Pushups are great for building muscle and upper body strength. Not only are they a great way to stay fit, but they are a no-equipment exercise, meaning they can be done anywhere and anytime. While professional bodybuilders and trainers can perform a hundred or more pushups, it can be difficult for a beginner to figure out how much is required to build strength.
For a beginner, a rep range of 8 to 12 per set and a daily total of 100 to 200 is ideal for increasing strength and building muscle mass. However, you must avoid reaching a workout plateau by employing different variations of pushups. Such variations can include incline pushups and knee pushups.
This article will show you some of the benefits of pushups, how you can build strength with them, and the right number of pushups to do per day to suit your fitness level.
Benefits of Doing Pushups Daily
Pushups are one of the most challenging strength training exercises any athlete can do. Regardless of your fitness level and experience, regularly doing pushups brings many benefits, including increased muscle strength and better cardiovascular health.
Here are some reasons why you should do pushups every day:
Increases Your Muscle Strength
To move a volume of weight, you must have a level of arm strength. One of the best ways a beginner can build arm strength is by doing pushups. Supplements may also aid in building strength and muscles, but for a beginner, the more pushups you can do, the more growth you’ll observe in your strength.
A beginner who does five reps of pushups for four sets in the first week can do six reps of pushups for four sets the following week. In subsequent weeks, your rep range increases as your muscle strength increases.
Improves Muscle Growth
As strength and training volume increase, muscle mass increases too. Pushups focus on the chest, arms, front shoulder, and work the core and lower back muscles if done with proper form.
Consistently performing pushups has been shown to give athletes increased muscle mass. Although most people feel you have to get under hefty weights to build muscle mass, it isn’t compulsory. Pushups employ the same principle as bench press and recruit the same muscle groups to perform the respective exercises.
Increases Muscle Tone
Not only do pushups build muscle mass, but they also tone your muscles. Not everybody wants to be bulky with muscle; some prefer to have lean and rigid muscles underneath our skin. With pushups, it is achievable.
As pushups work different muscles in the upper body, it helps burn calories and remove fat deposits under the skin. The type of variations and the number of reps you do when performing pushups determines if you’ll be toned or bulked.
We will discuss more on the rep range for building muscle and toning muscles as we go in the article.
How Often Should You Do Pushups to Increase Strength?
As with every form of exercise, the first thing a beginner must have after desire and dedication is patience. There is no one size fits all rule for the number of pushups you should do because everyone has different body types and genetic makeup.
However, as a beginner, you have to ease into a pushup routine rather than rush into it or perform high reps straightaway.
Perform pushups daily to see immediate improvements in your muscle strength. Remember that your body type and fitness level dictates how frequently you should train. Daily training could be done by setting a number goal. For instance, you might decide to set a goal of doing 200 pushups daily.
To accomplish this goal, you have to create a strategy that works best for you. You can either spread the 200 pushups through several sets throughout the day or perform it at a set time in the day. One-hour pushup training means you have to complete your 200 pushups (or whatever the number you have set for yourself is) in an hour.
Reps and Sets
Another way to accomplish your daily pushup target is to break the total number of pushups you have to do into reps and sets.
A repetition, commonly called rep, is one movement of any exercise. For pushups, movement from the starting position to bending your elbow till they’re at a 90-degree angle, and back to the starting position is one rep.
A set consists of as many reps as you can manage or as you have planned. Doing pushups of 3 reps and three sets means you make three to and fro movements (1 set), take a rest, take another three to and fro movement (2 sets), take a rest, and then do the final set.
A rep range of 8 to 12 per set is ideal for muscle growth as a beginner, but a rep range of 12 or more will help tone your muscle.
The essence of regularly doing pushups is to increase strength. Mindlessly doing the exercise won’t help you achieve that. You have to increase the training volume as you build strength to challenge your body and test your new strength limit. There are different ways to test your strength limit:
Set to Failure
- This method of progression is for intermediate to veteran pushup levels. In this method, there is no rep count. The focus is on doing pushups till the arm gives. Expectedly, if we count the reps, they’ll likely do lesser reps per set.
Increase Your Training Volume
- You can increase your training volume by increasing the number of sets or reps that you do daily. Once you notice that your normal rep range has become easy to accomplish, increase the rep range by three, maintain the number of sets, or increase the number of sets and maintain the same rep range. You can also increase both rep and sets.
- Yes. You can add weights to your pushups. You can use fitness equipment such as weight plates, weighted bags, weighted vests, or any material that has substantial weight. Place it on your back and do your exercises with them.
- These fitness accessories challenge your upper body to move more weight than it is used to, thereby forcing it to recruit more muscle fibers to do the work. You can also exercise with other gym and workout accessories and equipment such as fitness bands, upper body workout bars, pushup stands, and resistance training bands.
Tips to Achieve Increased Strength With Pushups
|Warm-up. To avoid injuries during pushups, do little stretches or smaller exercises to get your arms and body moving and in the mood. Another good way to warm up is to perform small pushups on a wall. Be sure to use the correct form and avoid the common pushup mistakes most beginners make.|
|Rest. Your body needs to recover from all the work you have put it through. Take a day or two of rest before starting the next session. An average of 8 to 9 hours of sleep daily is also recommended.|
|Use different pushup variations. Pushup variations help keep things interesting and prevent you from reaching a plateau. As you get more comfortable with the traditional style, try more advanced versions. Keep in mind that form is also important. You can also use pushup accessories like pushup stands and pushup bars to keep you going.|
|Change your diet. Depending on your fitness level, you may need to change your diet as well. Switching to organic food can help you get rid of the excess fat. Using a fitness tracker can also help keep you motivated to eat healthily, do pushups every day, and monitor your fitness level.|
The pushup is an excellent exercise option for building upper body strength. It gives you the added advantage of building muscle mass and toning muscles. There is no limit to the number of pushups you do, but 100 to 200 pushups a day should help you build good upper body strength as a beginner.
However, to accomplish your fitness goals, you need to push your muscles every day continuously. If you reach a plateau and start feeling unmotivated or bored with your pushups, you should try different pushup variations to shock your muscles back into growth.
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