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Are Push Ups Functional?

Push-ups are considered a functional exercise because they mimic movements that are essential for everyday activities and sports.


Here are some ways that push-ups are functional:

  1. Upper body strength: Push-ups are primarily an upper body exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. These muscles are important for activities such as pushing open a heavy door, carrying groceries, or lifting a child.

  2. Core stability: Push-ups require engagement of the core muscles, including the abdominals and lower back, to maintain proper form and stability throughout the movement. This helps improve overall core strength, which is important for maintaining good posture and preventing lower back pain.

  3. Balance and coordination: During a push-up, the lifter must maintain balance and coordination by keeping the body in a straight line from head to heels. This improves overall body awareness and coordination, which is important for sports and other activities that require quick and precise movements.

  4. Flexibility: Performing push-ups requires a good range of motion in the shoulders and wrists, which can help improve overall upper body flexibility and mobility.

  5. Minimal equipment needed: Push-ups can be performed anywhere without the need for equipment, making them a convenient and accessible exercise for people of all fitness levels.

Overall, push-ups are a functional exercise that can help improve upper body strength, core stability, balance and coordination, flexibility, and can be performed anywhere with minimal equipment needed.


If you're unable to do a full push-up, there are a few modifications you can do to work your way up to it:

  1. Incline Push-ups: Start with incline push-ups, where you place your hands on an elevated surface, such as a bench or a step, and perform the push-up from there. This modification reduces the amount of weight you have to lift, making it easier to perform the exercise.

  2. Knee Push-ups: Knee push-ups are another modification that can make push-ups more accessible. Start in a plank position, but instead of keeping your legs straight, place your knees on the ground. Perform the push-up from this position.

  3. Wall Push-ups: If incline and knee push-ups are still too challenging, try wall push-ups. Stand facing a wall, place your hands on the wall at shoulder height, and lean forward to perform the push-up.

  4. Eccentric Push-ups: Eccentric push-ups focus on the lowering (or eccentric) phase of the push-up. Start in a plank position and slowly lower yourself to the ground, taking around 4-5 seconds to lower your body. Once you're on the ground, push yourself back up to the starting position using your knees, and repeat.

It's essential to practice proper form and technique when performing push-ups, no matter which modification you choose. As you become stronger, you can gradually increase the difficulty level by progressing to lower inclines, moving from knee to toe push-ups, and eventually performing full push-ups.


It's more important to perform quality push ups than a certain quantity of push ups. Modifications help you build the strength needed to perform a full push up without damaging the shoulder, creating tension in the neck, or straining the low back.

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