Push-ups are an effective workout that can target multiple muscle groups, providing many health benefits with few serious risks.
“Push-ups will improve your health by building muscle, raising your metabolism to burn fat, and providing a cardiovascular benefit,” says Robert S. Herbst, a personal trainer and former world champion powerlifter. “They enable you to get a full body workout with no equipment.”
Here’s what you should know about the health benefits of push-ups, and how to get the most out of them whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
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1. Increase Functional Strength via Full Body Activation
As you lower your body to the floor and the familiar “burn” begins to encompass your muscles the last thing you’re thinking about is the number of muscles you’re using. However, this is one of the top benefits of pushups. As you engage in this exercise, literally every major muscle in your body is called upon to execute the movement.
Major muscle groups, such as your biceps, core muscles, triceps, anterior deltoids and lower body muscle groups are activated to support your body while stabilizing your movements. Classified a a compound exercise – meaning multiple muscle groups are called upon – you train the most important muscles throughout your body. Have you ever wondered by a standard bench press is so easy when compared to a standard push up? This is why.
2. Muscle Stretching for Health and Vitality
One of the most underrated benefits of doing push ups is the stretch it provides to your biceps and back muscles. As you lower yourself to the floor, your back muscles are effectively stretched, and as you push yourself to the starting position your biceps obtain a full stretch. This not only improves your flexibility, which helps prevent injuries, but a well-stretched muscle feature a solid and attractive appearance.
3. Enhance Your Cardiovascular System
As stated earlier, push ups are classified as a compound exercise as it calls upon multiple muscle groups. When you simultaneously engage large muscle groups, your heart must work harder to deliver oxygen-rich blood to muscle tissue. Ultimately, this activity results in an effective cardiovascular exercise, which supports heart health and promotes the reduction of stored body fat.
4. Increase Whole Body Muscle Definition – HGH Promotion
Throughout the movements of a push up, you recruit a wide array of primary and stabilizing muscles. The more muscle mass that’s utilized in a strength training exercise, the greater the production and release of a specialized hormone known as HGH, or human growth hormone.
As a young man or woman, your body pumped out large concentrations of this specialized hormone to support the natural growth of your entire body. However, as you age the natural release of HGH declines, which makes building muscle a challenging task for older adults.
By calling upon such a wide array of muscles, the production of HGH is triggered, which ultimately results in muscle hypertrophy – or muscle growth. To maximize push up benefits, you must incorporate this exercise into your regular strength training program.
5. Protect Your Shoulders from Injury
One of the most debilitating, and common, injuries for older individuals is a rotator cuff injury. While the severity of this injury is based upon a host of unique circumstances, protecting this delicate part of your body must become a priority.
The standard push up has been found to be among the most effective ways to safeguard your shoulder joints from injury; especially in older adults. Because push ups call upon stabilizing muscles, which surround the rotator cuff joint, this area of the body is strengthened and conditioned for dynamic movements.
By supporting the strength and health of primary and secondary shoulder muscles, the likelihood of debilitating injuries significantly lowers.
6. Improve Your Posture
Whether you sit at a computer all day or simply ignored the nagging recommendations from your mother or teachers, improper posture can destroy your health and comfort as you age. One of the most common reasons for a lack of proper posture is weak core muscles.
In order to properly hold your shoulders and back, your entire core must be strong enough to support its vertical positions. When push ups are properly executed, the muscles responsible for supporting posture are strengthened and fine-tuned. Moreover, as you regularly engage in push ups, your body will naturally lean toward proper posture. This is one of the most influential passive benefits of push ups.
7. Prevent Lower Back Injuries
There are few injuries as debilitating as a lower back injury. This essential part of your body supports practically every movement, so if it’s damaged or injured even the simplest of tasks can become excruciatingly painful. As mentioned earlier, pushups call upon your entire torso to stabilize its movements. By doing so, you strengthen this vulnerable part of the body.
By developing strength in this specific portion of your body, you cultivate muscles responsible for reducing lower back pressure, which is imperative to prevent and treat low back injuries.
8. Save Time While Cultivating a Strong Body
When surveys are conducted to determine why an individual does not exercise more the most common answer is a lack of time. We live increasingly busy lives, and while exercising is essential for a healthy body, it’s most commonly the first activity eliminated from a daily list of chores.
Although you may not have time for a traditional strength training or cardiovascular workout, if you have five minutes you can achieve a full-body workout with push ups. Want to add variation to this swift and potent exercise movement? Delve into the many different hand and feet placements to target muscles from different angles, which supports rapid strength and size development.
9. No Cost for a Full Body Workout
Although you may have a desire to join a world-class gym, their monthly dues may not fit in your tight budget. Thankfully, you don’t need an expensive gym membership – or even any equipment – to obtain an effective and thorough full body workout.
By engaging in push up exercises, you effectively fatigue major and minor muscle groups, which provide the same benefits as a traditional full body exercise performed at the gym on expensive and cumbersome equipment.
10. Increase Testosterone and Reduce Osteoporosis Development
As men and women age, the concentration of various hormones begin to dwindle. For men, the most prominent loss is the reduction of circulating testosterone. While preliminary evidence requires further investigation, several studies suggest the simple movements within a standard push up promotes testosterone production, which is essential for a healthy body in both men and women.
Moreover, weight bearing exercises, such as the standard push up, supports stronger, more dense bones. This increase in bone density may ward off debilitating skeletal system disorders, such as osteoporosis.