28 Dec 5 Reasons Push Ups Are Great For You

The push up.  One of the most basic exercises there is.  An exercise that’s been a hallmark of upper body strength and conditioning, but maybe one of the most underrated, yet highly effective exercises there is. You might even think they’re too easy, too basic, too boring, or that the benefits aren’t very significant from doing them.

I have to tell you that the “push up” is one of the most effective exercises there is for total body strengthening and conditioning.  The benefits from a simple push up are actually quite impressive.

Here’s a short list of the 5 main benefits that push ups have to offer you:

  • A TOTAL BODY WORKOUT.  The basic thought that most people think about when doing a push up is that they are working your chest and arms.  In reality, and if done correctly, they are working a whole lot more than just your chest and arms. Push ups work your deltoids, abdominals, trunk musculature, and legs.  They are a full body workout and a really great example of a “core exercise”, as you’re stabilizing your core muscles throughout the movement. When you do a push up, your entire body should remain “tight” throughout the movement and maintain a total body tension to help stabilize and support your entire body through the movement.
  • BUILDS STRENGTH.  So, you think push ups are easy, huh?  Go ahead and try a set.  Could you drop down and pump out 20, 30, 50, or more right now?  If you’re just starting out, see how many you can do, as a gauge.  After a week or a couple of weeks, you’ll have some muscular adaptations that will build up your muscular endurance and strength as you get more conditioned.  You’ll get a heck of a rush and a great “pump” from push up, as well.  As you train consistently, your strength and muscular endurance will start to noticeably improve.
  • INCREASES LEAN MUSCLE MASS AND SUBSEQUENTLY BURN FAT.  That “pump” I just mentioned.  Well, you will start to increase your lean muscle mass and burn the fat, depending on what type of exercise protocol you’re doing.  For instance, if you doing interval sets (exercise followed by short periods of rest), you’ll ramp up your metabolism that will act to burn calories and ultimately burn fat. You’ll get some very nice lean muscle building to occur, most notably in your upper body, all with the simplicity of the push up.
  • HELPS PREVENT INJURY.  Because of the nature of the weight bearing on your upper extremeties and shoulder girdle, you’ll be working on all of your stabilizing musculature in your upper body.  This will help to protect your joints and muscles and strengthen them in a safe and functional way. Additionally, your trunk stabilizers will be firing as well, as I mentioned.  This will help protect your spine and core musculature, thus building and strengthening these muscle groups. Bottom line is the stronger all these muscles are, the better protection you have from injury.
  • NOTHING REQUIRED, EVER.  What’s your excuse not to do this valuable and effective exercise? You don’t need anything, nothing at all.  No equipment or devices, they can be done literally anywhere, anytime.  They’re challenging, effective, and you can add a lot of variety to the way you do them.  There’s a ton of different ways to do vary them to keep it fun and exciting.  Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of this simple, but highly effective total body exercise for ultimate strengthening and conditioning.

Get a baseline of where you are.  See, how many reps you can do, going to failure.  For normative values, see the previous article I posted on this, Body Weight Push Up Progressions.  Then set a goal to increase your reps, sets, intensity, frequency or duration.  You’ll soon start seeing and feeling the benefits and results.

I’m winding down the 31 Days of Smart Fitness, this is Day 28!

Just a few more posts to go in 2010, hard to believe.  I hope you’re ready for your best, fittest year ahead in 2011!

I’ll be back tomorrow.

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