So you’re one of those are you…
A pushup fiend.
You just can’t get enough of them, can you? Almost like a drug that you need to have.
You want to do pushups everyday and there’s nothing that’s gonna stop you.
It’s time to lay down some facts.
Pushups have been considered the ultimate bodyweight exercise for centuries. Identified as an effective compound exercise, pushups help you build strength and endurance in your upper body in a pushing movement pattern.
Pushups are also used as a normative test in a personal training session. Trainers will regularly conduct pushup tests with their clients where they would ask the client to perform as many pushups as possible until muscular failure occurs. It’s a truly great assessment of upper body strength.
But the question now becomes…
Is it effective to perform pushups everyday?
I am always reminded of the stories my dad would tell me back in the day. He claims, in his younger days, to have done 100 pushups waking up in the morning and another 100 before going to bed. That’s 200 pushups everyday. With no warm-up, no dynamic stretches, nothing. Just 200 pushups everyday – COLD!
Now he wonders why he had shoulder problems…
There are two things you need to understand here.
First, pushups target your chest muscles, anterior deltoids (front of your shoulders) and triceps groups. One of the fundamental concepts I try to use when constructing exercise programs is to introduce muscular balance. If I’m going to target my chest three times a week, then I’m going to target my back three times a week as well. So imagine performing pushups everyday without performing daily exercises for the back, posterior deltoids (back of your shoulders) and biceps group. Do this for a month and watch how your shoulders round forward due to a muscular imbalance in your upper musculature.
Second, it’s common sense that no exercise should be performed EVERY day. When you physiologically break down your muscle fibers through exercise, those muscle fibers need a recovery period of minimum 48hrs to recover and re-build to prepare for the next session. If you don’t give the muscles time to recover by doing pushups everyday, you will be prone to overuse injuries that build slowly over time.
So do I do pushups everyday? Nope. Not even close. In fact, I only do pushups once a week. But when I train I look at incorporating variation. If you’re in need of some ideas, here are two posts where I show some cool variations.
When I want to incorporate variation, I try to use various pieces of equipment that help me really get the most out of my pushups. One of the most effective tools I’ve ever come across are pushup stands.
Pushup stands offer two things that a regular pushup cannot:
1) Wrist Protection. They allow for greater wrist stability and security because they always maintain your wrists in a neutral position during exercise; in contrast, regular pushups place excessive strain on your wrists due to unnatural bending at the wrist joint.
2) Increased Range of Motion. They offer a much greater range of motion during the exercise. Pushup stands allow you to lower your body past your hands, while regular pushups do not. A greater range of motion forces muscles to work harder during each repetition.
While these are fundamental principles that will help improve your pushup count and overall upper body strength and endurance, know that pushup stands can offer more. While regular pushups are restricted to only a few exercises, pushup stands greatly expand your possibilities. There are dozens of variations of exercises that allow you to target different muscle groups.
So is there a need to do pushups everyday?
The most effective way to improve your pushup count is to add variation and incorporate push up stands into your workouts.
What are your thoughts on pushups? Do you do them every day?