How Many Push-Ups a Day for Better Abs?
Sculpting a ripped set of abs might do wonders for your confidence when you're in your swimsuit, but a strong core also has such health benefits as improving your posture and alleviating back pain. You can build your abs through a variety of bodyweight exercises, including push-ups. Although it can be tempting to perform marathon push-up sessions daily, you must allow time for muscle recovery.
Push-ups are a useful exercise to add to your workout regimen because of their versatility; whether you're at home, on vacation or in the gym, it's simple to perform this exercise. Begin your set of push-ups by lying face down on the floor with your arms bent and your palms touching the floor outside your shoulders. Engage your core muscles and straighten your arms to lift your body so your hands and toes are supporting your weight. Keep your core tight and lower your body to the starting position.
Although many people use push-ups as an exercise to strengthen their abdominal muscles, the target muscles of this exercise are your pectoral muscles, located on each side of your chest. Your abs, however, play a role in the execution of push-ups. Your abs are stabilizer muscles, which means they contract to help you achieve the movement. Your obliques, found on the sides of your lower torso, are also stabilizer muscles during this exercise.
The Right Amount of Push-Ups
As is the case with any muscle group, you must give your abs time to recover between workouts. The length of time needed for recovery varies from person to person, but typically, you should not exercise your abs on consecutive days. The American Council on Exercise also advises against lengthy ab-training sessions, noting up to three sets of 25 reps is more than enough to contribute to ab development. Always abstain from working your abs if they're still aching from a previous workout. If you perform three sets of 25 push-ups three days a week for several weeks, you're likely to eventually build defined abs.
Other Ab Exercises
Although push-ups can help strengthen your core, a number of other ab exercises can help you build your abs quickly. Exercises such as the bicycle maneuver, captain's chair and vertical-leg crunch are all effective ways to build your abs. Other ab exercises to consider include traditional crunches, ab wheel rollouts and reverse crunches. Perform these exercises as an alternative to push-ups but always allow time for your muscles to recover.
- Harvard Medical School: The Real-World Benefits of Strengthening Your Core
- ExRx.net: Push-Up
- ExRx.net: Kinesiology Glossary
- American Council on Exercise: Should I Train My Abdominals Every Day? Also, What Ab Exercises Are Best?
- Davey Wavey Fitness: How Often Should You Exercise Your Abs?
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.