Social circles across the globe popularized the 100 push-ups a day challenge as a way to get fit and hold each other responsible, but it’s a bit intense to jump from 0-100 so people often ask “Is doing push ups everyday overtraining?12 Or is it okay to push the limits for a few weeks to a month?
Unfortunately, overtraining oftentimes gets a bad rap, is over-generalized, and turns into a myth that does more harm than good – hence the good bad myth.
Despite what the overtraining myth might imply, the U.S. Department of Health suggests pushups are healthy for people of all ages, and the true test of overtraining lies in performance – and once “push-upers” are aware of signs of overtraining, they can either adapt their approach, a program in a reset period, or work towards other forms of training to work on their chest.1
How to Notice Signs of Overtraining When it Comes to Pushups?
When it comes to overtraining, whether it be in regards to push-ups or other strength workouts, the body gives clear signals. When an individual’s system is becoming overexerted, the cues might start off subtly; however, it is important to pay close attention, because by the time the obvious signs of overtraining are present, it could be past the point of an easy correction and recovery could be prolonged.
Whether a person is doing push-ups 2 days in a row or doing push-ups every day for 3 months, if they are unable to recover from a session or cannot increase their volume (sets, repetitions, or weight), then familiarizing themself with a overtraining indicators can be helpful in evaluating their present situation as well as training efforts in the future.
Signs of overtraining include:
- Set and/or rep speed has decreased
- Reduction in repetitions per set and/or sets per session
- Excessive soreness or slow recovery
- Lasting fatigue
- Lack of motivation
- Persistent sickness
- Pain and/or injury2
If one or more of the above indicators are present before or while doing a push-up routine, it might be time to make some temporary adjustments or even an overall change.
Is Doing Push Ups Everyday Overtraining or Bad for You? Is Doing Push Ups Every Night Good for You?
Paying attention to how the body responds to daily and nightly push-ups is the key to figuring out if it’s harmful, beneficial, or continuing a good idea. For instance, 3 push-ups a day is most likely not detrimental, but won’t lead to noticeable muscle growth, while doing push-ups every hour could cause overexertion and injuries.
When trying to settle on a routine, easing in at the beginning and adjusting to make it more difficult can help individuals avoid the ill effects of overtraining. Starting with reps of 3 and adding 1 push-up a day, per set is a good way to ensure proper form, document recovery time, and reduce pain from overexertion.
Or in other words, don’t be afraid to start slow and add more pushups from there; the last thing newcomers want to do is get too sore too soon which increases the likelihood of giving up.
Which is Most Effective: Doing Push Ups Throughout The Day, Once a Day, or Every Other Day?
The frequency of training can make a big difference in how much volume can be done, how well one recovers, and in turn, how much muscles grow.
Much of the appeal of these daily, weekly, and monthly challenges is that push-ups are an efficient way to build chest and tricep muscles solely using body weight and are ideal for those who don’t have time to go to the gym.
But no matter the case, the most effective routine for push-ups is the same as building any target muscle group – through hypertrophy.
Most know that muscles are built by exercising them to the point that tiny tears occur and when repaired, it results in hypertrophy – A.K.A. muscle growth. So according to the University of Michigan, to achieve hypertrophy, a good starting point is 1 to 3 sets of repetitions between 2 and 6 times per week, where each set is performed to temporary muscle exhaustion.
Time to recover is of equal importance, and, depending on the intensity of the workout, could take up to 48 hours or more.3
Taking the above advice into account, the most effective push-up routine to build chest and tricep strength would consist of 2 or 3 sets of push-ups that include the current amount of push-ups one is able to properly perform for 2 or 3 days per week.
If someone is wanting to do push-ups 4 days a week or more, reducing sets to 1 or 2 per session may reduce the likelihood of overtraining. As strength increases, the number of repetitions in each set can also be increased, which will continue to promote hypertrophy.
I’m Doing 100 Pushups a Day – How Come I’m Not Seeing Results?
The number 100 is arbitrary when it is in reference to push-ups because that amount may be excessive for some while inadequate for others. Additionally, results from strength training are best seen when the proper combination of goals is accomplished.
The following are questions one should ask themself when not seeing desired results:
- Are muscles being given enough time to recover?
- Is the push-up form correct throughout all 100 push-ups?
- Is proper nutrition being achieved to fuel the body?
- Has sleep been adequate?
- Does completing 100 push-ups result in muscle exhaustion?4 Doing 5 push-ups every hour for 20 hours will not have the same impact on the body as doing 50 push-ups twice a day.
- Is strength increasing, but muscles aren’t getting bigger?
If the answer to one or more of the previous questions is no, then adjustments in training, rest, or form need to be made. Ensuring one meets the minimum effective volume (MEV) is going to be the biggest factor in achieving results and that essentially means, getting just enough volume to elicit growth and/or hypertrophy.
In most cases the MEV for chest muscles typically includes 6 sets per week, which can be done in as little as 2 sessions or spread out more throughout the week, assuming recovery time is given.5
Ensure You’re Doing Pushups With Proper Form
When engaging in a push-up routine, form is of utmost importance. While the answer to the question, “Is doing push ups everyday overtraining?” can be no, if the proper form isn’t utilized, it can feel like overtraining has occurred.
Using the improper form is not only ineffective, but it can cause injuries to wrists, shoulders, and even back pain.
Push Up Alternatives When it’s Too Easy or Too Hard
For those that are either having difficulty with classic push-ups or those who find them too easy, altering them to accommodate strength level is a great first step.
Doing push-ups on the knees, incline push-ups (moving hands to a raised surface such as a bench), or even standing push-ups will be less strenuous while still building strength.
Intermediate or advanced fitness enthusiasts could rotate between wide push-ups, narrow or diamond push-ups, and decline push-ups (feed raised above hand level) to challenge themselves during a workout or push-up challenge.
Machines and free weights are another great replacement for those having difficulties with push-ups as well as for those who need more of a challenge. Both the chest press and bench press are adjustable alternatives to push-ups that can fit every level of fitness.
How to Ensure You’re Not Overtraining by Doing Pushups Everyday
The key to not overtraining while doing push-ups daily is to listen to one’s body. Strength training includes pushing one’s self, but there is a vast difference between intensity and overexertion.
Applying the advice given below can pinpoint the causes of fatigue and offer relief when overtraining is taking its toll.
- Nutrition: Nourishing one’s self can ensure the energy needed to achieve workout goals. If the body is not receiving the correct fuel, then workouts will suffer and muscles will not recover properly.
- Technique: Push-ups are an exercise that has many variations and changing techniques, whether it be temporarily or frequently, could potentially help lessen stress on particular joints and muscles.
- Difficulty: Reducing the difficulty of the push-up routine during a single session by intentionally decreasing repetitions or sets can give muscles time to recuperate.6
- Recovery: Muscles need time to recover after every workout. The timeframe of recovery is dependent on the intensity of each session and, if not given the proper rest, muscles will not respond to workouts as desired. As touched on above in regards to technique, adjusting push-up variation may give muscle groups adequate time to recover as well as incorporate rest days.
- Download: Dedicating an entire week, typically every 8 to 10 weeks, to reducing the reps and sets off the push-up routine.7
Bigger Changes May Be Needed to Halt the Effects of Overtraining
If the changes above have been implemented and an individual is continuing to struggle and still asking “Is doing push ups everyday overtraining?”, then the answer may be yes and it could be time to look into a workout routine that involves more than push-ups.
Push-ups are a great way to target muscle growth in the triceps, shoulders, and pectoral muscles, but this does, however, leave a wide array of muscle groups underworked. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strengthening muscles throughout the body, as well as cardiovascular health, leads to a longer and healthier life.8
Implementing a well-rounded workout instead of focusing solely on push-ups could reduce or remove the consequences of overtraining.
If an individual asks, “Is doing push ups everyday overtraining?”, then concern has most likely already set in. Expanding the workout horizon may ease some worry that is associated with overtraining.
When an Overall Workout Protocol is Better Than Pushup Challenges
As convenient and useful as push-ups are, a proper workout routine will always reign supreme since it targets the entire body and ensures imbalances aren’t being strengthened.
Research has shown the importance of including the following exercise in routines:
- Endurance: This consists of activities that raise heart rate and breathing while exercising and can greatly improve cardiovascular health. A lively walk or jog, group dance class, swimming or water aerobics, or playing a sport are all great endurance exercises.
- Strength: Workouts that focus on large muscle groups help keep the body strong and moving. Weight lifting, resistance training, and body weight exercises will all contribute to strength gains and muscle growth.
- Balance and Flexibility: These two principles are both important basics in day-to-day life and need to be maintained so there is no decline in ability. Balance exercises are often combined with strength training, as balance relies on core muscles. Flexibility exercises are typically something that can be done after endurance and/or strength training to cool down when the muscles are already warmed up.9
If new to working out, finding a beginner guide can help introduce new techniques in a safe and effective way. Becoming familiar with how and when to work certain muscle groups can lead to the most efficient way to achieve results.
As beginners progress, if strength training becomes the focus, adding in more advanced programs, such as powerlifting, can be fun and challenging.
If one has the dedication to work out daily, they are already setting themselves up for success. Instead of asking the question, “Is doing push ups everyday overtraining?”, consider channeling that motivation and energy into full-body workouts that can give a wider range of benefits.
FAQ About Is Doing Push Ups Everyday Overtraining?
How Can I Tell If I am Overtraining?
One of the biggest indicators of overtraining is not seeing progress in terms of volume, such as reps and sets. The trouble with recovery, fatigue, motivation, and pain can also result from overtraining.
What’s the Best Way to Recover From Overtraining?
Reduce volume for a set or two to assess whether the body just needed a small break. If it is determined that more time is needed for recovery, consider deloading.
Is Doing Push-Ups Everyday Considered Overtraining?
Doing push-ups every day will not necessarily lead to overtraining if the proper volume and technique are utilized. Engaging in an excessive amount of push-ups for one’s strength level can, however, lead to fatigue and overtraining.
What Can I Do to Prevent Overtraining in the Future?
Ensuring the body receives adequate nutrition and that proper technique is a good basis for any workout routine. Ideally, a well-rounded cardiovascular and strength training program can reduce the likelihood of overtraining, especially when it is in reference to specific muscle groups.
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