7 Strength Building Benefits of Push Ups
While pushups may bring back nightmares from high school PE classes, your teacher was actually doing more favors than you will likely ever know! Arguably, pushups are one of the easiest bodyweight exercises that one can perform. It may also be one of the most effective bodyweight exercises one can do to help build upper body and core strength. Pushups are one of the top calisthenic exercise that provides enough of a stimulus to build a decent amount of muscle in the affected muscle groups and can help build overall strength. No matter if you’re a newbie at lifting weights, an Olympic athlete, or somewhere in between the two extremes, pushups are one of those exercises that you can always benefit from. Senior citizens, who lose an average of about 2% of physical strength annually once they hit middle age, may also benefit from doing pushups.
Performing pushups regularly may help stave off the long-term effects of muscle loss as the average person can lose up to 50% of strength levels over the course of a lifetime.
Here’s a list of benefits you can attain by performing pushups regularly:
1. Pushups Can Be Tailored To Your Fitness Level
The beauty of pushups is the ability to adjust the difficulty level of each repetition being performed. One should never sacrifice proper form for the sake of being able to complete a pushup as it can lead to muscular imbalances or worse, injury.
Complete beginners or those who have weak upper bodies may opt to start with keeping their knees on the ground. This variation lessens the weight you have to control throughout the entirety of the movement. Eventually, you will build up enough strength to do standard pushups.
In order to build muscle and strength through the standard pushup, you must add repetitions and sets over time. (1) Furthermore, strict form is required to hit the proper muscle groups.
Clap pushups, typewriter pushups, inclined pushups, and may other advanced forms of pushups should be reserved for those who need more of a challenge. (2)
2. Pushups Are Beneficial As They Are A Compound Exercise
Many people may be surprised to find out that pushups are actually considered a compound exercise and this is due to the fact that they work a variety of muscles through one simultaneous series of movements. Compound movements are not limited to deadlifts, squats, benchpress, and overhead presses.
Compound exercises, such as pushups, produce functional strength which mimics real life movements. (3) One of the reasons why pushups can be difficult for some individuals is because the muscles that are targeted while doing pushups can be underused or underdeveloped.
Performing compound exercises such as pushups on a regular basis is a great way to build upper body muscle and a solid foundation for strength.
3. Pushups Provide A Great Cardiovascular Workout
Any exercise that sustains an elevated heart rate for a prolonged period of time can be considered as cardio. Although running is arguably the most popular form of cardio, it lacks upper body muscle stimulation. Forget about the treadmill and incorporate timed intervals of pushups for a cardiovascular workout that will give you a crazy pump and will leave you gasping for air.
When performing pushups as your chosen form of cardio, you must remember to keep the repetitions per set low to avoid too much lactic acid build up which will cause you to hit failure. Some suggest to do a maximum of 5 pushups followed by bodyweight squats every 30 seconds to help keep heart rate elevated without failing on the pushups. (4)
Pushup cardio workouts are a great way to torch body fat and add definition to your muscles.
4. Pushups Require No Special Equipment
Monthly gym membership along with purchasing exercise equipment for the home can be painfully expensive. Although gym membership and exercise equipment are investments to good health, some people just don’t have the extra cash for it. Incorporating a pushup workout routine will help keep your wallet from going empty since no extra equipment is necessary.
Additionally, all you need is a stable, flat surface and open space. Pushups can also be done on other surfaces as well to help make them more or less challenging according to one’s fitness and strength levels. This makes pushups an activity that can fit anyone’s workout program at a level that suits them and is a cheap way to stay healthy and fit.
5. Pushups Help Reduce Shoulder-Related Injuries
Common injuries that athletes and gym goers suffer from is usually shoulder related, more specifically on the rotator cuff, since it’s one of the most injury prone areas on the human body.
According to studies, the standard pushup can help strengthen the stabilizer muscles surrounding the rotator cuff. (5) It’s important to keep in mind that most upper-body dynamic movements involve the use of the shoulders and weak stabilizer muscles surrounding the rotator cuff may result in injury.
The strength and health of your stabilizer muscles should be prioritized by performing pushups on a regular basis to significantly reduce the risk for shoulder injury.
6. Pushups Improve Posture
Let’s face it, you most probably have poor posture. Nowadays, it’s rare to see someone standing perfectly upright with shoulders drawn back and look comfortable. This is mostly due to our day jobs. Most people work a 9-5 and desk jobs are more popular than ever.
Sitting in a chair for hours, day after day, will eventually weaken the core muscles. Our core muscles are responsible for supporting the weight of our upper bodies in a vertical position. In order to perform pushups with strict form, the core muscles must be engaged throughout the entirety of the movement. (6)
Over time, as the body gets used to performing pushups on a regular basis, posture will eventually improve solely by the addition of this simple exercise.
7. Pushups Help Reduce Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is highly associated with poor posture. As we age and our posture worsens, we’ll eventually suffer from lower back pain. A rounded lower back will cause strain on the spine which results in chronic back aches and pain. Once lower back pain develops, simple tasks such as bending down to pick something up may be unbearable painful.
As mentioned in the previous point, pushups help strengthen the core muscles and will simultaneously strengthen the muscles of the lower back. (7) This will help relive pressure in that area and will reduce the risk of developing back pain as we age.
Arguably, out of the thousands of exercises individuals perform, the standard pushup still reigns as the most utilized and the most popular exercise of all time.
Teenagers who want to build muscle but don’t have access to a gym will end up doing pushups and crunches in their room. The pushup is an exercise heavily used by the military during drills, training, and to discipline soldiers. Bodybuilders perform weighted pushups to build up the pectoral muscles and use the standard pushup as part of their supersets. Gymnasts and those who practice parkour perform pushups daily to help strengthen control over their own bodyweight. (8)
Not only is it the most popular exercise, but it also proves to benefit our bodies in ways you may never have thought it would.