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Pushups work your chest, shoulders and triceps, along with your core, upper back and butt muscles. They're a popular strength- and muscle-building exercise in many body-weight and home gym training plans as they don't require any equipment to perform and can be varied to suit all ability levels. Many programs recommend daily pushup workouts as a way of increasing your pushup numbers and building muscular endurance, but there is some concern over whether doing an exercise every day is safe.
It's important to take adequate time off between training sessions, says the American Council on Exercise. Muscle soreness is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. The soreness usually starts around 24 hours after you finish your session and can last for a further 48 hours. Over time, your body will adapt to training and you're far less likely to ache after training, but performing pushups every day, especially when starting out, could lead to excessive muscle soreness.
Overtraining is a serious condition caused when you train at a very high intensity far too often. Symptoms of overtraining include reduced appetite, trouble sleeping, lower testosterone levels, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, weight loss, higher resting heart rate and a decrease in performance, according to trainer Charles Staley, creator of Escalating Density Training. However, for true overtraining to occur you also need to be lacking sleep, undernourished and training past the point of failure in all your sessions. While there is a risk that you could become overtrained from doing pushups every day, you'd likely have to be doing other forms of training at a very high intensity and not eating or sleeping, too.
"Grease the Groove"
There is a method of training that encourages performing daily pushups. Designed by strength coach and creator of the Russian Kettlebell Certification Pavel Tsatsouline, the Grease the Groove method is often recommended as a way of increasing your pushup score. The key here is regulating the intensity. Tsatsouline advises performing half your maximum number of pushups at various points during the day. If you can do 20 pushups, you would perform a set of 10 every few hours. This increases your training volume and work capacity, but as you stop each set well short of failure, you don't risk fatigue or injury.
Provided you're using perfect technique, not training past the point of failure and getting adequate sleep and a good diet, it's unlikely that performing pushups every day will be bad for you. However, it's not necessary, either. Even Tsatsouline advises taking one day off a week to give yourself a mental and physical break. You also need to plan time for other forms of exercise, as just doing pushups can lead to muscular imbalances. If you do decide to do pushups every day, then regulate your intensity; if you're not feeling in top form, just do a few easy sets and leave it there. Daily pushups are far better suited to more advanced trainers.