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TOPIC: Is it ok to do pushups every day?

 
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June 9, 2010 9:01 AM
I'm trying to up my ability to do pushups. I can only do them when I lean against something (like a 45 degree angle) for now. I've been doing them on arm/upper body days at the gym. However, today is a total rest day and I'd sorta like to do a few simple things in my house today like sit ups. I know you can do ab stuff daily, but was wondering what you all's experience was with push ups.

Thanks! smile
  1223355
June 9, 2010 9:06 AM
bump - I would like to know also
  843287
June 9, 2010 9:08 AM
I do them just about every day while doing Insanity in the mornings and doing Taekwondo at night. I could barely do 10 on my toes when I started, but now I can do at least 30 without a rest. And I used to make just a small bend in my arms, but now I go almost all the way down to the floor and get back up.

Try out the One Hundred Push-ups challenge: http://www.hundredpushups.com/
Edited by waguchan On June 9, 2010 9:10 AM
  117407
June 9, 2010 9:12 AM
You should probably do they every other day, at most. When you do any exercise involving resistance, you're tearing your muscles down, and they need time to recover if you want them to build strength. My rule of thumb is to never work the same muscle group two days in a row, and it's served me well. Best of luck with your progress!
June 9, 2010 9:12 AM
BTW... there's also a 200 sit up training program online: http://www.twohundredsitups.com/
  117407
June 9, 2010 9:13 AM
i think its ok. i also love doing jumping jacks and burpies
Edited by karlito2 On June 9, 2010 9:13 AM
June 9, 2010 9:13 AM
I think you can do them every day and I often do. However, I try to balance all of the chest work with some back work as well, such as dumbbell rows or pull ups.
June 9, 2010 9:14 AM
QUOTE:

You should probably do they every other day, at most. When you do any exercise involving resistance, you're tearing your muscles down, and they need time to recover if you want them to build strength. My rule of thumb is to never work the same muscle group two days in a row, and it's served me well. Best of luck with your progress!


I think it depends on how many you're doing. If your muscles are seriously fatigued afterwards, I would wait a day to let them rest & recover. Eat something high in protein afterwards to help your muscles recover and heal.
  746692
June 9, 2010 9:17 AM
I cant say 100 percent that you can do them everyday, but we pretty much do here at work. Some days we do more than others but we utilize the mquite a bit since going to the crossfit type workouts. I know that traditionally you wouldnt bench press everyday which is basically the same principle. Maybe STroutman can chime in on this one as he has the knowledgebase to provide better feedback from a scientific standpoint. I like doing them everyday though and mixing them in with sit ups and squats and pullups along with my running. Plus, in my opinion, the more you do em, the more you can do and the better you feel about yourself!
June 9, 2010 9:31 AM
You CAN, but if you're trying to get stronger by building muscle, you SHOULDN'T.

Muscle grows during periods of rest after periods of usage.

Apparently it's a good thing you asked, since some people seem to be incorrect in their thinking.
June 9, 2010 9:50 AM
QUOTE:

You CAN, but if you're trying to get stronger by building muscle, you SHOULDN'T.

Muscle grows during periods of rest after periods of usage.

Apparently it's a good thing you asked, since some people seem to be incorrect in their thinking.


I don't do them EVERY single day, but I will do them on consecutive days -- especially since I often incorporate them into the calisthenics I do for my cardio a couple times/week. I also do chest specific exercises with weights 2x/week more for strength and muscle building. Maybe I'm wrong in my thinking, but I guess it seems to be working for me so far. I've definitely gained a lot of strength and muscular endurance. I suppose when I stop getting the results I want, I can think about switching it up.

I also think that it can depend upon how fit/strong a person already is and how many pushups they are doing. A couple sets of 10-12 pushups is just a warm up for a lot of people and isn't really enough for muscle building. On the other hand, just starting out, a person might want to do pushups to failure but not on consecutive days.

But I guess I can only speak from experience to say that I never strictly followed the "don't train the same muscles on consecutive days" rule with respect to pushups and I've been able to increase my fitness by leaps and bounds.
June 9, 2010 10:40 AM
QUOTE:

But I guess I can only speak from experience to say that I never strictly followed the "don't train the same muscles on consecutive days" rule with respect to pushups and I've been able to increase my fitness by leaps and bounds.


But do you live on 800 cals per day? You'd increase your weight loss by doing that, but it's not the best, most efficient, or healthiest way to do that.

I'm glad working the same muscle groups on consecutive days has worked for you. It's not the best, most efficient or healthiest way to incorporate pushups in to your routine, though.
June 9, 2010 11:02 AM
can you do them every day? Yes, it shouldn't harm you to do so, but there is a point of diminishing returns with them, if you do them to failure every day you'll probably be slightly hindering your progress. Better to do them 3 to 4 times a week with a day off in between if you are doing them to failure (by failure I mean doing them to the point where you can no longer do another one with correct form).

This, of course, depends on your body as well, some folks have muscle structure that is more conducive towards this type of activity and can therefore recover faster, what type you are is really not something for a forum, it's more something that a qualified trainer would tell you after a thorough session (or more likely a few sessions).

What you could do to mix it up a bit and hit all your muscles is do a different type of pushup every day, I.E. wide stance one day, declines another day, normal another day, plyometric another day, diamonds another day, and military another day, this would allow you to really hit all the muscle groups and somewhat mitigate the diminished return factor.
June 10, 2010 2:30 PM
The original post said, "I can only do them when I lean against something (like a 45 degree angle) for now."

I doubt that doing push-ups that way will tear down your muscles enough to need a break every other day. It's not exactly the same strain as weight lifting.
  117407
June 10, 2010 2:56 PM
QUOTE:

The original post said, "I can only do them when I lean against something (like a 45 degree angle) for now."

I doubt that doing push-ups that way will tear down your muscles enough to need a break every other day. It's not exactly the same strain as weight lifting.


the angle doesn't really matter. What matters is the fatigue level. Reaching the anaerobic threshold for a muscle doesn't depend on absolute volumes, it depends on relative % of maximum. In other words, if someone works to technical failure, whether that person is able to do 5 push ups or 50 they are forcing their muscles to work to the technical failure point, which will force the muscles to become stronger, which requires rest and recuperation time (DOMS is big, especially in the beginning of a new routine).
June 10, 2010 3:10 PM
This is straight out of the book "Weight Training For Life" by James Hesson (I just took a weight training class at my university):

"Although weight training exercise is the stimulus, the positive changes in the muscular system as a result of weight training take place between exercise sessions as your body rebuilds and adapts to the exercise overload. Adequate rest and nutrition are necessary for these positive changes to occur. Weight training progress is best when a muscle receives 2 to 4 days of rest between exercise sessions. Fewer than 2 days of rest or more than 4 days between workouts results in slower progress."
  161057
June 10, 2010 3:19 PM
My trainer is also of the "every other day" school of thought. Like others have noted, she says that working the same muscle groups two days in a row doesn't give them time to recover and strengthen. It slows progress and leaves you prone to injury. She said it doesn't matter if you're just starting out or if you've been doing it for years, or if you're using machines, free weights or body resistance like push ups, the muscles need to recover for at least 24 hours.

However, it is apparently okay to do crunches or other ab work on consecutive days, although I'm not entirely clear as to why. (Sure, because crunches are everyone's favorite!)

I realize that there is no reason why anyone should go by what a stranger says, but she does have a kickin' body and she works out 7 days a week, so I'm willing to give her the benefit of a doubt laugh
  1106224
June 10, 2010 6:03 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

The original post said, "I can only do them when I lean against something (like a 45 degree angle) for now."

I doubt that doing push-ups that way will tear down your muscles enough to need a break every other day. It's not exactly the same strain as weight lifting.


the angle doesn't really matter. What matters is the fatigue level. Reaching the anaerobic threshold for a muscle doesn't depend on absolute volumes, it depends on relative % of maximum. In other words, if someone works to technical failure, whether that person is able to do 5 push ups or 50 they are forcing their muscles to work to the technical failure point, which will force the muscles to become stronger, which requires rest and recuperation time (DOMS is big, especially in the beginning of a new routine).


Thanks for clarifying things for us.

With respect to the OP's question, I agree -- assuming she's working to technical failure. I mentioned that sometimes do them multiple days in a row. In that, I am often not doing enough to get to failure. Most of the time, I am incorporating them into a calisthenics circuit that I do more for cardiovascular purposes. When I do them to failure, it is as part of a weight-lifting workout with an upper body focus. So, I guess, I wouldn't think that simply doing pushups every day is going to hinder progress -- it depends upon the intensity. I mean, would we say that we shouldn't do bodyweight squats every day? If so, then I guess I have to reserve sitting down in a chair to an every-other day activity!
June 10, 2010 7:48 PM
Wow! Quite a debate! I guess for now, it will be safe to just do them every other day. Sadly, I can't do that many (yet), but once I get to where I can do at least a couple on the floor, I'd like to start the 100 push up challenge!

SHBoss- the technical information was very interesting!

Thanks so much for the advice everyone. smile
  1223355
June 11, 2010 5:28 AM
QUOTE:

My trainer is also of the "every other day" school of thought. Like others have noted, she says that working the same muscle groups two days in a row doesn't give them time to recover and strengthen. It slows progress and leaves you prone to injury. She said it doesn't matter if you're just starting out or if you've been doing it for years, or if you're using machines, free weights or body resistance like push ups, the muscles need to recover for at least 24 hours.

However, it is apparently okay to do crunches or other ab work on consecutive days, although I'm not entirely clear as to why. (Sure, because crunches are everyone's favorite!)

I realize that there is no reason why anyone should go by what a stranger says, but she does have a kickin' body and she works out 7 days a week, so I'm willing to give her the benefit of a doubt laugh


It's true that the abs (and certain other muscle groups) can be worked every day with little downside.

The reasoning behind this is the type of muscles the abs (and the rest of the core) are. They are stabilizers and co-contractors, which means they are built to perform for a long time with minimal force. This means recovery is faster, and they don't build bulk as fast as other muscle groups. In other words, your core muscles are there to make sure you have balance and that your spine and lower back don't become overstressed, and when ever there is a need to keep your spine straight or to keep your body centered, the core muscles are working (I.E. ice skating, walking, standing, bending to pick something up, jumping, running, canoeing, surfing, standing in line at the store...etc. essentially anything that doesn't involve laying flat or sitting in a chair with a back rest).

These type of muscles don't do much in the way of "micro-tears" and therefore don't require a lot of recovery time, then again, they don't have a lot of relative force, which is why it's so easy to hurt your back picking up relatively light items, because the core muscles don't have much power and they connect to the spine, if you strain them too hard, you risk damaging the lower lumbar spine.

that's why people with sciatica, and lower back problems are encouraged to do core work, it stabilizes the spine and keeps you from re-injuring it.
Edited by SHBoss1673 On June 11, 2010 5:29 AM

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