Despite the fact that the American College of Sports Medicine has put in place nationwide standards of between 13 and 28 repetitions for men between the ages of 20 and 49, and 11 to 20 repetitions for women of the same age category, the majority of adults cannot perform more than 10 push-ups
Survey Question & Findings
The survey asked 2,000 American adults the following question:
How many push-ups can you do in a row?
According to the survey’s findings, 53.8% of men and women reported that they can perform only 10 or fewer push-ups in succession. Among those who reported they were unable to do more than 10 push-ups, 69% were women and 31% were men. Their ages were evenly distributed between a range of 18 to “65+” years.
Age wasn’t the only factor limiting the participants’ abilities. The majority of those who fell into the “5 or fewer” response category were under the age of 55. In total, a sum of 740 participants were a part of the “5 or fewer” category, indicating they could perform only a maximum of five repetitions without stopping.
The response group with the fewest participants was the “31 to 40” category, of whom there were only 99 responses. Perhaps surprisingly, 11.8% of respondents indicated that they can perform 51 or more consecutive push-ups, which far exceeds national benchmarks.
These findings indicate that there may be a bimodal distribution, in which respondents are disproportionately clustered around the high and low extremes.
Additionally, those who indicated that they could perform no more than 5 consecutive push-ups (36.4% of all respondents) outnumbered those who claimed to be able to do 21 or more (32.2%).
The survey was designed and published by Gymless.org, a free calisthenics education website. Responses were gathered across all 50 U.S. states over a two-week period starting August 3, 2021 and were published on September 1.
Amine Rahal, the founder and CEO of Gymless, commented on the significance of the findings. “These results are interesting because they indicate that the average American cannot meet standard benchmarks for push-up performance,” he says. “In fact, they may suggest that we’ve seen a regression in push-up capacity in recent years.”
The authors of the survey maintain that push-ups aren’t merely a bodyweight strength exercise from gym class. Rather, they’re a key indicator of one’s physical health.