There’s a lot of information floating around the internet that might claim to answer the question, “How many pushups a day should I be able to do?” While there are national averages that could give you a good idea of a number, there’s no one-size-fits-all here.
Pushups are the classic exercise to prove strength and endurance and they’re easy enough to perform anywhere. A favorite of drill sergeants and fitness gurus alike, here we’ll go into why there isn’t a magic number for how many pushups a day is best, but there are ways you can still improve to meet your goals.
Depends on Various Factors
The short answer to the question of how many pushups a day should I be doing depends on a lot of different factors. Everyone is willing to tell you a specific magic number but the truth is, your target will be unique to you.
Depending on your age, weight, height, level of physical fitness, body composition, and gender, you might have a different maximum than your peers, which is perfectly normal. Though, according to some doctors and the national averages among U.S. adults practicing pushups, there is a roundabout number that you should be able to meet.
For men, the average number of pushups you should do daily falls anywhere between 11 and 26, depending on your age. For women, the average number is between 8 and 15. Use these numbers as a starting point and go from there.
How to Improve the Number of Pushups You Can Do
First things first – to improve your fitness and to do more pushups, you must start with good form. Until you’ve mastered traditional pushups with the correct form, you shouldn’t move on to a higher number of reps or a more difficult pushup variation.
Correct Form for a Traditional Pushup:
- Start in a plank position with wrists directly beneath shoulders, knees and core lifted, forming a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
- Bend at the elbows until your chest reaches the floor.
- Push up with control until your elbows are fully straight.
- Maintain the plank position throughout the entire exercise.
How many pushups a day to do will depend on your current maximum number of reps. Using the correct form, complete as many pushups as you can to the point of failure. That will be your new reference point. When looking to improve that number, start by doing two less than your full maximum, and with 30-second breaks in between, complete four sets at a time.
After a week, test your new maximum and do the same thing until you meet your goal, whether that’s simply to meet military requirements, do 50 pushups at a time, or 200 pushups a day.
Disclaimer – doing 200 or 300 pushups a day are usually only attempted as part of a pushup challenge or to train for a specific goal. These challenges only last about a week and shouldn’t be done more than once every six months.
When it comes to military fitness requirements, there are certain standards you’ll need to meet in order to qualify as a candidate to serve. But, these numbers aren’t as scary as you might think. To do the standard number of pushups necessary to serve in the military it may require a bit of discipline, but these numbers are definitely doable.
For example, to meet the requirements for the U.S. Army, men will need to complete between 24 to 35 pushups at a time while women need to complete between 6 to 13 pushups at a time. These standards are dependant on your age and are certainly attainable goals.
Overall, there’s not a perfect number that solves the problem of how many pushups a day will work best for you. It’s something you’ll need to find out for yourself and work towards attaining.