Physical Fitness Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've been out of shape for several years, but finally starting to get back into exercising.

I've been doing pretty heavy aerobic exercises for the past two months. For the most part, I'm doing ok - not in tip-top shape yet, but definitely doing a lot better than I have in years.

One thing that still gets me - whenever I try to do push-ups (or anything else where I'm facing the floor), I seem to have a lot of trouble. It's hard to describe, but it just seems like I'm not able to breathe right, and I lose energy fast. I can run, jump, do all kinds of things standing up, but as soon as I hit the floor I'm only good for a few seconds before I crash or have to stand up.

Is this common, or indicative of any problem? Or do you think it's just something I need to work through and gradually learn how to overcome?


share|improve this question
I doubt this type of question will receive a satisfactory answer, as you haven't--and really can't in a forum setting--provided enough information to diagnose the problem. Keep at it, and if it doesn't get easier after a consecutive month, see a doctor. If it really worries you, see a doctor sooner. – eykanal Dec 21 '11 at 4:49
@eykanal Thanks for the comment. I know I won't get a full diagnosis or totally accurate personalized answer - just hoping someone's had similar experience and can describe techniques that helped them. – Joe Enos Dec 21 '11 at 11:50
Does this only happen with push-ups? What about lying completely face down on the floor with no support? Or on your back? Does it only happen after doing aerboic activity or does it also occur when you're in a non-active state? What other things do you do that face the floor? – Matt Chan Dec 21 '11 at 14:04
@MattChan Push-ups, in-and-out's (or whatever it's called when you're in a push-up position and jump in and out or side-to-side), or even just in the push-up position and staying still. It seems to be when I'm exercising heavily, so my heart rate and breathing are already high - if I'm starting at rest, I seem to be able to get down and do some push-ups, but I haven't tried pushing myself right away from rest. I don't notice any problems while just lying at rest face-down on the floor, or while on my back. Thanks. – Joe Enos Dec 21 '11 at 15:28
I too have this problem. I'm fine with standing exercises, but burpees, prolonged pushups, planks and I just run out of breath. If I'm on my back, it's not as bad either. Abs don't cause this out of breath problem. It's not a function of conditioning either. I've been exercising for years. I've asked my doctors, but they don't really seem to have an answer. It seems that if my core is heavily engaged, I can't get air in and out of my lungs. – user15991 Jun 11 '15 at 23:32
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It might be that you're getting your lower body in shape, with the focus on aerobic, but not your upper body - the difference between doing jumps/running and pushups is that you're using your upper body chest, arms, back. Sounds like you need a full body workout plan and one that includes more weight training to increase strength as well as your endurance levels. Include all the basics: squats, deadlifts, bench and overhead presses. Start light and work your way up. Make a goal of doing x pushups by a given date. Don't give up and good luck.

share|improve this answer
Thanks - I'm looking into some more formal training, so hopefully that's all it is, that I need to work a little differently. – Joe Enos Dec 21 '11 at 15:31

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.