How Often Should You Do Push-Ups? Are You Overtraining or Undertraining?

In the world of fitness, push-ups remain a timeless exercise, continually adapting and offering benefits to those who practice them. As someone who’s been incorporating these into my workout routine for a while now, I’ve asked myself “How often should I be knocking them out?”.

It’s a common concern that’s crossed my mind too many times to count during my fitness journey, and I know I’m not alone.

So, the question remains, Are we hitting the sweet spot, or are we overdoing it? Could we be missing out on gains by not doing enough?

What Are the Benefits of This Exercise?

Push-Up Benefits

Push-ups are a compound exercise that primarily targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders. However, when done correctly, they also engage the core, back, and even the legs. These are much more than just a chest exercise.

Engaging multiple muscle groups, they offer numerous benefits from muscle building to enhanced cardiovascular health. Regular push-ups can improve muscular endurance and posture, enhance upper body strength, and even boost metabolic rate.

Anatomy of a Perfect Push-up

Achieving maximum benefits from this exercise is contingent upon maintaining proper form. A well-executed push-up keeps your body in a straight line from head to heels and involves controlled, fluid movement.

Improper technique can reduce effectiveness and increase injury risk.

Which Factors Influence Push-up Frequency?

There are several factors that influence how often one should perform this exercise. Knowing these can help tailor a regimen suitable to individual needs.

Individual Fitness Level

It’s crucial to consider your current fitness level when determining push-up frequency. Beginners may benefit from doing these every other day, allowing muscles to recover, while advanced individuals can incorporate them more frequently.

Training Goals

Your training goals play a pivotal role. If strength building is the objective, incorporating more rest days between intensive push-up sessions might be optimal. For endurance training, daily push-ups with varying intensities could be effective.

Frequency Recommendations


Based on scientific research and expert opinions, let’s explore the recommended frequencies for different training objectives and levels.


If you’re just starting out, moderation is key. Consider doing push-ups 2-3 times a week, focusing on proper form. This provides a balance between muscle engagement and recovery time.


For those with a solid foundation, you can incorporate the exercise 4-5 times a week. It’s crucial to mix up intensities, perhaps having 2 intense days and 2-3 moderate days, allowing for adequate muscle recovery.

Add Variety to Your Routine- It’s Necessary!

Push-up Variety

Doing the same version of this exercise can lead to plateaus in progress. Incorporating variety can challenge the muscles differently and foster continued growth.

Incorporating Different Variations

From diamond push-ups to archer push-ups, there’s a myriad of variations that target different muscles and challenge stability. Introducing these can break the monotony and stimulate new muscle growth.

Combining with Other Exercises

While this exercise is comprehensive, pairing it with other exercises can create a balanced upper-body routine. For instance, combining push-ups with pull-ups can ensure a balanced development of the chest and back muscles.

Recovery and Injury Prevention

This exercise is safe when done correctly. However, like any other exercise, it can lead to injuries if overdone or performed with improper technique.

The Importance of Rest and Recovery

Muscles grow and strengthen during recovery, not during the workout itself. Incorporating rest days ensures that muscle fibers have time to repair, grow, and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

Signs of Overtraining

Persistent soreness, decreased strength, insomnia, and increased susceptibility to injuries can be indicators of overtraining. If these symptoms appear, it might be time to reassess your push-up frequency and overall training regimen.

Common Misconceptions

Push-up Misconceptions

Despite the popularity of this exercise, it is often surrounded by myths and misconceptions. Addressing these is paramount to optimize benefits and reduce mistakes.

More Push-ups Equals More Strength

It’s a common belief that performing more push-ups daily translates to increased strength. While consistency is crucial, focusing solely on quantity over quality may lead to injuries and hinder proper muscle development.

They are Only for the Upper Body

Many perceive this exercise as just an upper-body exercise. In reality, when executed correctly, they are a full-body workout. They engage the core, back, and even legs, promoting overall functional strength.

How to Incorporate These into Your Daily Life?

Incorporate Push-up into Your Daily Life

For many, fitting regular exercise into a busy schedule can be challenging. However, push-ups, given their versatility, can seamlessly integrate into everyday life.

Perform The Exercise during Breaks

Taking short breaks during work or study hours? Consider doing a set of push-ups. Not only will this boost blood circulation, but it’ll also provide a quick energy surge, enhancing productivity.

Make the Exercise Fun

Transform push-ups from a mundane task into an enjoyable activity. Challenge friends, join online challenges, or sync your exercise with your favorite song’s beat to make the experience more engaging.

Potential Workout Routine For You!

To help you achieve your goals, we made a 1-week workout plan that incorporates various types of push-ups to target different muscle groups. This plan combines different variations to engage various muscle groups, promoting overall upper-body strength and stability.

Always remember to prioritize proper form over the number of repetitions.

Day Push-Up Variation Sets x Reps Rest Between Sets
1 Standard Push-Ups 3 x 10 60 seconds
2 Wide Grip Push-Ups 3 x 12 60 seconds
3 Diamond Push-Ups 3 x 8 60 seconds
4 Incline Push-Ups (using a bench or step) 3 x 10 60 seconds
5 Decline Push-Ups (feet elevated) 3 x 8 60 seconds
6 Archer Push-Ups 3 x 6 each side 60 seconds
7 Plyometric Push-Ups (clap push-ups) 3 x 8 60 seconds

Additional Tips

  • Perform a dynamic warm-up before each workout to prevent injuries.
  • Maintain proper form throughout each exercise to avoid strain.
  • Adjust the number of repetitions and sets according to your fitness level.
  • If you’re new to exercise, consider starting with fewer sets and repetitions.
  • Rest for 1-2 minutes between each exercise.
  • Remember to cool down and stretch after completing the workout.
  • Listen to your body and consult a fitness professional if you have any concerns or medical conditions.

Don’t Skip Proper Nutrition and Hydration!

Nutrition and Hydration

While exercise plays a significant role in muscle development, nutrition and hydration are equally essential, acting as the building blocks and fuel for your workouts.

Feeding Your Muscles After Your Workout

After a rigorous push-up session, your muscles require nourishment for repair and growth. Consuming a balanced mix of protein and carbohydrates can optimize recovery and muscle synthesis.

Staying Hydrated

Hydration is vital for muscle function and recovery. Drinking ample water post-exercise helps in flushing out toxins, replenishing lost fluids, and ensuring that muscles recover efficiently.

How Do Push-ups Influence Mental Health?

Physical exercises, including push-ups, have profound effects on mental health, making them a holistic exercise option.

They Are a Stress Reliever

Engaging in physical activities like push-ups triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and mood elevators. Incorporating regular push-ups can thus act as a natural stress-relief mechanism.

Building Discipline and Confidence

Sticking to a regimen and witnessing gradual improvement can be a significant confidence booster. It fosters discipline, perseverance, and a sense of achievement, positively influencing one’s mental well-being.


How does this exercise help with WFH-related aches?

A stronger back and core from push-ups can help counteract aches from slouching at desks during work-from-home routines.

What’s the difference between standard and narrow push-ups?

A standard push-up with hands underneath the shoulders emphasizes the chest, while a narrow push-up targets the triceps.

How do they benefit cardiovascular health?

Using major muscles during this exercise forces the heart to work hard, delivering blood to the tissue, which can boost cardiovascular health over time.

What is the significance of plank form in the exercise?

Holding the body in plank form engages the core throughout the movement, enhancing the exercise’s benefits.

How can one tell if they’re overexerting?

Pain during or after the session and feeling exhausted post-workout are signs of overexertion.

The Bottom Line

While push-ups are undoubtedly beneficial, a one-size-fits-all answer to frequency doesn’t exist. It’s essential to listen to your body, adjust based on your goals, and seek a balanced approach for optimal results. Every individual’s body and goals are unique.

By paying attention to your body’s signals, feedback, and progress, you can tailor your regimen for optimal results and sustained growth. If in doubt, consulting a fitness expert or personal trainer can provide personalized insights and adjustments.

Their expertise can help fine-tune your approach, ensuring safety, effectiveness, and progression.

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