Podcast > Episodes

episode #345

Fit or Not: The Connection Between Push-Ups and Heart Health

April 3, 2024 in Podcast


This week I discuss a study that was done in February 2019, which looked at the association between push-up exercise capacity and future cardiovascular events among active adult men.

The study found that participants who were able to complete more than 40 push-ups had a significantly lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease events compared to those who completed fewer than 10 push-ups. The study used push-up capacity as an objective measurement of fitness and cardiovascular disease risk.

I recommend using push-ups as a baseline test to monitor and measure fitness progress.

Brian (1s):

Hello and welcome to the GETLEAN and Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I'm a certified health coach, trainer and author, and this podcast is for middle aged men and women looking to optimize their health and get their bodies back to what it once was 10 to 15 years ago. I will give you simple, actionable items to get long term sustainable results. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show. All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I hope you get a great weekend and happy Tuesday if you're listening to this on Tuesday. Hope you had a chance to listen to my interview with functional medicine practitioner Dr. David Strom.

Brian (45s):

We touch on optimizing the gut, addressing hormonal imbalances, epigenetics advancements in anti-aging, and much, much more. So if you haven't already, I highly recommend my interview with Dr. David Strom. That's episode 3 44. Now on today's micro podcast, we are gonna touch on a study that was done in February of 2019, and I'm gonna share my screen with you real quick so you can see exactly what I'm talking about. I will also leave a link in the show notes and here we go. The title of the study was The Association Between Push up exercise capacity and future cardiovascular events among active adult men.

Brian (1m 26s):

Really interesting study and the purpose ma mainly of this study was to show individuals if there was an association between fitness and cardiovascular disease risk and sort of a baseline objective measurement, and they used pushup capacity as that measurement. So the nice thing about this is we can do this at our home, anywhere in our office. And even if you can't do one pushup, you can start with your knees and work your way up. I love to put my clients through this test every so often just to get a feel of general strength because obviously no cost, you don't need machinery.

Brian (2m 8s):

Sort of a simple measurement and you know, maybe try it every every month to see where you're at and you can start from your knees and, and slowly the work off your knees. But either way, loved sort of how they took this objective clinical assessment based on pushup capacity and seeing if there was any relation to cardiovascular events. And. what they found was participants that were able to complete more than 40 pushups were associated with a significant reduction in incident cardiovascular disease events compared with those completing fewer than 10 pushups. So this was done over a 10 year period from 2000 to 2010.

Brian (2m 52s):

And really interesting, they sort of looked at five different levels of pushups, anywhere from zero to 10, 11 to 2021 to 30, 31 to 40 and greater than 40. They took 1,562 participants. And these were firefighters, middle aged individuals, the average age was about 39.6. The mean BMI was 28.7 and they did a 10 year follow up on all these. So, like I said to to, to you before, maybe this is a good goal, try to shoot for over 40 pushups. Not easy, but the participants who were able to complete more than 40 pushups were associated with a significantly lower risk of incident CVD event risk compared with those completing fewer than 10 pushups.

Brian (3m 39s):

Now obviously like any study, there are strengths and weaknesses. One of the, you know, some of the strengths of the study were the fact that sort of, there's this use of an objective surrogate measure of functional status, pushup capacity from baseline physical examinations. Although pushup capacity may be influenced by technique and practice, the use of a standardized protocol for pushup performance by clinic staff would minimize the effect of technique on capacity So. they were, they were monitored and measured objectively the same way every time they did the pushups. you know, some of the limitations for, for example, the study as assessed association between, you know, pushups and CVD events, the results do not support pushup capacity as an independent pre predictor of cardiovascular risk disease.

Brian (4m 29s):

Second, the, the study cohort consists of middle aged occupational active men. So the study results may not be generalizable to women, older or non-active persons or other occupational groups or unemployed individuals. So obviously there's some, there's, there's always limitations with studies. These were middle aged men, but I think in general we can understand that the a way to assess strength could be a lot of different ways, but something like this as a pushup capacity is a great place to start. So participants were able to complete more than 40 pushups were associated with a significant reduction in a cardiovascular event.

Brian (5m 10s):

And the individuals that weren't able to do 10 had a much higher risk. And so that was the main thing I wanted to touch on regarding this study. But what I would say to you is you start using this as a baseline and whatever you can do, take it from there. Measure yourself maybe once every couple weeks to see where you're at. Part of the reason why I wanted to show you this study is the fact that I think it's important to monitor and measure where you're at. And if you're not going to measure every single workout that you're doing on an app or in a journal, that's fine, but maybe take a baseline test something like a pushup test and use that as your sort of barometer as far as how your fitness is, is expanding and getting better.

Brian (5m 60s):

Some people do it with maybe VO two max is something you can get measured as well, but you know that those take a certain type of technology to be to be get done and you have to go to a facility this you could do at the luxury of your own home. And it's sort of a great way to see how your advancements are coming. you know, I like to use this for my clients also like to do use DEXA scans as well. And I think it's important to, to just gain little wins. Those will be motivating for you to take further action and to keep working on your health and fitness because it's all about building momentum. And if you can see advancements in pushups, I think that this can sort of spur you on to be active and healthy and eat well and sort of create this snowball effect that'll lead to a lot greater things than just increasing your pushups.

Brian (6m 50s):

So that's all I wanna touch on today. I appreciate you listening to the podcast. If you love it, please leave a five star review on any of the listening devices, iTunes, Spotify, you name it. And I look forward to talking with you on Friday with another great interview. Thanks so much for listening. Thanks for listening to the Get Lean Eat Clean Podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned in this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was.

Brian (7m 32s):

Thanks again and have a great day.

wanna talk to brian?

Schedule a free 15 min consultation