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How Much Weight Are You “Lifting” When Doing A Push-Up?

I don't think this Spider-Man can do many push-ups...

I don't think this Spider-Man can do many push-ups…

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Have you ever wondered how much weight you’re “lifting” while doing push-ups?

According to a recent study published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, you are lifting 75% of your bodyweight when doing a standard, “from the toes” push-up.

What if you’re not doing regular ol’ push-ups?

Then the percentage varies depending upon the type of push-ups you’re doing.

When doing push-ups from your knees, you’re pushing a lot less weight than from your toes – I’d guess anywhere from 45-60%.

However, if you’re doing a more difficult version like Decline Push-ups, Spiderman Push-ups, 1-Leg Push-ups, etc. the percentage is going to be much higher.

You can make it even tougher by placing a resistance tube around your upper back and holding the ends in your hands.  That will give you some extra resistance when pushing your body back up – but you have to make sure your form is PERFECT otherwise you could injure yourself.

Or if you’re like me, you could have your 28 pound wiggly daughter sit on your back while attempting to keep her from falling off.

Trust me on this one, it’s much more difficult than you’d think.  2 ½ year olds are very wiggly and giggle a lot – especially when mommy tries taking pictures whenever it happens…

But that talk on how much of a percentage of your own bodyweight begs a different question – if you lose weight, will that make the push-ups less effective?

Nope.

Here’s why – push-ups are the ultimate in “versatile” exercises.  You can do more reps, decrease the rest period and/or change up the type of push-up you’re doing to make it more difficult.

Whenever I do push-up heavy workouts at home or in a hotel room I will do anywhere from 3-5 different push-up variations, intermixed with different squats, planks, mountain climbers and burpees.

For example, here’s a workout I did recently in a hotel room:

Warm-up:
Push-ups/Bodyweight Squats – 4 sets of 15 each

Workout:  As many circuits possible in 10 minutes
1)  “T” Push-up – 12 reps
2)  Overhead Squat – 15 reps
3)  Hindu Push-up – 12 reps
4)  Jump Squat – 10 reps
5)  Mountain Climber – 25
6)  Burpees – 10 reps
7)  Pike Push-up – 12 reps

That workout nearly killed me, but it felt great when I was done.  Luckily it was a decent hotel and I didn’t disturb anyone while doing all that jumping!

But you see what I mean.  You can adapt push-ups to virtually any fitness level from complete beginner to advanced exerciser.

EVERYBODY can get an effective workout done while using push-ups!

And remember…

Be A Superhero Today!

Ed

P.S. – I just read that in order for guys aged 27-31 to graduate Army Basic Training you have to do 30 push-ups in 2 minutes, women of the same age group need to do 10.

How many can you do?  I can tell you one thing for certain – ALL of my clients could pass that test very easily.

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About The Author

Ed Scow, also known as "The Fit Dad", likes long walks on the beach, snuggling, hand stand push-ups and pretending to work. He's also a fitness & nutrition expert, proud papa and husband to a smokin' hot wifey.

Number of Entries : 169

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Comments (8)

  • Amna

    I am 20 years old (female)..weigh about 53kgs (117lbs) and I can do 21 toe push-ups, and 11 decline pushups. Is that considered good? I seriously started training 6 months ago. I went from not being able to do one push up up until doing 21. It does take me about 1.5-2 mins to do these.

    Reply
  • Andrew McCoy

    Great article but a little off base in the final comment about the army standard. While the bare passing minimum for the age ground is 39, nearly all leaders of soldiers demand high performance and training levels for their soldiers. That score of 39 in 2 minutes is a 60 percent on the scale while a score of 100 percent sits at 77 pushups in two minutes. See http://www.apft-standards.com for more info on the scoring standards. Again great article though.

    Reply
  • Jack

    there is no way 75% of your body weight is correct. I recently started lifting weight in the gym, i can bang out 40 pushups no problem. I weigh 180 pounds, so 75% of my weight would be 135, if i put 135 on the bar i can barley get 10 reps when bench pressing, really only 9 and a half then my spotter helped

    Reply
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