Traditional pushups are beneficial for building upper body strength. They work the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. When done with proper form, they can also strengthen the lower back and core by engaging (pulling in) the abdominal muscles.
Pushups are a fast and effective exercise for building strength. They can be done from virtually anywhere and don’t require any equipment.
Doing pushups every day can be effective if you’re looking for a consistent exercise routine to follow. You will likely notice gains in upper body strength if you do pushups regularly.
For the best results, continue to add variety to the types of pushups you do. You can also follow a “pushup challenge“ where you gradually increase the number of pushups each week. You can work up to doing 100 reps in two months.
Are there risks of doing pushups daily?
One risk of doing any one exercise every day is that your body will no longer be challenged after a while. That increases your risk of plateauing (when you no longer gain the same benefits from your workout).
This happens because your muscles adapt and improve their function when they are stressed (as they are when you’re weight lifting or doing other exercises like pushups, for example). So it’s important to continue to challenge your muscles to improve your strength and physical fitness level.
If you’re going to do pushups each day, having the correct form is also important. Doing pushups without proper form can lead to an injury. For example, you may experience lower back or shoulder pain if you don’t do pushups properly.
If pushups are too difficult at first, modify the exercise. Do them on your knees or against a wall.
If pushups are too hard on your wrists or you have a former wrist injury, see a physical therapist before performing pushups. They may recommend dolphin pushups (which are done on your forearms instead of your hands) or knuckle pushups as an alternative.
Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
How to do a pushup
To perform a traditional pushup:
- Start kneeling on an exercise mat or the floor and bring your feet together behind you.
- Bend forward to position yourself in a high plank, the top of a pushup position, with your palms flat on the mat, hands shoulder-width apart, and with your fingers facing forward or hands turned slightly in. Your shoulders should be positioned over your hands. Your feet should be together behind you and your back should be flat. Keep your abs pulled in.
- Slowly lower your body toward the floor. Maintain a rigid torso and keep your head aligned with your spine. Don’t let your low back sag or your hips hike upward.
- Continue to lower yourself until your chest or chin touch the ground. Your elbows may flare out during the downward movement.
- Press upward with your arms. Continue pressing until your arms are fully extended at your elbows and you’re back in the plank, at the top of the pushup position.
- Repeat the downward movement. Start with 10 pushups, or however many you can do with proper form, and work your way up as you build strength.
Tips for proper form
When performing a pushup:
- Keep your back straight and your core engaged.
- Your butt should be down, not lifted.
- Your body should form a straight line. Don’t arch your back or let your body sag down.
Ask a friend to make sure your form is correct. Also keep your hands firmly rooted on the ground or on a mat so that your wrists are protected.
If this is too difficult, start on your knees.
Start performing pushups every day by “testing” how many you can do at one time (or within one minute) with proper form. Slowly increase the number you perform each day, or every other day, to build up strength.
If pushups are too difficult at first or you’re a beginner, start with modified pushups on your knees or against a wall.
Make it more challenging
Make pushups more challenging by doing the following variations. For an additional challenge, you can also practice pushups with your feet or hands on a medicine ball.
- Perform one traditional pushup.
- Lift left arm and roll into a side plank. After a few seconds, continue rolling, placing left arm on the ground so you end up in a reverse plank.
- Lift right arm up and roll into a side plank on the other side. After a few seconds, continue rolling, placing right hand on the ground so you end up back in a plank position.
- Start again with a triceps pushup and go in the opposite direction.
- Perform 5 to 10 repetitions to start. Focus on keeping continuous energy in your arms and shoulders and keep your hips lifted during the entire movement.
Pushup with hip abduction
- Begin in a high plank position with your arms out slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Lift your right leg off the floor and move it slightly further out than your hips, keeping it lifted throughout the entire exercise. Your foot should be flexed.
- Perform a pushup keeping your right leg off the ground.
- Perform 6 to 8 reps. Then lower your right leg and lift your left leg. Repeat the move.
Doing pushups every day will help you gain upper body strength. But keep in mind you’ll need to mix up the types of pushups you’re doing after a while to continue to challenge your muscles.
If you want to try a pushup challenge to do the exercise daily or several times a week, try different types of pushups. The variety will keep your muscles guessing and help you get more fit overall.