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The rise of push-ups: A classic exercise that can help you get stronger

February 18, 2019

About the Author

photo of Matthew Solan

Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Matthew Solan is the executive editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. He previously served as executive editor for UCLA Health’s Healthy Years and as a contributor to Duke Medicine’s Health News and Weill Cornell Medical College’s … See Full Bio
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Nanda Kishore
April 16, 2019

Iam 36 I do 100 push ups and 100 leg raises in 10 mins every alternate day, so I want an opinion whether iam doing good exercise,

Gaurav Chandel
April 8, 2019

I really like reading through a post that can make people think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment! also read:-

March 13, 2019

I was doing Japan anime One Punch Man aka One Punch Man exercise which are 10km running, 100 squats, 100 sit ups and the most important one was 100 push ups back then, the result is super impressive but at the same time have to control the diet as well.

BJ Fields
February 25, 2019

I’m 64 years old (female) and do 2 sets of 50 pushups 3 times a week. Most women can’t do even 10.

February 25, 2019

About ten years ago (I was 50) a younger guy at work got me interested in his push-up challenge: To make 365 push-ups per day after a year’s work. Yep, start with one push-up and increase by only one push-up each day. The idea was that at the end of the year and without stopping or cheating you’d be making 365 push-ups (even if divided into groups of 50). He ended up moving to another job and although I kept it going, I found it was his camaraderie and encouragement that made me follow-through with the challenge.
Now I’m sixty and will (or should?) be taking it up again.
One little thing always bothered me: Did my breathing so close to the floor (remember, we did this at work) increase my risk of inhaling germs or toxins? Is this a silly risk? 🙂

February 24, 2019

The article states that if you can complete 40 in over 30 seconds you would be in good shape, but the article then goes on to state that correct form takes 3 seconds (40×3=120 seconds). Forty in 30 seconds is 0.75 seconds per push-up which would be pretty damn impressive. How about if one could complete 40 consecutive over a couple of minutes?

Omri Linder
February 21, 2019

Indeed. I am behind every word here. For the last 10 years i am doing 300-500 push ups every day… can do 150-160 no stop. So i can say that without running or swiming i feel great. I am 59 btw :-))

Toby Brewster
February 22, 2019

Thanks inspiring. Thanks for sharing. Amazing you are still doing that many push-ups at 59.

Ricardo Martinez
September 15, 2016

I had my two hips replaced 11 years ago. I was told to stay away from push-ups and planks. Is that still valid? If yes, what about knee or standing push-ups?


Mary Parker
April 8, 2019

Your best bet is to talk with physical therapy on any restrictions associated with hip replacement.

Bruce Hurley
September 14, 2016

An easy way to ensure a straight back is to touch nose and crotch simultaneously, if fitness level permits. The mention of speed variation as a way to manage intensity is a beneficial addition to the subject.

September 13, 2016

At one point I’d gotten quite good at push-ups – started with knee push-ups and went from there – so I assume they’re not expressly contraindicated for women. My problem today, however, is osteoarthritis and related degeneration in my wrist/thumb area. Not sure if push-ups are recommended for someone with this condition, male or female.

Any comments from the cognoscenti?

February 25, 2019

I also have thumb and wrist issues and have had the “Anchovy ” procedure on my left wrist with excellent results. However, the same condition (carpal metacarpal degeneration) is now developing on the right wrist. I’ve gone from a palms down position (wrists at 90* to the floor) to using a fist on the floor position and am back to doing 50 with 30 in one shot …. at age 72 ):

Joshua Klein
September 13, 2016

Article has a blatant wrong idea about targeting triceps more versus chest. If you wanna hit chest more place your hands somewhere from 6-12 inches away from your shoulders out to each respective side. Drive straight through the palms do not drive out of your fingers whatsoever. A good way to practice this is lightly curl your fingers under so the tops of your top knuckles are hitting the ground and focus on driving from the palm. This is where your strength comes from. If you wanna target triceps, place your palms approximately at your nipples BUT place your palms directly touching your sides. Again, driving from the palms only, you will feel the drastic difference when you drive up through the palms when comparing the two positions I have described. – ISSA Fitness Trainer Joshua Klein. Instagram: yEaRiGhTiSSiK – follow me for fitness, nutrition, fat loss, bodybuilding, and last but certainly not least video games.

Joshua Klein
September 13, 2016

Note concerning the triceps push up, your elbows will begin down below your palms directly at your sides. Contrary to the chest push up, where your elbows are going out to each respective side.

David Birch
September 12, 2016

I do a set of 60 and a second set of 50 pushups during my weight workouts (twice a week). I do one set before I begin my weights routine and then the second after the entire weights routine. I have always waited at least 48 hours between weight workouts – my understanding was that muscles need that to build back up – is this not the case with the muscles used in pushups? The author indicated that he does them every day.

February 27, 2019

I would like to know the answer to this question too.

Thomas Flanagan
September 12, 2016

Tired of seeing articles written solely for men.

Gil Ramos
September 12, 2016

Some people tire of seeing materials focused solely on women. Fortunately, Matthew Sloan has not left you guessing. As the executive editor of the publication Harvard Men’s Health Watch, we can consistently expect him to write about — you guessed it — men’s health. Just as fortunate, however, if women’s health is what you seek to read or just want a change. Harvard has a complementary publication just for women, unambiguously titled, Women’s Health Watch.

Larry A. Chrispyn
September 12, 2016

I have been exercising an hour or more daily for 31 years. I used to do 500 to 600 pushups in a day. I would do some 40 at a time, adding up to 500 + in a day. I did this at least a dozen times. It was not practical to lift weights while on vacation, so that is when I did the push ups. I ride my exercise bike and stretch every day.
I also do planks for 2 minutes and up to 32 dips. Which do you think is better, planks, push ups or dips?

September 12, 2016

Are push-ups contraindicated when dealing with diastasis recti ?

September 12, 2016

Is this a good exercise for women, too?

September 12, 2016

They’re great exercise, but can be devastating to shoulder joints. Any recommendations as to avoiding shoulder pain?

Dan Bender
September 12, 2016

I do these on the side of a swimming pool, in 3 ft. of water after some laps.
Aloha, dan

September 12, 2016

I also do pushups in the pool ( in 4 foot depth) but have wondered if it benefits the core like those face down over the earth, Have wondered if there are changes that need to be made for pool,
I need to work on my bones as well.

September 7, 2016

It requires connecting with your entire body muscles. Handles up to your toes, you need to download to remove your entire body. weight and your arms sagging arms because the body is used as push-ups active in this way can be easily resolved. You may also need to have some arm strength to start this movement of arms and strengthen the kaslandır. Due to some arm weakness that they can not move for a long time. But it should not be given up. A genius can only take 3 times in one push-up, then a 3 push-ups push-ups every day the number of days that you check regularly followed by two increases will see that you can.
Besides push-ups pull handle allows the development of your chest and back muscles. Especially noticeable tightening of the chest is a movement in the figure.
While it may seem focused only handle a motion effect for tightening the abdomen and buttocks it is very high.
Generally increases the body’s balance and resistance. The push-up plus a resistance to even just want to stand in the position of push-ups. When you shoot continuously push-ups you will feel generally stronger.

September 7, 2016

Face down on the ground, extending beyond are based on place showdown shoulder width, waist and knees are lifted up and down on your toes without bending elbows emphasis. This action is useful when you take into account the recommendations as follows: Push-up often when taking your butt and you drew your stomach. This is both to see positive movement and exercise will allow you to benefit from easier. Do not take your breath after downloading the chest up and down on a regular basis will give you your heart yormama. Narrowing or expanding your openness arm push-ups with one hand, with different knee position, pulling the technique can make your work more different regions.

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