To get more strength in your chest, arms and shoulders, look no further, push-ups are the answer. The push-up is a natural resistance exercise that uses your body weight to tone your arms and chest muscles. While many people have done push-ups at one time or another, not everyone is familiar with how effective push-ups are for increasing muscle size and strength.
According to the American Council on Exercise, a properly performed push-up exercises many muscles, including the deltoids, pectorals, triceps, rhomboids, erector spinae muscle, rotator cuff, serratus major, transverse abdominal, glutes and quadriceps.
To get the maximum benefits from push-ups, keep your hips aligned with your shoulders and heels as you raise and lower yourself to the floor. For best results, place an object about the size of your wrist under your chest and touch it each time you descend to ensure full extension of the elbow flexors.
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How many push-ups per day?
The Military Fitness Center recommends a push-up regimen that includes performing at least 200 push-ups per day. On single days, perform push-ups in as few sets as possible, such as four sets of 50 push-ups or 8 sets of 25 push-ups. On other days, divide the 200 push-ups into as many sets as you want, such as 20 sets of 10 push-ups every half hour.
For some people, we might say three sets of 10 reps are best. Others prefer to do 2 sets of 100. There are even those who don’t count and just do as many as possible.
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Perform correct push-up technique
If you’re wondering how many push-ups you should do in a day, the answer depends on your fitness and health. When you start, keep the number of reps low or consider doing good technique. They should look like this:
- Start in a high plank with hands directly under shoulders, body in a straight line from head to hips and heels.
- Bend your elbows at about a 45-degree angle from your ribs and begin to lower your body toward the floor.
- Squeezing your shoulder blades together and keeping your head and neck aligned with your spine.
- Once your chest moves just above the floor, exhale and press your palms together, spreading your shoulder blades apart and straightening your arms.
Obviously, a review of the basic push-up posture is in order. While doing push ups, your reps only count if they are done correctly. That means keeping your head in line with your spine and your feet together.
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Your toes should be bent and your heels should project backward. Avoid sagging your back or rib cage or letting your hips protrude upward; keep your elbows slightly flared outward at a 45-degree angle with your torso. Maintain stability by keeping your butt and thighs engaged.
As you perform the push-up, keep your core and glutes tight. Be aware of the angle at your elbow. Avoid bending your elbows to 90 degrees, as this can cause shoulder pain.
Once you can do a few sets of 10 with confidence, you can progress and try more challenging variations. Lift your legs up on a chair or couch to place your body in an incline bend. This angle makes the movement more challenging for your upper body.
Beginners benefit from choosing push-ups and aiming for two sets of 10 to 15. From there, work your way up to two or more push-up variations, adjusting the number of reps according to the number of exercises and sets you’re attempting.
It is not necessary to perform too many repetitions the first few weeks. It is advisable to allow the body to adapt and recover to continue to perform at its best. It is also important to make adjustments for people who have never exercised before or are overweight.
Are there risks to doing push-ups every day?
One of the risks of doing an exercise every day is that the body will no longer be challenged after a while. That increases the risk of plateauing (when you no longer get the same benefits from the workout). This happens because muscles adapt and improve their function when they are stressed (as they are when we lift weights or do other exercises like push-ups, for example). Therefore, it is important to keep challenging the muscles to improve strength and fitness level.
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If we are going to do push-ups every day, it is also important to have the right technique. Doing push-ups without proper form can lead to injury. For example, we may experience lower back or shoulder pain if we don’t 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 performing the exercise. Dolphin push-ups (done on the forearms instead of the hands) or knuckle push-ups may be recommended as an alternative.
Start doing push-ups every day by “testing” how many we can do at one time (or in one minute) with proper technique. Slowly increase the number of exercises we do each day, or every other day, to increase strength.