Are push-ups good?My colleagues have answered this question thoroughly, so I won't belabor the point: yes. Push-ups are EXCELLENT excercises which have stood the test of time; they are simple, require ZERO equipment, and when done properly, can whip a man's body into shape quickly without overly bulking him up. (Still unsure? Check any prison or jail. Bored inmates need to use the weights to bulk up; but push-ups? They can do all day long in their cells to remain fit and quick on the defensive.)
I've always envied the speed at which men can transform their evolution-hunter-targeted bodies so quickly, too, as opposed to women's fat-hoarding, propagate-the-species, gatherer bodies. Oh, that our currently bizarre societal trend for sickly underweight women will soon pass....
Speaking of women – and while I'm at it, trying to make this answer relevant, compared to my colleagues' – other readers may be wondering about "women's" push-ups. Are they any good at all, or are they a useless vestige from the past, like riding sidesaddle?
For that, let's go to the U.S. Army. Whatever your opinion of that bunch, one cannot argue their excellence at churning out lean, strong soldiers of all genders: just shhh! (Don't ask about which.)
Basically, they leave it up to the women to bend their knees or not; it's optional. The British Army simply maintains two standards: one for women, one for men. As to how one gets treated if one opts for the "sissy" push-ups? I cannot say; I'll throw open the comments, but that's not technically relevant. (Just interesting, hehe.)
I will add ONE last thing I learned two summers ago: one cheap piece of equipment you can pick up that is guaranteed to make you incredibly strong – as in, you will be able to dead lift a refrigerator strong – is an ab roller.
It's an approximately 18-inch, mountain-bike-style wheel on a pipe-like axle. All you do is kneel, holding it, roll it away from you to an almost prone position, then roll it back to a sitting position.
The trick is? You're holding it the whole time. It LOOKS incredibly easy. In fact, if you build up the strength for it, it's almost small enough to bring to a bar and win money, betting others they can't beat your repetitions.
I was fooled. I myself am extremely strong; muscle weighs more than fat; at a size double 00 (I am no longer - I'm a much healthier weight now) I weighed 118 pounds.
I could not complete ONE.
The friend who owned it could do TEN. (Then again, he could also pull a futon mattress out of a stuck corner, and carry it over his shoulder and into a truck bed – and as comedian Jim Gaffigan points out, futon mattresses are stuffed with hatred.)
Below, you'll find links both to descriptions of U.S. Army push-ups, and also to the ab roller, where you can see photos and read instructions for its use.