Pushups are a staple fitness move in almost all workouts, be it strength training, CrossFit, or even yoga. And the reason is convincing enough for you to drop and give us 10 right away!
Pushups, out of all the different types of exercises, target multiple muscle groups by using your own body's weight as resistance. The effects of doing pushups every day include numerous health benefits with very few serious risks.
Robert S. Herbst, a personal trainer and former world champion powerlifter says, "Pushups will improve your health by building muscle, raising your metabolism to burn fat, and providing a cardiovascular benefit. They enable you to get a full-body workout with no equipment." The pushup is one exercise that can work your entire upper body from shoulders to abdominals. (And you thought it's only for the chest!)
What Muscles Do Pushups Work?
The standard pushup targets the following muscles:
- Chest or pectorals
- Shoulders or deltoids
- Lats or back called the latissimus dorsi
- 'Wing' muscle group that lies under your armpit, or the serratus anterior
Benefits of Pushups
There are many health and fitness benefits of doing pushups every day. Let's check them out in detail:
It Gives You a Full Body Workout
The pushup is a compound exercise, meaning, it utilizes different muscle groups for execution which makes it a fantastic addition to your daily workout to build muscle strength quickly. Performing even 10 to15 pushups will make you feel the burn in your arms, core, and back. Pushup variations like inclined pushups work your upper chest muscles more while declined pushups target your lower chest muscles more.
When it comes to the core, think of pushups as the better version of a standard plank – they make your abs work in different ways to stabilize your body.
It Helps Create Balance and Stability
To perform even a single pushup properly, the core and glutes need to be engaged at all times. This helps in moving the body steadily and firmly which is made possible by training the proprioceptive muscle fibres. Proprioceptive muscle fibres refer to the sense of limb position and movement for proper balance and motor control. When you attempt a pushup, these microscopic nerves make a constant effort to prevent your body from tipping over, hence improving your body balance and stability.
It Promotes Cardiovascular Health
One of the effects of doing pushups every day is improvement in your heart health. Doing enough pushups can make your heart pump faster, doubling as a cardio workout, as many different large muscle groups are involved in helping you lift and drop your body weight continuously.
A 2019 study of 1,109 adult male firefighters concluded that men who were able to perform at least 40 pushups over 30 seconds were at a lower risk of experiencing heart diseases compared to men who could do less than 10 pushups. While good heart health also depends on diet, genes, and lifestyle; the study suggests that there is definitely a negative association between pushup exercise capacity and future cardiovascular events.
It Improves Flexibility and Posture
While performing pushups, you stretch your back muscles when lowering your body on the floor and the bicep muscles when lifting the bodyweight again. These movements help improve flexibility.
Most of us are the victims of poor body posture because of sitting for long hours. Pushups when done with proper form, can help improve body posture by activating your core muscles and two mid-back muscles called the scapula and rhomboids.
It Doesn't Require a Dedicated Space or Equipment
You can literally do pushups anytime, anywhere, making it the most versatile form of exercise. You can push yourself towards fitness without buying a gym membership or equipment unless you are looking to upgrade your body to a chiselled level of perfection. In that case, you can complement your regular pushups with kettlebells or a Homekit Pro which includes convertible dumbbells, kettlebells, and plates.
For the fitness freaks looking to enhance their pushup workouts and achieve fantastic results in the comfort of their home, setting up a home gym might be a great idea!
It Builds Muscle and Bone Strength
Pushups are effective at building upper body strength by working the triceps, shoulders and chest. If done with proper form, they can also strengthen the lower back and abdominal muscles. The advanced clap pushups, for example, involves an explosive motion that can give your chest a top-notch workout
Robust muscles, especially around the joints help in preventing injuries due to a workout. Strong shoulders, for instance, can prevent age-related damages like rotator cuff injury.
Adding weights can intensify your pushups and enhance the production of bone cells and mass which can drastically increase bone strength. Strong bones are imperative to prevent any breakages as well as age-related degenerative diseases like osteoporosis.
That doesn't mean that you kill yourself with a hundred pushups in one go. Remember to exercise in moderation and gradually increase the reps or intensity.
It Promotes HGH Production
HGH, aka human growth hormone, is responsible for ensuring a naturally healthy body and cell growth. As we age, the HGH production in our body takes a hit which prevents the formation of lean muscle mass.
One of the benefits of doing pushups every day includes muscle hypertrophy by deploying several muscles to perform the exercise which triggers the HGH production, hence fuelling their growth and development.
How To Approach a Pushup?
The good thing about pushups is that they come with several modifications to suit your needs and current fitness level.
While a beginner can start with performing pushups on the knees or inclined pushups using a bench or a wall, an advanced level involves going for diamond, declined, or clap pushups.Here are a few ways you can upgrade your pushups if you think you are ready to take it to the next level
Make a diamond by touching your thumbs and index fingers and keeping your hand closer under your chest.
Place your feet on an elevated surface like a workout bench while keeping your hands on the floor.
Push yourself off the floor and clap your hands before coming back down.
How Fast Should You Do Your Pushups?
You can get the most out of your pushups if you perform them in a slow, deliberate manner. Doing so will help maintain full control as you move your body up and down.
As a rough guide, take a couple of seconds to complete each phase of the pushup.
Is it Good to Do Pushups Every Day?
Well, it depends on the fitness level of a person. If you are new to pushups, go for the easier modifications and lesser reps (5 to 10) rather than performing many reps in a bad form. For starters, you can incorporate pushups in your workout three to four times a week so that you get time to recover in between.
Once you find yourself getting used to the beginner level, you can perform two to three sets of 10 pushups each with a short rest between the sets. Slowly, consider challenging yourself by increasing reps, adding weights or going for harder pushup modifications.
The effects of doing pushups every day are phenomenal – apart from burning calories, they build upper body and core strength, improve stability, boost endurance, and are as versatile as they can get. Remember to hold off for a few days if you feel any discomfort or pain which is beyond the usual post-workout muscle soreness. This will give your body time to recover.