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Push-ups – to assess upper-body muscular endurance

How push-ups exercise improves upper-body strength

Push-ups are a great indicator of your upper body strength and the progress of your muscle building exercise. Here's our guide to using push-ups as a way of seeing whether your exercise routine needs to be further developed.

young man doing push-ups

Technically, this test measures muscular endurance rather than pure strength, as it is based on how many you can do in a fixed period of time rather than how much weight you can lift – but it is still a respectable measure of upper-body brawn. Push-ups challenge the chest, shoulder and upper arm muscles – and require good core stability.

How to do this exercise


Assume a push-up position (if you can’t do any push-ups, then assume a modified position with your knees and lower legs on the floor). Each repetition must be executed with good technique: the body should remain in a straight line, the head should be in line with the spine, and the arms should bend to at least 90 degrees.

Results of this exercise technique:

  • 30 or more for men / 25 or more for women = excellent
  • 25 to 29 for men / 20 to 24 for women = good
  • 20 to 24 for men / 15 to 19 for women = not bad
  • 19 or less for men / 14 or less for women = needs work!

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