Push ups are great workouts to help you strengthen your core and upper body. They not only work your chest, shoulders, and triceps but also, if you do them correctly, they build your core stability. Practicing push ups regularly offers many health benefits. You might be wondering, is doing push-ups every day overtraining?
Push-ups have been the classic bread-and-butter exercise and the symbol of optimal fitness, according to Dr. Edward Phillips of Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. You can do push ups anywhere and at any time and only need a few minutes. How many push ups you can do can measure your strength and is an easy tool to help you improve your health.
As you can see, push ups have enormous benefits; however, to get the full-body benefits of pushups, you must first learn how to do them properly. Read on to find out how doing push-ups daily can affect your health and how to do them properly.
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What Does it Mean to be Overtraining?
Most people think that only exercising causes overtraining. There are also other factors that contribute to overtraining, such as physiological, emotional, environmental, and chemical stressors.
All of these stressors can cause exhaustion and overstimulate your central nervous system, leading to reduced recovery and a negative hormonal response.
When you are stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol in the body can lead to systemic inflammation and depleted testosterone, according to Ohio State University.
Benefits of Doing Push-Ups Everyday
Push-ups are one of my favorite work out; I experienced tremendous benefits doing push ups. Here are a few benefits of doing push-ups every day
Daily Push-Ups May Improve cardiovascular health
Males who could perform at least 40 push-ups over 30 seconds had a significantly lower risk of heart failure, heart attack, or other cardiovascular issues over the next ten years than men who could complete less than 10, report a 2019 study of male firefighters.
Note that this research focused solely on men firefighters and that the results don’t suggest that doing push-ups will be your surefire ticket to good health. However, the results do indicate that your pushup abilities might predict your risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
Performing Push Ups May Improves Posture
Nowadays, most of us spend our days sitting all day with hunched shoulders and a rounded spine. Pushups, if performed correctly, can help prevent this by teaching our bodies good positioning and helping us reverse the effects of sitting all day.
Good posture comes from quality core strength and stability, and pushups can help with that.
Push-Ups Support Strong Bones
Push ups have other additional benefits, including building muscles and improving cardiovascular health.
Since pus hups are a weight-bearing move, they can promote good bone health—weight-bearing exercises can help develop strong bones and slow bone loss, reported the National Institutes Of Health.
Push Ups Increase Muscle Tone and Strength
There are many variations of pushups, and each type stimulates the muscles differently.
A small 2015 study, including eight participants, observed the following pushup variations and analyzed their effects on different muscle groups:
- Standard pushup where your hands are shoulder-width apart and straight in line with the shoulders. The upper body or trunk lines up with the legs, and the body remains rigid.
- Wide pushup where the distance between your hands is twice that of in the standard pushup.
- Narrow push-up where your hands are below the breastbone center, or sternum, with your thumb and forefinger of each hand touching
- Forward pushup where your hands are shoulder-width apart, only 20 cm (7.88 inches) in front of the shoulders.
- Backward pushup where your hands are shoulder-width apart, only 20 cm (7.88 inches) behind the shoulders.
The groups of researchers observed the following:
- Narrow push up resulted in the most significant activation of the triceps and pectoralis major muscles, or pecs.
- Forward pushups and backward push-ups resulted in the most significant activation of the abdominal and back muscles.
- Backward push up stimulated the largest number of muscle groups overall.
Backward push up might be the most beneficial pushup variation for improving upper body condition and strength, concluded the study.
Choose Narrow push-ups if you are trying to develop your triceps and pecs’ size, tone, or strength.
Disadvantages of Push Ups
Like most workouts, pushups may increase the risk of certain injuries if performed improperly. However, the benefits of workouts tend to surpass the risks.
Most workout injuries result from practicing an improper technique. You should talk to a fitness instructor if you are unsure about performing the different variations of pushups.
Push Ups May Lead to Elbow Injury
A 2011 study issued in the Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering examined the effect of push-up speed on elbow joints. The researchers tested three different push-ups varying in speeds: slow, medium, and fast.
The research observed that faster pushup speeds resulted in greater forces on the elbow joints, ligaments, and other surrounding tissues. They concluded that faster pushups might increase the risk of injury to these structures.
The research also revealed that slower pushup speeds resulted in greater muscle activation.
Overall, these findings suggest that doing slower push-ups is safer and more likely to improve muscle development.
Push-ups May Cause Wrist Pain
Some people feel pain in their wrists when doing weight-bearing exercises such as pushups. Most pain happens along the back part of the wrist when you bend the hand backward while performing push-ups.
84% of individuals feeling pain along the back of the wrist in response to weight-bearing had a physical abnormality inside the wrist, according to a 2017 study.
However, it is unclear if this abnormality resulted from repeated weight-bearing workouts. If you experience wrist pain during pushups, you should see a doctor.
Push-ups May Cause Back pain.
Some pushups, such as the backward push-up and the forward push-up, increase the lower back muscles’ activation, leading to lower back pain and discomfort.
Always talk to a doctor before adding push-ups into your fitness routine if you have existing back conditions.
Reaching a Fitness Plateau
If you repeat the same workout daily, you will notice that it becomes less challenging over time. It is called reaching a fitness plateau, which means your muscles are no longer developing.
To avoid reaching a fitness plateau, try to incorporate a wide range of workouts into your fitness routine.
Ideally, a thorough exercise routine includes the following types of workouts:
How to Do Push-Ups the Proper Way
Pushups are one of the most effective total-body moves everybody should regularly do. Simple push-ups require no equipment other than your body weight and your arms. You can do them anywhere; your body weight is the only thing you need. So how do push-ups the proper way?
- Bring yourself into a high plank pose with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. This pose will give you more stability.
- Straighten your arms and legs.
- Lower your body till your chest almost reaches the floor.
- Pause, then raise yourself by pushing the ground away from you.
- Then repeat as much as needed.
Push-up Variations for Beginners
Modified Push up
Modified push-ups are great for building your strength and toning your arms. They are also great for working your way toward standard push-ups.
Muscles Worked: Chest
How to do Modified Push up
- Begin on all fours, maintaining a neutral neck.
- Spread your hands out till your torso is upright behind you, and your body forms a straight line between the knees and the shoulders. Make sure your arms are straight.
- Maintaining your elbows pointed slightly back, turning at your elbows, and lowering your entire body down till your upper arms are lateral to the ground.
- After you reach parallel, push up through your palms, stretching your elbows and returning to the original form in step 2.
- Try to repeat as many as possible or wish.
Wide Push up
If you are a beginner and aim to build your chest, wide-grip pushups will be the best for you.
Your hands are further apart with wide pushups than a regular pushup, placing more emphasis on your chest and shoulders.
Muscles Worked: shoulders and chest.
How to do Modified Push up:
- Begin in a plank position but keep your hands out wider than your shoulders.
- Start to lower your body by flexing your elbows, maintaining your core tight and back flat until your chest touches the floor.
- Extend your elbows immediately and push your body back up.
- Try to repeat for as many reps as possible.
Narrow Push up
Narrow push-ups put more tension on your triceps.
Narrow push-ups produced more significant pectoralis major and triceps activation than the shoulder-width standard pushup and the wide pushup, a study found.
Muscles worked: triceps and chest.
How to Do Narrow Push up:
- Start by placing your hands directly beneath your chest
- Start lowering your body by flexing your elbows, maintaining your core tight and back flat, until your chest touches the floor.
- Stretch your elbows and push your body back up, exercising your triceps and chest.
- Aim to repeat for as many reps as possible.
Decline pushup works on your upper chest and shoulders.
Feet-elevated pushups generate more force than standard pushups, modified push-ups, and hand-elevated push-ups.
Whenever you feel standard push-ups are getting easy or you are reaching a plateau, try to move your feet off the ground to make it challenging.
Muscles worked: shoulders and chest.
How to Do Decline Push up:
- Begin with your hands stacked under your shoulders.
- Start lowering your body by flexing your elbows, maintaining your core tight and back flat until your chest touches the floor. Keep your elbows aimed slightly back.
- Immediately stretch your elbows and push your body back up.
- Aim to repeat for as many reps as possible.
Advanced Push-up Variations
Diamond pushup, also called triangle push-up, is a variation of regular pushups where your hands form a diamond.
The goal of this workout is to put a lot more focus on your triceps. It makes a great triceps exercise for your arms for size and strength.
Muscles Worked: arms and chest.
How to Do Diamond Push-Ups:
- Assume the starting pushup position.
- Move your hands together under your chest so that your fingers and thumbs touch, forming a diamond shape.
- Perform a proper pushup and repeat.
Plyometric Push up
A plyometric pushup is a more advanced type of exercise, and you should only try it if you feel confident in your upper body strength.
Muscles worked: chest.
How to Do Plyometric Push up:
- Begin with your pelvis tucked in, your neck neutral, and your palms directly beneath your shoulders.
- Start to lower your body by flexing your elbows, maintaining them pointed slightly back, with your core tight and back flat, until your chest touches the floor.
- Extend your elbows immediately and push your body back up; however, instead of stopping at the top, use force to propel your upper body up through your hands so your palms come off the floor.
- Land gently back on the floor and lower your chest again for another rep. You can add a clap at the top for added difficulty.
- Aim to repeat for as many reps as possible.
Clap push up is also an advanced variation of standard push up.
Muscle Worked: Chest
How to do Clap Push-Up:
- Assume the starting push-up position.
- Descend into the push-up’s bottom pose by flexing at the elbows till they reach a 90-degree position.
- Push upwards as effectively as possible through your hands to propel yourself upwards off the floor.
- Return your hands together to complete a clap while in the air.
- Repeat for as many as possible
Scorpion push up is another advanced variation of push-ups.
Muscles Worked: core strength.
How To Do Scorpion Push-Up:
- Assume a push up position, aligning hands beneath shoulders and feet straight behind you and rising the toes up.
- Breathe in and lower your body toward the ground until your chest is just above the ground. As you do so, rotate your body to the left, bending your right knee and bringing your leg up and over toward the left side. Make sure not to rest on the floor. Pause momentarily at the bottom pose, breathe out, and push up through your arms, bringing your leg back to the original position.
- Repeat by doing the push-up on the opposite side.
Muscles Worked: core strength and coordination
How to Do One-Armed Push-Up:
- Get into a push-up position.
- Spread your legs wider apart than you normally would, holding your core straight.
- Place your left arm behind your back and bring your right arm in closer to your chest.
- Do a proper push-up using your right arm.
When done with proper form, push-ups are an excellent way to strengthen your upper body, improve cardiovascular health, and stabilize your core. They can also provide you with a solid cardio challenge, promote good posture, increase muscle tone and strength, and support healthy bone density.
Performing pushups every day will help you gain upper body strength. However, remember that you will need to combine variations of pushups to continue to challenge yourself and build muscles. The variety will help you get fitter overall.