The Power Of The Push-Up

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Push-ups: love ‘em or hate ‘em? Which one? Very few fitness lovers find themselves somewhere in the middle. However there are two indisputable facts about push-ups:

  1. Push-ups are hard.
  2. Push-ups work.

Due to these two undeniable facts, you are going to find push-ups in almost every fitness class you attend, every workout you read in a magazine, and every DVD you pop in at home. Push-ups are a standard, go-to move that can either humble you or give you a sense of great power.

Push-ups are also one of the best ways to track your fitness progress. If a full push-up is impossible, you drop to your knees for as many as you can and, hopefully, after a few more practices on your knees you end up on your toes for the first time. First one, then two, and then suddenly 10!

Why The Push-Up?

For all you haters, I’m sure you’re wondering why you can’t just substitute the chest press or bicep curls instead. Of course you can, but you’ll be missing out on some major benefits. Look at what push-ups have to offer:


They can be done any time, anywhere with no equipment.

Multi-Muscle Strength

The push-up goes way beyond your arms. If done properly, the push-up engages your shoulders, bicep, triceps, chest, back, and core.

Bodyweight Check

One of the reasons people struggle with push-ups is their inability to lift their own bodyweight. The battle between gravity and your own mass is definitely a force to be reckoned with, but a push-up is a crucial skill to have.

Think about real world, potentially life-saving situations when you would need to be able push yourself off the ground or move the weight of your body. Moral of the story: push-ups are important.

How To Do A Proper Push-Up

Now that you understand the importance of the push-up, are you sure you know how to do one properly?

First tip, do not go to a local gym and watch other people in order to learn. Push-ups are one of the more poorly executed moves around. A bad push-up not only puts you at risk for a shoulder injury, but it’s a giant waste of time.  So let’s break down what a real push-up should look like.

  • Begin in a plank position, hands under shoulders, body in a straight line, and legs either straight and long behind you or knees on the ground. Either way, tighten your abs, glutes, and quads.
  • Keep your eyes looking in front of your finger tips and bend your elbows as you slowly lower your chest until your shirt touches the floor.
  • Squeeze entire body and exhale as you press your arms straight so your body comes back up to start position.

How Many Push-Ups Should I Do?

Once you have a perfect push-up down, now how many should you do? Of course, the best answer is one at a time until you can’t do any more. If you can’t do one, then start on your knees and work your way up to that first good push-up on your toes.

The only way to improve is to keep practicing. But maybe your real question is how many push-ups you should be able to do? In general, the average 30-year-old woman should be able to do between 12-24 and the average 30-year-old man should be able to do between 24-34 push-ups. That’s right my friends. We are talking about full “on-your toes” push-ups. To see how many you should be able to do, check out this age-based chart.

So whatever your opinion on push-ups, maybe it’s time to embrace the push-up. After all, it’s one of the best strength moves around.

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