Push-ups are a very efficient and effective exercise that is often incorporated into strength workouts, bootcamps, and high-intensity circuit training. But it is not necessarily necessary to combine push-ups with other exercises to reap all the benefits. By doing push-ups every day, you’ll likely see changes in your fitness, body composition, and maybe even your overall health.
The nine benefits of doing push-ups every day
There’s a reason push-ups are one of the most common bodyweight exercises—few other moves offer as many benefits.
1.Strengthens the upper body
Push-ups help build muscle and optimize strengthening throughout your upper body. They target the muscles of the chest (pectoralis major), arms (especially the triceps) and shoulders (especially the stabilizing muscles of the scapula).
2.Contributes to abdominal stability
The muscles located at the level of the abdominal belt are also solicited when you do push-ups. The rectus abdominis and obliques help you stabilize your body, especially for variations that generate instability (like push-ups performed on a ball or a balance board).
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3.Accessible to athletes of all levels
Since this movement is relatively accessible to beginners, researchers often incorporate push-ups into their studies to identify (and test) the fitness of participants. On the other hand, there is a wide choice of variants adapted to your current physical condition. As you gain muscle strength, you can also increase the intensity of push-ups by changing to a harder version.
To do push-ups, you don’t need any special equipment, a trainer, or even membership in a gym. The only thing you really need is a little floor space.
5.Improves athletic performance
Push-ups are often incorporated into shoulder rehabilitation exercises, intended to improve proprioception (awareness of your body’s movements in space) or muscle co-activation for dynamic joint stability. Research has found that better joint stability, especially in the core area, is necessary for optimal sports performance.
6. Works multiple muscles at the same time
If you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the gym, exercises like push-ups (along with lunges, squats, and other compound movements) are very beneficial and effective because they work several large muscles at the same time.
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7.Helps healthy aging
Exercises like push-ups against a wall can help maintain or even improve your muscle strength as you age. Experts recommend older people maintain muscle strength so they can stay independent and reduce the risk of falling.
8. May Help Promote Bone Health
Resistance exercise has been shown to be effective in preserving bone mass and muscle mass, especially in postmenopausal women, who are more prone to osteoporosis. A small-scale study proved that a 10-week resistance training program helped women maintain bone mineral density in the wrist. In contrast, the authors admitted that they saw no increase in bone mineral density during their study.
9. May Help Boost Metabolism
If your goal is to lose weight, muscle-strengthening activities (which may include daily push-ups) can help improve your metabolism. According to one study, 10 weeks of resistance training can increase your resting metabolic rate and reduce your body fat.
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Variations to diversify your exercises and strengthen your muscles
Doing the same push-ups every day can get monotonous. Do not hesitate to use these variants to start your program and stay the course.
Beginner level variants
If you still can’t do a full push-up, try one of these variations to build the strength needed to perform the traditional exercise.
- Push-ups against a wall: this is a variant of a classic push-up, performed vertically. Start by standing in front of a wall, leaving an arm’s length between you and the wall. Place your palms on the wall, a little more than shoulder width apart, at chest height. Engage your core muscles and bend your elbows so your chest is closer to the wall. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position. If this seems too easy, step back a few inches and try again. You can also perform this variant on a surface the height of a worktop, to complicate the exercise a little.
- Push-ups on the knees: this variant allows you to perform horizontal push-ups with less resistance, because you do not have to support the weight of the part of your body located below the knees. Start on your knees and move your palms forward on the mat, slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from the knees to the top of the head. Lower your chest to the ground and come back up.
intermediate level variants
Once you can perform traditional push-ups with good posture, try challenging yourself with these intermediate-level variations.
- Classic push-ups: This variation requires minimal equipment and can be performed on most flat surfaces. To do a classic push-up, get into a plank position with your palms flat on the floor and slightly wider than your shoulders. Your feet should be parallel and hip-width apart. Be careful not to arch your back. Engage your core, contract your glutes and bend your elbows to lower your chest, hips and head to the floor. Push back the ground to go up.
- Elevated foot push-ups: This variant increases the resistance to work the shoulders and chest more. To perform an elevated foot push-up, place your feet higher than the level your hips would be in a traditional push-up position. For example, many people place their feet on a weight bench and their hands on the ground. Perform the desired number of repetitions while maintaining this inclined position and without moving the bust.
- Push-ups on BOSU: This variant requires a BOSU balance ball, but you can also use an unstable surface (like a balance board) wide enough to allow a good position of the hands (a little more than a width apart shoulders). Keep your hands on this unstable surface while raising and lowering the body. The instability increases the difficulty and the effort that your abdominal belt and your shoulders must provide.
Advanced level variants
These advanced level movements will allow you to add weight or increase the intensity of your push-ups.
- Jump push-ups: This involves adding momentum and clapping in the middle of this variation. Start in a traditional push-up position and lower your chest to the floor. Once down, push the ground vigorously so as to take off your hands. Clap your hands once. Catch up by resting your palms on the ground, then lower your chest again to repeat the exercise.
- Push-ups with dumbbells and alternating rows: you will need two dumbbells for this variation. Start in a traditional push-up position, but with a dumbbell in each hand and placed on the ground vertically, under the chest. Perform a push-up, then a row with the right hand. Perform a new push-up followed by a row with the left hand. This variation engages the muscles of the back (latissimus dorsi) to increase the number of muscles used.