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Cardio Health Healthline

What happens if you do pushups every day?

Pushups are a popular exercise for strengthening the core and upper body. Many people incorporate pushups into their regular exercise routine. The benefits of daily pushups include improved muscle mass and cardiovascular health.
Pushups are a type of strength building exercise. Though they mainly activate muscles in the arms and shoulders, they also engage muscles in the core and legs. Therefore, pushups are beneficial for building strength throughout the body.
This article focuses on the effects of daily pushups on the body. We cover the benefits as well as the potential risks. We also discuss whether or not people should do pushups every day.

Increased joint support

Pushups are particularly effective at strengthening the muscles around the shoulder joints.
The muscles and tendons in the shoulder area are responsible for keeping the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket.
However, it is important to increase the number of pushups gradually to build up sufficient strength in the muscles. Overloading weak muscles can result in muscle and tendon injuries.

Increased muscle tone and strength

There are several different variations of pushups, and each type activates the muscles in different ways.

A small 2015 studyTrusted Source involving eight volunteers looked at the following pushup variations and compared their effects on different muscle groups:

  • Standard pushup (SP): The hands are shoulder width apart and directly in line with the shoulders. The upper body, or trunk, lines up with the legs, and the body remains rigid throughout.
  • Wide pushup: The distance between the hands is twice that of in the SP.
  • Narrow pushup (NP): The hands are below the center of the breastbone, or sternum, with the thumb and forefinger of each hand touching.
  • Forward pushup (FP): The hands are shoulder width apart but 20 centimeters (cm) in front of the shoulders.
  • Backward pushup (BP): The hands are shoulder width apart but 20 cm behind the shoulders.

The study found the following:

  • NPs resulted in the greatest activation of the triceps and pectoralis major muscles, or pecs.
  • FPs and BPs resulted in the greatest activation of the abdominal and back muscles.
  • BPs activated the largest number of muscle groups overall.

The authors conclude that BPs might be the most beneficial pushup variation for improving upper body condition and strength.

NPs are best suited to people trying to increase the size, tone, or strength of their triceps and pecs.

Improved cardiovascular health

Several studies have linked muscular strength to a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.
A 2019 studyTrusted Source investigated the link between the number of pushups a person can do and their risk of developing a cardiovascular health issue 10 years later. A total of 1,104 active, middle-aged males took part in the study.
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