How Many Push-Ups Should I Be Able to Do?

The number of push ups you can do depends on several factors.
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While push-ups are a limited measurement of your fitness, they do provide a good understanding of your upper-body muscular endurance. Some organizations even use and track a 1-minute or max push-up test to gauge strength.

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Take a look at what the average number of push-ups are for men and women by age to get an idea of where you stand — and learn how to improve your score.

Female vs. Male Push-Up Numbers

Throughout this article, we use the terms "men" and "women," to reflect the language used in studies and national data. But when it comes to the average push-ups performed, what researchers are really talking about is biological sex at birth.

According to a July 2021 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research​, people assigned male at birth (AMAB) can generally perform more push-ups than people assigned female at birth (AFAB). Researchers believe this is because people AMAB are able to perform their push-ups at a faster pace, thanks to their body's weight distribution

Push-Up Muscular Endurance Test

One way to perform the push-up muscular endurance test is to see how many push-ups you can do before you are straining too much or are unable to do the push-ups with correct technique, according to Canada College. While you can do this test on your own, it can be helpful to have a partner to count for you and monitor your form.

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To perform a proper push-up, place your hands flat on the ground, slightly wider than your shoulders. Come into a high plank position with your body in line from head to hips to heels. Bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle from your ribs and lower in a straight line until your At the bottom of the push-up, your elbows must be bent to a 90-degree angle.

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Push-Up

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Skill Level Intermediate
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Begin in a high plank with your core and glutes engaged. Your shoulders should be stacked over your wrists and your hips should be in line with your head and heels.
  2. Bend at the elbows at about a 45-degree angle from your torso and lower your body toward the ground.
  3. On the way down, squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. When your chest hovers just above the ground (or however far down you can go), press into the ground and push your shoulder blades apart to return to the starting position.

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Average Number of Push-Ups: Adult Women Push-Up Chart

The average number of push-ups adults can do varies by age range and gender. The norms provided by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology breaks up the results into the following categories: needs improvement, fair, good, very good and excellent.

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Wondering how many push-ups you should be able to do? Check the chart below to get an idea of the average number of push-ups most women can perform, according to their age.

Average Push-Ups for Adult Women

15-19 years old

18-24 push-ups

20-29 years old

15-20 push-ups

30-39 years old

13-19 push-ups

40-49 years old

11-14 push-ups

50-59 years old

7-10 push-ups

60+ years old

5-11 push-ups

Source: Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

Of course, the average varies greatly across the general population due to diverse lifestyles, careers and health conditions. Barring a medical condition or injury that prevents you from exercising, consider improving your muscular endurance if you fall into the "needs improvement" category in the norms. The number of push-ups for each age group is:

Women's Push-Up Scores Needing Improvement

15-19 years old

11 or fewer push-ups

20-29 years old

9 or fewer push-ups

30-39 years old

7 or fewer push-ups

40-49 years old

4 or fewer push-ups

50-59 years old

1 or fewer push-ups

60+ years old

1 or fewer push-ups

Source: Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

Average Number of Push-Ups: Adult Men Push-Up Chart

The average number of push-ups for adult men are higher than the average scores for their female counterparts. Take a look at the chart below to learn the average number of push-ups for men by age group, according to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.

Average Push-Ups for Adult Men

15-19 years old

23-28 push-ups

20-29 years old

22-28 push-ups

30-39 years old

17-21 push-ups

40-49 years old

13-16 push-ups

50-59 years old

10-12 push-ups

60+ years old

8-10 push-ups

Source: Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

As with the women's scores, you can also take a look at the men's scores that are considered to be in need of improvement.

Men's Push-Up Scores Needing Improvement

15-19 years old

17 or fewer push-ups

20-29 years old

16 or fewer push-ups

30-39 years old

11 or fewer push-ups

40-49 years old

9 or fewer push-ups

50-59 years old

6 or fewer push-ups

60+ years old

4 or fewer push-ups

Source: Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

Average Number of Push-Ups: Children Push-Up Chart

The push-up test is one of the options schools have for testing upper body muscular endurance for the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, advises the Cooper Institute. This program focuses on developing a lifelong physical fitness habit in youth. Each assessment test is designed to help students understand and gauge different aspects of physical fitness. The other two tests that institutions can opt to use instead include the flexed arm hang and the modified pull-up.

In the charts below, you can find the average number of push-ups kids of various ages are able to perform in 30 seconds (by percentile), according to a March 2016 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Boys' Average Number of Push-ups by Percentile

5%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80%

90%

95%

9

4

6

8

9

11

12

14

15

17

20

22

10

4

6

8

10

11

13

14

16

18

21

23

11

4

6

8

10

12

13

14

16

18

20

22

12

4

6

9

10

12

13

15

16

18

20

22

13

5

7

9

11

13

14

16

17

19

22

24

14

6

8

11

13

14

16

17

19

21

23

25

15

7

10

13

15

16

18

19

21

25

27

Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine

Girls' Average Number of Push-ups by Percentile

5%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80%

90%

95%

9

2

3

5

7

8

9

10

12

13

16

18

10

2

3

5

6

7

9

10

11

13

16

18

11

2

3

4

6

7

8

9

11

13

16

18

12

1

2

4

5

6

7

9

10

12

15

18

13

1

2

3

4

6

7

8

10

12

15

18

14

1

2

3

4

5

6

8

9

11

15

18

15

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

9

11

14

18

Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine

1-Minute Push-Up Test for Men and Women

Some police departments and military branches use a 1-minute push-up test. In this test, candidates perform as many push-ups as they can in the 1-minute time limit. The specific requirements vary for each organization.

The Vermont State Police, for example, requires candidates to perform a minimum number of push-ups to qualify to enter the police academy. Modified push-ups are not allowed. The minimum requirements as of 2018 are:

Minimum Requirements for State Police Push-Ups

Men's

Women's

20-29 years old

33 push-ups

18 push-ups

30-39 years old

27 push-ups

14 push-ups

40-49 years old

21 push-ups

11 push-ups

50-55 years old

15 push-ups

0 push-ups

Source: Vermont State Police

The U.S. Air Force also requires new recruits to pass a physical fitness test that includes a 1-minute push-up test. Men under the age of 30 must perform at least 33 push-ups and women need to do at least 18. Men between the ages of 30 and 39 only need to do 27 push-ups, while women must meet the requirement of at least 14 push-ups.

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Improve Your Scores

Whether you were unable to meet the minimum or the average number of push-ups for your age group and gender or you just want to improve your score, you can improve your fitness with some simple exercises and push-up variations. The push-up mainly targets your pectoralis muscle in your chest, but also uses your deltoids, biceps and triceps, quadriceps in your legs and activates several muscles groups in your core.

Strengthen your core and improve your stability with exercises like plank reaches, advises the American Council on Exercise. To perform this exercise, start in a plank position with a straight body and a neutral spine. Lift one hand and lift it until it is straight and in-line with your body. Lower your hand and repeat on the other side.

A single arm chest press will also help strengthen your pecs and core. Lying on a bench, move your feet and legs out to a 45-degree angle until only one shoulder and your head are on the bench. Reach over your head to grab the bench with one hand. With the other hand do a chest press with a dumbbell. Repeat on the other side.

You can also add easier push-up variations to your workouts, like wall push-ups. If you need more challenging variations, try doing push-ups with your feet elevated or add weight to increase the resistance as you do the exercise.

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