Physical activity guidelines for Americans says that for best results in addition to 150 min aerobic exercise one should do

Physical activities to strengthen your muscles are recommended at least 2 days a week

My question is if I do say only push ups for 2 days, does that satisfy above need? Say 20-30 push ups on each day with breaks. If no what is the minimum program for this section?


if I do say only push ups for 2 days, does that satisfy above need? Say 20-30 push ups on each day with breaks.

If I am not mistaken, you found the advice here. The point of that page is simply to give the bare minimum amount of exercise that we should be doing. The more you do, the more benefits you will receive. On that page it mentions that you need to work out all major muscle groups. Pushups will primarily work out your pecs, shoulders, and triceps. This still leaves your legs, hips, back, abdomen, and the rest of your arms.

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If no what is the minimum program for this section?

Again, I can't stress this enough, the more you do, the more benefits you will receive (up to a certain point, but it doesn't sound like you have the mindset to even get close to overtraining). Your question simply asks what is the minimum amount of work you can do to fulfil the governments recommendation. Although I believe that is the wrong mindset when it comes to fitness, here are a few which together can fulfil that recommendation:

Pushups - Chest, Shoulders, Pec, Triceps.

Body weight squats - Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, Adductor, Hip Flexors, Calves.

Supermans, inverted rows, or pull ups - These are all back exercises that you should progress through depending on your fitness level. Supermans are easiest, inverted rows are a bit harder, and finally pull ups are the hardest.

Each exercise above slightly works the abdominals as well, so each muscle group that they recommend is covered.

To build strength you must increase the number of reps over time, this is called progressive overload. This means that simply doing 20-30 every day, forever, will lose the benefits that it first had. You will remain at the same strength unless you increase the repetitions/weight over time. Say you can do 30 reps max, then you could try doing 3 sets of 20 with 1-2 minute breaks between sets. The next workout you should try to increase one of the reps by at least 1. So instead of 20x20x20 shoot for 20x20x21. It is perfectly normal to not see improvements on many workouts, but the goal is to always be improving.

Although exercise is important, your diet is going to have a much larger impact on your health than any amount of exercise you can do. You need to have good food, proper amounts of sleep, and enough exercise to live a healthy life.

  • Thanks a lot, sometimes I am confused with this terminology like reps. So you say I do say 30 pushup, 30 squat and 30 superman. We call it one SET. Then you say I do say 3 such SETS? (I understood the part about increasing 30 from time to time). PS Also do you know if 30 min stationary bike 5 times a week would fulfill the aerobic requirements part? Thanks a lot
    – user35051
    Mar 30 at 8:00
  • A rep is one movement, like 1 pushup. A set is a group of movements, so one set would be like 30 pushups. So when I say 20x20x20, I am saying 3 sets of 20. This means you do 20 pushups, rest a minute, do 20 pushups, rest a minute, do your final 20 pushups. Mar 30 at 16:23
  • 30 min of stationary bike 5 times a week is excellent! Again, this works the same as normal strength training. You want to progressively overload. So say you start on difficulty 4 for the first day and go the whole 30 minutes. The next time try difficulty 5 for the last couple minutes or maybe do difficulty 4 for 31 minutes. Every day you want to attempt to go a little harder. Consistency is the key here as well. Mar 30 at 16:27
  • just to make sure, so you say if I do say 30 min of stationary bike 5 times a week, and do this forever, without increasing the difficulty, then it will be same as if I hadn't exercised in the first place? (in terms of health benefits). The recommendations didn't say that, for example they say for aerobic part: to do 150 min moderate activity per week
    – user35093
    Apr 4 at 16:23
  • It isn't that you won't get any benefits, but you don't instantly get benefits from working out. You will slowly get healthier and healthier over time, as long as you keep pushing yourself to do better. I guess one way of thinking about it would be with someone who is very unhealthy. Say this person can only ride their stationary bike at difficulty 2 for 10 min. It is great for them to start near that difficulty, but if they don't eventually move onto difficulty 3 once they are able, then they likely won't ever be fit enough for difficulty 4+. Apr 5 at 15:32

No push ups alone is not enough. You also need to train your back and your legs.

Push ups, inverted rows and bodyweight squats is one minimum combination.

If you do them fast you also get some aerobic exercise.

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