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How to Calculate Push-Up Resistance

author image Nate Furlong
Nate Furlong holds a B.S. in health fitness and certifications from the NASM as a personal trainer, ACSM as a clinical exercise specialist and Flint School of Therapeutic Massage as a massage therapist. As an avid runner and exerciser, Furlong covers relevant and necessary topics in online health and fitness publications.
How to Calculate Push-Up Resistance
A fit man is doing push ups on a bench. Photo Credit: Notorious91/iStock/Getty Images

Push-ups have earned a well-deserved place as one of the most popular exercises. They can be done anywhere and simultaneously work the muscles of the core, hips, legs, chest and arms. Since the resistance provided by a push-up is dependent upon total body weight and the distribution of this weight, translating the resistance to a bench press is not as easy as lifting your body weight. Figuring out push-up strength will aid in diversifying your resistance program and assuring proper progression.

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Step 1

Do a push-up on a scale. With knees extended, butt and core contracted, and hands shoulder-width apart (or as wide as the scale will allow), perform a push-up. The weight displayed on the scale is the amount of total body weight placed on your hands.

Step 2

Using the same scale, immediately record your total body weight.

Step 3

Divide push-up weight by total body weight. Dividing the former by the latter allows you to find a percent of body weight lifted. Providing there are no significant fluctuations in the distribution of body weight, this percentage can be used to quickly calculate future push-up values. For example, a 170-pound man with a 110-pound push-up weight lifts about 65 percent of his body weight.

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