Nine Benefits of Doing Push-Ups Every Day

Sport & Activity

Find out how performing this popular exercise daily can help to build muscle, improve strength and provide a host of other benefits.

Last updated: 14 May 2024
6 min read

The push-up is a highly efficient and effective exercise often incorporated into strength workouts, boot camps and high-intensity circuit training. But you don't have to do push-ups with other exercises to reap their many benefits. In fact, if you do push-ups every day, you're likely to see changes in your level of fitness, body composition and maybe even your overall health.

Nine Benefits of Doing Push-Ups Every Day

There's a reason the push-up is one of the most common bodyweight exercises: few other moves provide an equal amount of benefits.

  1. 1.Improves upper-body strength

    The push-up helps to build muscle and improve strength throughout the upper body. It targets the muscles in your chest (pectoralis major), arms (particularly the triceps) and shoulders (especially the scapular stabilising muscles).

  2. 2.Contributes to core stability

    Muscles throughout the core are also active when you do a push-up. The rectus abdominis and oblique muscles help to hold the body steady, especially during push-up variations that involve instability (such as on a ball or balance board).

  3. 3.Accessible to beginners and seasoned athletes alike

    Since the move is relatively beginner friendly, researchers often include push-ups in studies to help identify (and test) levels of physical fitness. There is also a wide range of push-up variations to match with your current fitness level. As you become stronger, you can also increase the intensity of the push-up by upgrading to a more challenging version.

  4. 4.Is budget friendly

    A push-up doesn't require any special equipment, a trainer or even a gym membership for that matter. The only thing you really need is a small area of space and you're good to go.

  5. 5.Improves sports performance

    Push-ups are commonly included in exercises to help with shoulder rehabilitation, improve proprioception (the awareness of your body's movement in space) and muscle co-contraction for dynamic joint stability. Research has shown that improved joint stability, especially through the core, is necessary for optimal athletic performance.

  6. 6.Works multiple muscles simultaneously

    If you don't have a lot of time to spend in the gym, exercises like push-ups (along with lunges, squats and other compound moves) are highly beneficial and efficient because they work multiple large muscles at the same time.

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  7. 7.Supports healthy ageing

    Exercises like the wall push-up can help to maintain or even improve your level of strength as you age. Experts advise that older adults maintain their strength to remain independent and reduce the risk of falls.

  8. 8.May help support bone health

    Resistance exercise has been shown to be effective for helping to preserve both bone and muscle mass, especially in post-menopausal women who are at greater risk for osteoporosis. One small-scale study demonstrated that a 10-week resistance training programme helped women maintain bone-mineral density in the wrist. Still, the authors acknowledged that no increases in bone-mineral density were seen during their study.

  9. 9.Can help boost metabolism

    If your goal is weight loss, participating in strength-training activities (which can include daily push-ups) can help to improve your metabolism. In fact, according to one study, 10 weeks of resistance training may increase your resting metabolic rate and reduce body fat.

Push-Up Variations to Add Variety and Build Strength

Doing the same push-up exercise day after day can get monotonous. Consider some of these variations to get your programme started and keep it on track.

Beginner-Friendly Variations

If you're not ready to do a full push-up, try one of these variations to build the strength necessary to do the traditional exercise.

  • Wall push-up: This is a vertical variation of a regular push-up. Start by standing arms distance away from a wall. Place the palms on the wall slightly wider than shoulder-width apart at chest level. Engage the muscles in your core and bend the elbows so that the torso comes close to the wall. Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. If this seems too easy, move the feet back a few inches and try again. You can also do this variation on a counter-level surface to make it slightly harder.

  • Knee push-up: This variation allows you to do a horizontal push-up with less resistance because you don't have to carry the weight of your body below your knees. Start on your knees and walk your palms forward on the mat, placing them slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart. Keeping everything from your knees to the crown of your head in one straight line, lower the chest to the floor and push back up.

Intermediate-Level Variations

Once you have good form with a traditional push-up, try challenging yourself with these intermediate-level variations.

  • Regular push-up: This variation requires minimal equipment and can be performed on most flat surfaces. To do a regular push-up, you'll want to get in a plank position with the palms of your hands lying flat on the ground, placing them slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be parallel and hip-width apart from each other. Refrain from curling your back as you engage your core, squeeze your glutes and bend your elbows to lower your chest, hips and head towards the ground. Push the ground away from you as you come back up.

  • Decline push-up: This variation helps to add more resistance to emphasise a shoulder and chest workout. To complete a decline push-up, place the feet on a surface that elevates them higher than what hip level would be during a traditional push-up. For instance, many people use a weight bench and place their hands on the floor. Complete your reps maintaining this decline position and keeping the torso steady.

  • BOSU push-up: This variation requires the use of a BOSU balance ball, but you can also use any unstable surface (such as a wobble board) that is wide enough to allow for proper push-up hand position—which is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. You'll keep your hands on the unsteady surface as you lift and lower the body. The instability increases the challenge and effort required by your core and shoulders.

Advanced Variations

You can add weight or intensity to your push-up with these advanced moves.

  • Plyo push-up: You'll add a push off the floor and a clap in the middle of this variation. Start in a traditional push-up position and lower the chest towards the floor. Once you reach the lowest position, push up forcefully so your hands come off the floor. Clap once. Catch yourself by placing the palms back on the floor then lower the body to repeat.

  • Dumbbell push-up to row: You'll need two dumbbells for this variation. Start in a traditional push-up position, but with each hand on a dumbbell placed vertically on the floor under your chest. Complete one push-up repetition and then do a dumbbell row with the right hand. Complete another rep and do a dumbbell row on the left. This variation engages the back muscles (latissimus dorsi) to increase the number of muscles that are used.
Nine Benefits of Doing Push-Ups Every Day

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Originally published: 14 March 2022

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