Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Push ups 101: Press ups are the original body weight exercise!

Body weight exercises depend on fairly high reps and typically low resistance. The resistance can only be a maximum of your body weight by definition. The original example in the push-up (aka press up) which effectively is akin to a bench press with roughly half your body weight (45% actually). 

Why half? because your feet are on the floor acting like a pivot (fulcrum) and you are effectively levering up your body (load) which is on average half way between

However thats not to say push ups are easy, especially done correctly (ie with good form). Good form generally means keeping your body straight (no bum raising) and lowering to within 5-10cm of the floor

Different hand placements work slight different muscles, narrow hands work triceps vs wide which works anterior deltoid and pecs. Studies show during push ups there is 73-109% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) of the triceps, and 95-105% MVC of the pec major also with serratus anterior as the top back muscle with 75% MVC compared to 27% for the mid traps and 36% for the lower traps. Read more here

 If you find yourself cheating, then try push ups on weights or on a push up grip like this

Ok, thats the preamble. How many can you do? Based on national averages, a 40-year-old woman should be able to do 16 push-ups and a man the same age should be able to do 27. By the age of 60, those numbers drop to 17 for men and 6 for women. This chart may help

Still some way to go before grabbing a World record though? see http://www.recordholders.org/en/list/pushups.html or this list!:


  • non-stop: 10,507; Minoru Yoshida (JPN), Oct 1980 DETAILS
  • non-stop (women): 302 (without leaving the push-up position); Maria Tobar (USA), 23 August 2014 in Sacramento, USA
  • one year: 1,500,230; Paddy Doyle (GBR), Oct 1988 - Oct 1989
  • 24 hours: 46,001; Charles Servizio (USA), 24/25 April 1993 at Hesperia VIDEO
  • 1 hour: 3,877; Bijender Singh (IND), 20 Sept 1988 DETAILS AND NATIONAL RECORDS
  • 1 hour (women): 1020; Alicia Weber (USA), 1020, 13. August 2011 in Clermont, Florida, USA (in this hour, she did also 826 mountain climber exercises!)
  • 30 minutes (women): 829; Alicia Weber (USA), 8 February 2011 in Clermont, Florida, USA
  • 10 minutes (women): 450; Alicia Weber (USA), 24 May 2009 in Clermont, Florida, USA
  • 3 minutes (women): 190; Renata Hamplov√° (TCH), Record Festival Pelhrimov 1995
  • one minute: Record claims up to 199 in one minute have been made. We do, however, not continue to publish these record claims, because it became impossible to judge about the correctness of the exercises at this speed. The last record that was accepted by the Guinness Book of Records were138, achieved by Roy Berger (Canada) in on 28 February 2004 in Ottawa. Before, we have also verified 138 pushups in one minute, achieved by William T. Mello (USA) on 30 May 2002. The same statement applies for the category "100 push ups with legs on a 80 cm high table" where the last verified record was 45.7 seconds by Roy Berger (Canada), achieved on 24 February 2001 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • one-armed, one week (168 hours): 16,723; Paddy Doyle (GBR), Feb 1996 in Birmingham
  • one-armed, 5 hours: 8,794; Paddy Doyle (GBR), 12 Feb 1996 in Birmingham
  • one-armed, 1 hour: 2521; Paddy Doyle (GBR), 12 Feb 1990 in Birmingham
  • one-armed, 30 minutes: 1382; Doug Pruden (CAN), 30 July 2003 at the Body Quest Health Club Edmonton
  • one-armed, 10 minutes: 546; Doug Pruden (CAN), 30 July 2003 at the Body Quest Health Club Edmonton
  • one-armed, 10 minutes (women): 180; Alicia Weber (USA) on 23 September 2011 in Clermont, Florida
  • one-armed, on back of hands, one hour: 1025; Doug Pruden (CAN) at the Don Wheaton Family YMCA in Edmonton, 8 November 2008
  • one-handed handstand pushups: Yury Tikhonovich (RUS) did twelve pushups while standing on one hand in June 2006 at the Starclub variete in Kassel (Germany). He repeats this feat almost every day in the rehearsal for his show VIDEO (AVI, 1.3 MB)
  • on fists: 5557 (in 3:02:30 hours), Doug Pruden (CAN), 9 July 2004, Body Quest Health Club Edmonton
  • 1000 pushups on fists: 18:13 minutes, Doug Pruden (CAN), 9 July 2003 at the Body Quest Health Club Edmonton
  • on back of hands, 15 minutes: 627; Paddy Doyle (GBR), 8 November 2007, Stamina's Boxing Self Defence Gym, Erdington, Birmingham RECORD HISTORY
  • on back of hands, 15 minutes (women): 385 (including a record of 251 consecutive ones without leaving the push-up position); Eva Clarke (Australia), 19 June 2013 at Gems American Academy in  Abu Dhabi, UAE VIDEO
  • on back of hands, 30 minutes: 1386; Paddy Doyle (GBR), 8 November 2007, Stamina's Boxing Self Defence Gym, Erdington, Birmingham RECORD HISTORY
  • on back of hands, 1 hour: 1940; Paddy Doyle (GBR), 8 November 2007, Stamina's Boxing Self Defence Gym, Erdington, Birmingham RECORD HISTORY
  • finger-tips, 5 hours: 8,200; Terry Cole (GBR), 11 May 1996 in Walthamstow
  • one finger: 124 Paul Lynch (GBR), 21 April 1992 in London
  • on both thumbs with 30 kg extra weight: 20 David Zhorzholiani (GEO), 19 October 2013 in Marneuli, Georgia
  • with a 50 lb [22.68 kg] plate weight on his back: 4,100: Paddy Doyle (GBR), 28 May 1987 in Birmingham
  • with hands on raw eggs: 112; Johann Schneider (AUT) / a video can be downloaded here as Quicktime video (1.2 MB) or AVI video (1.4 MB)
  • one-armed, with hand on a raw egg: 8; Darryl Learie (Canada), 5 January 2012 in the city TV studio at Breakfast Television Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. VIDEOTHE STORY BEHIND THE RECORD
  • while balancing on three medicine balls (diameter: 24 cm), 1 minute: 70: Joh-A Kpalete (GER/TOG) on 8 December 2014 at Powrx fitness company in K√∂ngen, Germany
  • while balancing on three medicine balls (diameter: 22 cm), 1 minute (women): 61; April Calderon on 14 September 2012 at Millennium Park in Chicago VIDEO
  • Planche pushups, 1 minute: double amputee Temur Dadiani (GEO) did 36 planche pushups (starting from and returning to a planche position) on 3 August 2014 at The Ministry of Defence of Georgia, in Tbilisi. VIDEO
  • Bakasana Pushups: 42 while keeping the "Bakasana" (crow) yoga position, Kukuri Salbishvili (GEO), 16 September 2014 in the Ksani #15 prison, Georgia VIDEO
  • 4 hr relay (team of 10): 17104 by a team at Owensboro Middle School (Kentucky, USA) on 30 June 2012. The team members were Bob O'Brien, Mark Kahn, Scott Lowe, James Egbert, Marcus Winstead, Khiry Maddox, Collin Carrico, Mazden Ng, Anthony Tate and Chris Vessels.

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