Push-ups are one of the most popular body weight exercises, and are commonly used in a variety of sport and fitness training programs. Push-up form is adaptable to all skill levels, so you can implement an effective training program whether you are a soccer mom or a Navy SEAL. You can perform push-ups on a near-daily basis to improve your strength and cardiovascular capacity.
The main benefit of doing push-ups regularly is an increase in the size and strength of your pectoral, triceps and deltoid muscles. Former Navy SEAL Stew Smith advises massive amounts of push-ups for candidates who are training for a military physical fitness test, or PFT. For 10 days, Smith advises you alternate workouts of performing 200 push-ups in as few sets as possible one day, then the next day executing 200 push-ups over the course of the day. By the end of the 10 days, military recruits see a significant jump in their push-up maximum.
Though a single push-up does not present much of a challenge for your heart and lungs, performing many consecutively can be a significant workout. The cardiovascular benefits of push-ups strengthen your heart, improve your circulation and boost your metabolism. The longer you perform push-ups throughout the day, the more you will see these benefits.
Properly performed push-ups require you to flex your core muscles to hold the plank position throughout the exercise. Exercises such as push-ups not only tone your abs, but also teach the muscles in your lower back, hips and pelvis to work together for better balance. The extremes of regular push-up training can be seen in gymnasts. The strength and power they display comes almost exclusively from bodyweight exercises such as the planche push-up, according to national gymnastics instructor Christopher Sommer.
There are many benefits to be had from regular push-up training, but it is possible to push your body beyond its limits. Muscle exercises involve a process of tearing the body down, and muscle growth only takes place when you allow ample rest for your body to naturally recuperate from microscopic tears in muscle tissue. If you find yourself feeling burned out or not able to do push-ups at your normal capacity, it is possible you have overtrained. Get three to five days of rest without any upper-body exercise as a remedy.