to prevent and treat lower back injuries.
8. Save Time While Cultivating a Strong Body
When surveys are conducted to determine why an individual does not exercise more, the most common answer is a lack of time. We live increasingly busy lives, and while exercising is essential for a healthy body, it’s most commonly the first activity eliminated from a daily list of chores.
Although you may not have time for a traditional strength training or cardiovascular workout, you can achieve a full body workout with push ups if you have five minutes. Want to add variation to this swift and potent exercise movement?
Delve into the many different hand and foot placements to target muscles from different angles, supporting rapid strength and size development.
9. No Cost for a Full Body Workout
Although you may want to join a world-class gym, their monthly dues may not fit your tight budget. Thankfully, you don’t need an expensive gym membership or any equipment to obtain an effective and thorough full body workout.
By engaging in push up exercises, you effectively fatigue major and minor muscle groups, which provide the same benefits as a traditional full body exercise performed at the gym on expensive and cumbersome equipment.
10. Increase Testosterone and Reduce Osteoporosis Chances
As men and women age, the concentration of various hormones begins to dwindle. For men, the most prominent loss is the reduction of circulating testosterone.
While preliminary evidence requires further investigation, several studies suggest that simple movements within a standard push up promote testosterone production, which is essential for a healthy body in both men and women.
Moreover, weight-bearing exercises, such as the standard push up, support stronger, dense bones. This increase in bone density may ward off debilitating skeletal system disorders, such as osteoporosis.
Push Up Workouts
Ready to introduce push ups to your regular workout routine? Here are a couple of push up focused workouts you can easily do right at home.
1. “Pick a Number”
This push up workout is as easy as they get. All you have to do is pick a number and then do as many push up sets as you can to reach that number, resting for about thirty seconds between each set you do.
So, if you choose the number 150, you should do as many sets as it takes to reach your number. After this, you can increase the number for more of a challenge or decrease the number to play around with how many sets it takes. It is a classic push up workout that doesn’t require any additional equipment or time and can easily be done at home for as long as you want the workout to continue.
2. Handstand Push-Up
A handstand push up is effective for core strength as well as back and shoulder strength. These push ups also work out pectoral muscles and triceps. It is a bodyweight exercise, making it more challenging than other push up variations.
Position yourself into a handstand and use a wall to help you maintain balance. This also lets you focus on holding your position during the handstand push up. Your hands should be 6-12 inches from the wall and a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
Palms should be facing forward, turned out 5 to 10 degrees. Once you have proper form and are in the handstand position, lower yourself until the top of your head touches the floor, keeping your elbows in a 45-degree angled position. Once your head touches the floor, press up while remaining tight until your elbows are again fully extended.
3. Single Leg Push-Up
Instead of a standard push up, you will hold one leg out throughout these single leg push ups. This is a great workout for the glutes, abs, and upper body. Start in a regular push up or starting position, and raise one of your legs, keeping in line with your glutes. Do not arch your back.
Once your glutes and core are engaged, lower yourself up and down as you would with a regular push up. Do not drop the leg and repeat the rep with the other leg raised.
4. Rotational Push-Up
Like a side plank, a rotational push up will work out your obliques and arms. To do this push up exercise, complete a standard push up. At the top of the push up, you will shift your weight to just one hand and twist yourself open.
Shift to the side of your feet. Now, reach for the sky while engaging your core and maintaining a straight line. When done, lower your arm, returning to the traditional push up position. Alternate sides for each rep.
5. Diamond Push Ups
A diamond push up is ideal for someone looking to gain triceps strength through calisthenic movements. Get down on all fours, keeping your hands together under the chest. Your index fingers and thumbs should be touching, forming a diamond shape.
Extend the arms to elevate the body and form a straight line from your head to your feet. Lower your chest to your hands without letting your elbows flare or bend out. Stop lowering yourself right before your chest touches the floor. Push yourself back up to your starting position.
As you can see, you will find many benefits and variations with push up workouts. From improving cardiovascular health to getting a complete chest workout or increasing muscle strength and upper body muscle, push ups are a good body workout you can do right at home without a costly gym membership or any specialized equipment.
Whether you’re doing one of these push up workouts or hitting the bench at the gym, also see our list of the 10 Best Shoes For Weightlifting and keep those feet in place while you do your reps.