You can determine the average number of push-ups you can perform by having someone watch your proper form and count the number of push-ups you can do before collapsing. That's because push-up tests typically use an exhaustion factor when determining an average. Timed tests are not the standard as they may encourage fast-paced movement that threatens and compromises form and technique.
The Push-Up Test
You must use proper form to get an accurate result from the push-up test. To begin, place your hands flat on the floor a little wider than shoulder distance apart. Straighten your arms and extend your legs so that you are supporting your body weight on your hands and toes. Focus on the ground about six inches in front of your hands as you bend your elbows to lower your weight until your chest almost touches the ground. Exhale as you straighten your arms and lift your weight. It is important to move in one complete unit, using your chest, shoulders, back, and arms to push your weight against gravity.To get a true assessment of your current push-up performance ability, maintain proper form.
Remember that in order for a push-up to count towards your total, it has to be performed correctly. When your muscles completely fatigue or when you lose good form, the test is over. Your results will likely range from 1 to 60 push-ups. An average man in his twenties can do 17 to 29 push-ups, while the average for a male in his thirties is 13 to 24 and when a man gets into his forties it's just 11 to 20.
The Path Towards Improvement
When you weight train, you will improve your strength, your performance and your overall health. Beginning in your mid-thirties, you will naturally lose about a pound of muscle each year. Weight training can combat that loss so that instead of replacing your muscle loss with fat, you can replace it with muscle. As your muscle mass increases, so will your strength and endurance allowing you to do more push-ups in a shorter amount of time. If completing one push-up is challenging, in addition to weight training, practice your push-ups using a modified form at first. You can modify your form by performing push-ups on the ground on your knees, on an incline by placing your hands on a secure bench, or on an even smaller angle by standing and performing push-ups with your hands on the wall.
Although push-ups primarily test your upper body strength, they do involve muscles in the hips, legs, core, and upper body, and are therefore a revealing indicator of your total body strength (See Reference 4). Push-ups can assist in building strength when you are young and can help retain strength as you age. Push-ups can also help you develop muscle memory that can help you better catch yourself and prevent an injury in the event that you fall. By understanding proper push-up form, gathering an assessment of your current push-up performance, setting a goal, and working to get stronger, you can realize the many benefits of push-ups while working to meet and exceed the average amount of push-ups males can typically execute.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images