Push-ups are not only a great physical conditioning exercise, but they also have great benefits for the body. The challenge of doing this exercise every day brings great advantages like the ones you will know below.
If bodyweight exercises are the building blocks of a successful workout program, pushups might just be the cornerstone. “The humble pushup is an extraordinarily efficient movement, giving you the ability to train your chest, arms, and shoulders (and to a lesser degree, your core, if you’re disciplined in your plank position) using only a small amount of floor space and the will to move”. You likely learned how to do pushups as a kid, long before building strength and muscle were on your radar—and you’ll keep doing them in your workouts, if you’re smart, until the last time you walk out of a gym.
So now that we’ve established that pushups are great, it’s time to acknowledge a difficult truth: “the basic pushup is also a very limited exercise. Once you’ve perfected the form, the movement isn’t particularly challenging, at least until you count working sets by the dozen (or more). There’s also quite a bit to be desired in terms of the muscle stimulus; keeping yourself in the same position will only keep targeting the same muscle groups”. There’s a reason that most people consider pushups a beginner-level exercise: Soon enough, you’ll move on to bigger and better things.
But when you’re faced with challenging circumstances—maybe you’re stuck on the road without access to workout equipment, for example, or you’re short on time—you might not have a better option than a bodyweight-only workout. When you turn to pushups then, you don’t have to be so limited in what you can do. There are other options if you know what you’re doing.
Increases overall body strength
Push-ups have been around forever. Considering it requires no equipment and develops total body strength, it’s no wonder this move has stayed with us.
“The main focus of the exercise is the muscles of your chest, arms, and shoulders. But the movement also requires central force. As you progress through the exercise, your torso muscles work to keep your body stable and in line”.
However, there is a limit to the amount of force you can gain with a standard pushup. Eventually, you are going to come to a standstill. Your body can only gain so much strength by doing the same movement over and over. So if you’ve only been doing pushups every day for a while without any change in reps or variations, chances are your progress has stalled.
That’s where progressions come in. By increasing your intensity of bending, variation, or total sets and reps, you can introduce a new stimulus to your muscles. These strategies will cause further damage to the muscles, leading to increased strength.
But even if you incorporate more challenging variations, doing an exercise routine every day is probably not the best idea. To increase your strength and muscle size, you must give your body time to recover.
Push-ups correct your posture
Although they are generally used to target the chest muscles, your core plays an important role in proper flexion form.
Although most people think about the torso and pecs, pushups are also great for strengthening the arms, triceps, and core. “Your abdominal muscles must be active to maintain proper shape during a push-up. Strong abs can help improve your posture over time. Your core strength plays a role in your body’s stability, balance, and posture“. It can also help reduce low back pain.
Although you may be primarily interested in improving posture to improve your appearance, the importance of posture goes far beyond aesthetics. Some studies have shown that push-ups may help adults with the spinal condition known as forward head posture (hump) not only gain a few inches while standing but also increase their lung function.
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They improve the health of your heart
Your ability to do pushups may indicate more than just upper body strength. Researchers found that adult men who could do 40 or more consecutive push-ups had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years, compared to men who could complete fewer than 10 push-ups, according to a February 2019 study published in JAMA. Network Open.
Regular physical activity, including functional bodyweight exercises like push-ups, benefits your overall heart health.
But the way you perform and incorporate this strength exercise affects cardiovascular support. Introduce them to a full-body workout with other exercises like mountaineering and squats for maximum benefits.
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The key to cardiovascular exercise is keeping your heart rate high. It would be difficult to maintain a constant push-up rate while keeping your heart rate high without your muscles fatigued very quickly.
As such, I would mix them into a full body day, where you would be alternating between upper and lower body exercises.
Push-ups prevent potential injuries
As with all repetitive exercises, overuse is always a potential risk of injury, including daily pushups. Overuse injuries to muscles or joints, such as tendonitis, usually occur due to repetitive movements.
Performing push-ups with little form or excessive intensity can cause pain and injury. Exercising for too long or increasing your reps too fast can also be a source of overuse. In other words, you don’t want to go from 5 reps to 50 in just a few days.
Usually, flexion-related injuries occur to the shoulders, also known as shoulder impingement. Punctures generally feel like a pinch in the front of the shoulder and can occur due to poor shoulder stability during exercise.
Low back pain is another problem of deflections. Typically, lower back pain occurs due to an overstressed back or a weak core force.
To avoid possible injury, alternate between upper-body and lower-body exercises each day. You’ll also want to avoid excessive reps and stop or pause when your technique starts to break down.
How to do the correct push-up technique
If you wonder how many push-ups you should do in a day, the answer depends on your physical condition and health. When you start out, keep the number of reps low or consider good technique:
- Start on a high board with your hands directly below your shoulders, and your body in a straight line from head to hips and heels.
- Bend your elbows at an angle of approximately 45 degrees from your ribs and begin to lower your body toward the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades and keeping your head and neck aligned with your spine.
- Once your chest is moving just above the ground, exhale and press down on your palms, spreading your shoulder blades and stretching your arms.
Obviously, a review of the basic push-up posture should be done. While doing push-ups, your reps only count if done correctly. That means keeping your head aligned with your spine and your feet together.
The toes should be bent and the heels should project back. Avoid sagging your back or rib cage or letting your hips stick up; Keep your elbows slightly flared out at a 45-degree angle to your torso. Maintain stability by keeping your butt and thighs engaged.
While doing the push-up, keep your core and glutes tight. Be aware of the angle in your elbow. Avoid bending your elbows 90 degrees, as this can cause shoulder pain.
Once you can confidently do a few sets of 10, you can progress and try more challenging variations. Raise your legs on a chair or couch to place your body in an incline pushup. This angle makes the movement more challenging for the upper body.
Are there risks to doing push-ups on a daily basis?
One of the risks of exercising every day is that the body will no longer be challenged after a while. That increases the risk of stagnation (when you no longer get the same benefits from training). “This happens because the muscles adapt and improve their function when they are stressed (as they are when we lift weights or do other exercises such as push-ups, for example)”. Therefore, it is important to continue challenging your muscles to improve your strength and fitness levels.
If we are going to do push-ups every day, it is also important to have the correct technique.
Doing push-ups without proper form can lead to injury. For example, we may experience pain in the lower back or shoulders if we do not do them correctly. And if they are too difficult at first, it is recommended to modify the exercise. They can be done on your knees or against a wall.
If the push-ups are too hard on the wrists or if we have a previous wrist injury, it is best to consult a physical therapist before doing the exercise. Dolphin push-ups (done on the forearms rather than the hands) or knuckle push-ups may be recommended as an alternative.
You have to start doing push-ups every day by “testing” how many you can do at once (or in a minute) with the right technique. We will slowly increase the number of exercises we do each day, or every other day, to increase strength.
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