Back to Basics: the Power of Push-Ups

March 12, 2008 at 4:13 am 3 comments

I haven’t been doing push-ups lately.  My current strength training routine doesn’t include them, and since I’ve been very faithful about doing it twice a week, I haven’t had to compensate by doing push-ups on the stairs the way I’ve done in the past.

I should be doing my stair push-ups instead… or at least in addition to my present weights workout.  “The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness,” says Tara parker-Pope in An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up

By demanding that the body be taut while lifting and lowering itself to the floor, push-ups work a whole range of muscle groups, specifically those in the arms, chest, abodomen, hips and legs.  They are hard, and many people can’t do them. 

Men and women in their 40s should be able to do 27 and 16 push-ups respectively.  Now that calisthenics are no longer a standard part of high school gym classes and the emphasis is on cardiovascular fitness, fewer Americans can meet that standard, or even do any push-ups at all.

We should get ourselves back in the habit of doing them because they offer a myriad of benefits, particularly as we head into old age.  According to the article, “Researchers who study the biomechanics of aging, for instance, note that push-ups can provide the strength and muscle memory to reach out and break a fall.”  Studies have shown that when people fall, their wrists bear an “impact force” approximating their body weight.  Push-ups can help people acquire strength enough to keep themselves from hitting their heads when they fall.  Another problem is getting up after a fall, and push-ups also provide the strength to help people right themselves.

Starting next week, I’m getting back to basics by returning push-ups to my fitness plan, hopefully building up to the 70 that’re part of Jari Love’s Get Ripped! 1000 DVD.  I may not become Jack LaLanne, who still does push-ups daily at the age of 93, but at least I’ll improve my chances of having a better quality of life as I get older.


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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Feeling a Little Anxious « Sassy Sexy Shapely  |  March 13, 2008 at 2:34 am

    […] I did my two strength training workouts at home, adding 10 straight-leg push-ups to the second day (after reading the study I blogged about earlier), but no cardio.  I’m sure it’s no big deal, but it does make me a bit anxious.  […]

  • 2. The Power of Push-Ups: Update « Sassy Sexy Shapely  |  March 17, 2008 at 12:15 am

    […] 17, 2008 After reading earlier this week about what a great exercise push-ups are, I decided to add them back into my strength training routine.  I initially thought I’d wait […]

  • […] it’s a HUGE deal.  I recently wrote about what a great exercise push-ups are.   They are so good for the body, working several different muscle groups at once, and they […]


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