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Push-up capacity had a stronger inverse association with heart disease than aerobic fitness estimated by a submaximal treadmill test.
@rhonda this is a really poor study. Or at least the conclusions drawn from it and trumpeted through the media are poorly supported by the study.
Take a look here: http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2019/02/18/pushups-and-heart-attacks-the-usual-harvard-nonsense/
Basically the ability to do some number of push-up stratifies the firefighters into age groups. When age is accounted for there is significant differences between only two groups. This presumably disappears when smoking is taken into account since the authors didn’t do that test. (Although they did collect the smoking status of the participants.)
Yeah as I looked closer at the study I see some of the analysis did not account for all confounding factors. It is always difficult to establish causation with these types of studies and statistical adjustment for age and BMI suggested that some of the risk reduction seen with higher push-up categories was accounted for by these characteristics. Also, the study assessed the association between push-ups and cardiovascular disease events. These results do not support push-up capacity as an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. However, a higher level of muscular strength has been associated with lower cardiometabolic risk independent of cardiorespiratory fitness in other studies. Muscular strength has also been shown to have an independent protective effect for all-cause mortality and hypertension in healthy men.
I think the bottom line is it doesn’t hurt to do your best to stay fit and try to crush it with your push-ups!
Okay, I just tried it. No metronome, so I don’t know if I was keeping pace. (80 beats per minute). I got 33 with my back flat, touching the floor each rep. I’m 56, non-smoker. No history of firefighting…
Looking around the web at “fitness levels”, most regard that number of pushups, 40 for men (roughly an average of 25 for women) to be an advanced level athlete or as many divide them, a level 3 of a 4 level range. These athletes can normally also do 20 strict pull-ups for men (14 for women). I mention pull-ups because in my experience the majority of people I know can not do 1. Would love to see more news or interviews/ studies with stats on these kind of higher level fitness correlations to health.