I did 500 pushups a day for 1 month because I was genuinely curious what would happen but in all honesty, the challenge didn’t get me a big chest and the before and after pictures below are a testament to that.
However, it was a great learning experience and stepping stone to figure out a better approach to the pushup challenge frenzy.
That being said, I’ll cover what happens when doing 500 push ups each day, if it’s safe, and how many to do for best result before I explain why pushups aren’t optimal for building muscle and how to use progressive overload, as well as other hypertrophy (muscle building) techniques to build the pecs you dream of.
What Happens When You Do 500 Pushups a Day? Are Only Pushups Results Possible?
When you do 500 pushups a day, you will get stronger muscles in the chest that are better able to contract and move. This is not surprising since your body knows it must adapt to the demands placed on it.
However, this method of training simply improves muscular endurance and doesn’t actually increase muscle size much at all. Muscle growth is best achieved through weight lifting, not just pushups.
When you lift weights, the working muscles become torn and stressed in a way that creates an environment for new muscle tissue to form. This is why lifting weights can build big chest muscles quickly when done correctly.
Doing 500 push ups a day is great for muscular endurance, but if you want bigger muscles, then you should look into weight lifting. Keep in mind that pushups provide a similar hypertrophic stimulus to 40% of a 1RM (one repetition max) on the bench press, which is a very small stimulus.1
You should also keep in mind that your core will not get substantially stronger performing so many pushups; doing a combination of push ups and sit ups will give you the biggest benefit, in that case.
Is Doing 500 Pushups a Day Safe?
For those wondering “is doing push ups everyday overtraining”, if you are overweight or haven’t really worked out much in the past, doing this volume may be dangerous.
Your body simply is not used to dealing with such a heavy and frequent load being placed on the chest and arms. This can lead to an injury.
If you are determined to do the 500 pushups a day challenge, I suggest starting with 10-50 pushups a day instead and then working your way up to more. You could also break it down into 4 sets a day and do each set to failure (where you can’t do any more pushups).
This way, you won’t be putting too much stress on your body all at once. As time goes on, and you ensure you are getting proper recovery, you can do more and more pushups, slowly building up to 500 in a day.
500 Pushups a Day: Before and After (Push Ups Everyday Results With Pictures)
To start off our discussion about the benefits and downsides of doing 500 every single day, let’s take a look at a few people who have posted their results online.
Daniel from the YouTube channel NotDanny did 500 pushups a day for a month straight and posted his results to YouTube. Afterward, he also uploaded his video to multiple different sub-Reddits to answer questions that people may have had.
Before getting into those, let’s take a look at his before and after pictures.
Daniel explains in his video that he was curious how difficult it would be to do 500 pushups per day, more as a challenge for himself rather than a fitness goal he wanted to achieve. He notes that while he was able to perform 500 pushups a day, he wasn’t sure if it was worth it.
Obviously, in the pictures above, we can see that he got a bit more chest definition when comparing the before and after pictures, but for the most part, that’s about it.
He has also said in multiple Reddit comments, and in his YouTube video, that he doesn’t recommend doing 500 pushups each day because it simply takes too long, and also puts a lot of strain on the shoulder and arms especially.
Though, he has mentioned he may consider doing a similar challenge with pullups; since the pull up vs push up are quite different movements, the results could be quite interesting to learn more about.
Aseel performed a slightly different challenge than Daniel; he did 500 pushups per day for just a week. This allows us to see things from a slightly different perspective; we already know what doing 500 pushups a day for an entire month may do for the body, but what does doing it for just a week give us?
Check out these pictures of his before and after:
So, unsurprisingly to most readers, this had even less of an effect than performing 500 pushups daily for a month straight. Performing pushups at such a high volume can be fantastic for people who are inexperienced or want to develop better form, but overall, Aseel agrees with Daniel that this is not the best bang for your buck exercise.
It can put a lot of tension on the shoulder and arms and is overall extremely time-consuming.
Doing Push Ups Everyday for a Month Didn’t Yield Great Results (My Results Doing 500 Pushups a Day)
Personally, I had similar results to Daniel and Aseel above.
Coming into the challenge, I had been wondering things like “how many push-ups per day for a six pack?” and if I had bad chest genetics. But in the end, my 500 pushups a day results were me realizing it was extremely time-consuming, and overall, I really did not feel that big of a benefit from it.
I could feel my chest muscles contracting a bit more easily than normal due to a slight increase in mind muscle connection, and it seems like they can get a bit more of a pump than they could before I started doing so many pushups.
But on the flip side, my shoulders do not feel very good. They feel very unstable like they’ve gone through a heavy workout every day.
The fewer pushups I do, the better I feel as time goes on; it’s not as if I walk around in pain every day, but now that I’ve stopped performing pushups every day, my arms are starting to feel substantially better.
How Many Pushups a Day To See Results? How Many Push-Ups per Day for Big Chest?
The number of pushups you should do per day to see results will depend on your individual fitness level and goals.
For beginners, it’s best to start with sets of 10-20 pushups at a time, as this is enough to build strength in your chest muscles without putting too much strain on your body. As you get stronger and more comfortable with the exercise, you can increase the number of pushups per set until you eventually reach 50-100+ per day.
For those looking to build a bigger chest, it’s important to remember that doing 500 pushups every single day won’t necessarily give you the biggest results in chest gains, but it may increase your ability for overall muscular endurance. I’d recommend prioritizing increasing your strength on movements like the bench press, incline bench press, and chest flyes to develop a bigger chest.
Overall, doing 500 pushups — which is an excessive amount — each day for a month does not seem to yield great results. While it can be beneficial in developing better form and building strength, it may cause shoulder and arm strain due to the excessive volume of reps.
It is best to start with smaller sets instead of jumping straight into such an intense exercise routine. At the end of the day, I don’t even think doing 500 pushups a day for 3 months would even be beneficial.
But, for newer lifters, getting used to the stress a pushup puts your body under would be a good idea. Even further than that, pushups may provide a larger training stress on women when compared to men, so it may be an even better starting point for women.2
Signs of Fatigue & Recovery Protocol for Injury Prevention
One thing you may feel after starting this routine is extreme fatigue. There are a few common symptoms you should be aware of when thinking about fatigue:
- Feeling unusually tired and having difficulty motivating yourself to perform your exercise routine
- Experiencing a decrease in performance during workouts
- Finding it difficult to focus and concentrate
- Loss of strength and power during workouts, even if the weight used has stayed the same
- Joint pain
If you feel any of these symptoms, it would be a good idea for you to consider deloading.
Deloading is when you take a break from intense exercise to allow your body to recover and prevent injury. It is important that you listen to your body and take the necessary time off when it is needed, as this will help you avoid any long-term injuries.
It is also recommended that during deloads, you focus on light exercises such as walking to promote blood flow without intensive exercise.
When it comes to deloading from doing 500 pushups daily, you can choose to either lessen the number of repetitions you’re doing or change the form with which you’re performing the pushups. For example, you could do pushups with knees down to provide an easier stimulus for your body to handle, or even do half-reps, not going all the way down.
Why Doing 500 Pushups Each Day Is Not Optimal
We’ve discussed three separate anecdotal stories about why doing 500 pushups everyday was not the greatest exercise for creating a big chest, but we haven’t isolated the individual reasons why this is the case.
Let’s talk about those now, starting with progressive overload being nearly impossible when performing high-volume sets of pushups.
Difficult To Add Weight & Progressively Overload for Hypertrophy
Obviously, the pushup is a bodyweight exercise. It is also a bodyweight exercise that is difficult to put weight on – think about the squat, as an example.
You can place a barbell on your back to add weight, but for the pushup, it’s not that simple. You could technically put a barbell on your back to overload the movement with weight, but good luck getting out of that position safely.
That being said, you can’t progressively overload the pushup effectively unless you perform more repetitions or use a weighted vest. That means that once you’ve performed 500 pushups for a few days in a row, your body has adapted to the stimulus, and is no longer getting that much benefit.
This is suboptimal for chest growth. But, if you can access a weighted vest, it seems like the pushup and bench press both activate similar muscles and can be used in tandem as part of a strength routine.3
Not As Much Range of Motion (ROM) As Dumbbell Presses
The range of motion (ROM) with doing pushups is going to be much less than doing a dumbbell press. If you compare the two exercises side-by-side, the difference in ROM between a standard pushup and a dumbbell press is quite vast.
This means that when performing 500 pushups, your chest muscles won’t be getting as much of a workout, and you’ll be able to complete the exercise more easily.
This is why it’s typically recommended that for optimal chest growth, a combination of dumbbell presses and pushups should be used. The dumbbell press helps to maximize ROM and provides progressive overload while performing higher reps with pushups helps to build muscle endurance.
It should also be noted that for those rehabilitating from an injury, performing pushups with shoulders raised above the chest (an incline pushup) are typically seen as the go-to to take stress off of the scapular plane. However, research has shown that the traditional pushup is actually less intensive here, meaning that the greater range of motion seen in the standard pushup is safer to perform for those rehabilitating.4
Doesn’t Consider Volume Landmarks
Doing pushups also doesn’t take into account performing ‘optimal’ sets of chest work, meaning that some repetitions will be wasted since the first few hundred repetitions will not even be taxing for the body to perform.
Standard volume landmarks for the chest take into account that the chest is being trained close to failure for each set; assuming a person can easily perform 500 pushups a day, it is quite difficult to determine what number of repetitions would classify as close to failure to be an ‘optimal’ set.5
Frequency, Intensity, Periodization & Optimal Rep Ranges Aren’t Taken Into Account
There are also a few other things to take into account when performing a large number of pushups.
How frequently you perform your pushups throughout the day will affect how difficult they are. If you perform 10 sets of 50 reps right on top of one another, with short rest, your chest will be much more fatigued than if you split those 10 sets up into say 20 sets of 25 reps over the course of the entire day.
We suggest performing push ups 3x per week to begin with. If you’re sore each time and have no signs of fatigue, you can increase the frequency or amount of sets per day.
Intensity, or how difficult each set is, is also another factor to keep in mind when performing pushups. If you take each set to failure, or close to failure, then the following sets will need to have more time to be recovered from.
In general, you don’t want to go to failure so stop anywhere from 1-3 reps before then.
Since pushup are difficult to do with weight, periodization is nearly impossible and it’s one of the best was to switch up your workouts in a way that will develop more strength and muscle in the long term.
Optimal Rep Ranges
The 500 pushup per day challenge sets you up for failure because anything over 30 reps is more endurance focused rather than strength or size focused. In general, most muscles can benefit from rep ranges from 1-10, 10-20 and 20-30 which is just one reason why loaded pressing exercises such as bench presses and chest presses are superior.
Don’t Do 500 Pushups Each Day and Start Benching With Dumbbells & a Barbell Instead
Overall, based on what we’ve discussed in this article, we want to emphasize that performing 500 pushups per day is not that good for getting chest gains and you should instead focus your efforts on developing a stronger bench press and dumbbell press since they weight can be increased periodically.
You can much more easily progressively overload these movements since switching weights and rep ranges is simple, ultimately making developing a stronger and more defined chest much easier.
There are many programs that exist out there to get good overall gains, with a beginner hypertrophy program being one the best for beginners. For more advanced trainees, focusing on a bench press pyramid routine is a great idea, or a chest toning workout plan.
To sum things up, my results from doing pushups every day were not that great and other anecdotal evidence, as well as sport science principles agrees with me that it is not that effective.
A better path to go down would be focusing on progressive overload in the gym since performing 500 pushups a day is just not that effective.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Doing X Amount of Pushups a Day, What Should I Eat To Get a Big Chest?
In order to get a big chest, there are only two things that you need to focus on when eating: firstly, ensure that you are eating in a caloric surplus. You should also aim to eat somewhere between .75-1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight; protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to getting big, so keep that in mind.
Should I Change Hand Width on Push Ups or Change My Grip?
Wide grip pushups will target your chest more than close grip pushups will, hitting the triceps a bit harder. You can certainly change your grip based on which muscle you want to target more, but ultimately, the hand width you use while performing pushups will not substantially change your results, though some people find that diamond pushups results are very different from standard wide-grip ones.
Are Certain Push Up Variations Better Than Others?
Pushup variations are not better than others. They are simply different; meaning, Hindu push ups benefits are very different from spiderman push ups benefits. They both work the chest to some extent, but overall, are very different from one another.
1Kukuchi, N., & Nakazato, K. (2017). Low-load bench press and push-up induce similar muscle hypertrophy and strength gain. Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness, 15(1), 37-42. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29541130/>
2Alizadeh, S., Rayner, M., Mahmoud, M., & Behm, D. (2020). Push-Ups vs. Bench Press Differences in Repetitions and Muscle Activation between Sexes. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 19(2), 289-297. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7196742/>
3van den Tillaar, R. (2019). Comparison of Kinematics and Muscle Activation between Push-up and Bench Press. Sports Medicine International Open, 3(3), E74-E81. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6728153/>
4Suprak, D., Bohannon, J., Morales, G., Stroschein, J., & San Juan, J. (2013). Scapular Kinematics and Shoulder Elevation in a Traditional Push-Up. Journal of Athletic Training, 48(6), 826-835. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3867095/>
5Israetel, M. (2020, October). Chest (Pecs) Growth Training Tips. Renaissance Periodization. Retrieved December 16, 2022, from <https://rpstrength.com/chest-training-tips-hypertrophy/>
6NotDanny. “I did 500 Push-ups Every Day for 30 Days. Here are my Results.” YouTube, 20 December 2019, Accessed 4 April 2023. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N23Sl05Rsjw>
7Aseel Soueid. “I Did 500 Push Ups A Day Like Andrew Tate.” YouTube, 15 September 2022, Accessed 4 April 2023. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chdin0qoy4M>
8Rido. “Man Doing Push Ups.” Canva. Accessed 14 April 2023. <https://www.canva.com/photos/MACV1ziJLCc-man-doing-push-ups/>