Can You Do Push Ups the Day After a Chest Workout?

Man doing pushups

When you organize your workout routine, you want to plan your exercises in the order that gives you the best results. Your workout order also keeps you injury free and at peak performance levels for each fitness session. Muscles need recovery time to repair and grow, so use caution when performing pushups the day after your chest workouts.

Chest Workout

Your weight-training chest workout may include exercises such as the bench press, chest fly, pec deck, machine chest press and pullover. All of these exercises strengthen your pectoral muscles across your chest. Pushups are also a chest-strengthening exercise that targets your pectoral muscles. Your chest exercises use your arms to push the resistance, so your assisting muscles usually include your shoulders and triceps.


The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides exercises guidelines for adults. These recommendations include strength training and suggest that adults strengthen each muscle group two or three days a week. The ACSM also suggests a 48-hour recovery time in between strength-training sessions. So, when asking if you should perform pushups the day after your chest workouts, the ACSM would tell you no; you need 48 hours for muscle recovery.

Muscle Recovery

You may feel strong and able to perform pushups the day following your chest workout, but if you look at what occurs in your muscle tissue, you may want to reserve your pushups for your chest workout day. Your muscles undergo trauma when you strength train. Soon after, the muscle cells try to return to a pre-workout state, rebuild the energy sources, replace the cellular enzymes and encourage oxygen flow. The goal with recovery is to return to your pre-workout strength, or slightly stronger. This process requires time of at least one to two days of rest.


If you do not allow proper muscle recovery time, you will feel the effects. Your pushups will not be as strong, your form will suffer or you will tire quicker. You may experience more muscle soreness than if you took the time to rest. If you continue to deny your muscles recovery, you may be more susceptible to injuries, illness, a decrease in appetite or difficulty sleeping. Gaining strength is a good goal, but use caution when scheduling your workout days. Avoid exercising your pectoral muscles two days in a row, so you return to your workout strong and healthy.