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Are Push-Ups Dangerous? (Explained For Beginners)

There are many reasons to do push-ups.

They help build muscle, burn fat, improve your stamina, give you a pump, and they can be used in circuit training, HIIT sessions, and pretty much every other type of workout too.

However, there are some people out there who might be worried that push-ups are a little too good to be true.

How could one exercise bring so many benefits without having any drawbacks?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re looking at in this article, specifically, are push-ups dangerous?

We discuss the safety considerations needed to do push-ups, the injury risk associated with them, as well as taking a look at some of the many variations of push-ups to see if some are more dangerous than others.

Woman doing a push up in a crossfit gym

Are Push-Ups Dangerous?

If you do them correctly, push-ups aren’t a dangerous exercise.

However, the level of danger associated with push-ups increases drastically if you get things wrong.

(As with pretty much every other exercise out there.)

Push-ups have been around for a long time and they’re performed by complete beginners all the way through to professional athletes who spend hours in the gym every day.

If push-ups were dangerous, it’d be highly unlikely that they’d have grown into such a popular part of the fitness world.

That being said, they aren’t risk-free (no exercise truly is), but the dangers that correctly-performed push-ups present are far less than some other more dangerous exercises you can do.

Safety Considerations When Doing Push-Ups

A road with the words Safety First painted on in yellow paint next to double yellow lines

Perhaps the biggest safety consideration when doing push-ups is to ensure your technique is 100% correct.

While so many people do push-ups on a regular basis, it can be surprising just how many of them are doing things wrong.

If you want to make push-ups as safe as possible, your technique should be nailed on every time.

Another safety point to keep in mind is your current level of strength and overall fitness.

Push-ups are a bodyweight exercise, but that doesn’t make them easy.

You’ll need a good level of strength to do regular push-ups and all the variations that come with them.

You may need to start by doing box push-ups (on your knees) before moving on to regular push-ups and some of the other more challenging variations (like decline push-ups).

A third safety consideration is to ensure you aren’t carrying any injuries in areas that could be made worse by doing push-ups.

For example, any injuries or weaknesses in joints such as your shoulders, wrists, and elbows (such as tennis elbow) can be made worse by push-ups, as could muscular injuries in your arms, chest, core, and shoulders.

Can You Get Injured From Push-Ups?

Yes, you can get injured from push-ups.

That being said, it’s worth bearing in mind that you could get injured from any exercise or any physical activity if things go wrong.

Discomfort, pain, and injuries could happen in your back, shoulders, wrists, elbows, chest, or arms when doing push-ups.

The key to minimizing your injury risk is to ensure you’re using the correct technique, you’re properly warmed up and prepared for exercise, and you’re doing the right number of reps suitable for your current fitness level.

While there certainly is a risk of injury from push-ups, the risk is minimal if you do things properly.

Are Diamond Push-Ups Dangerous?

Man doing a close-grip push-up in a gym

Diamond push-ups have come under fire in recent years with gym-goers being split between whether they’re dangerous or not.

If you want to target your triceps as much as possible with your push-ups, then diamond push-ups tend to be the way to go. Your hands form a diamond shape underneath your chest (as they’re so close together) and your triceps are forced to work extremely hard in the movement.

While shoulder impingement is a slight concern, diamond push-ups aren’t much more dangerous than regular push-ups when done correctly.

Are Knuckle Push-Ups Dangerous?

Knuckle push-ups pose little more danger to you than regular push-ups.

They tend to be useful for people with weaker wrists who struggle to hold themselves up with a flexed wrist.

Injuries to your knuckles, wrists, and elbows could happen, but, as always, proper technique and preparation are key to keeping risks to a minimum.

Are Pike Push-Ups Dangerous?

Pike push-ups can put your elbows and shoulders under more pressure than regular push-ups.

If you have any weakness or injuries in these areas, then pike push-ups could present more of a danger to you than others.

Are Handstand Push-Ups Dangerous?

Man doing a handstand push-up on a mat in front of a red wall

Handstand push-ups are some of the most advanced and challenging forms of push-ups you can do.

As their name suggests, they involve getting into a handstand position (using a wall for support) and then doing the push-up movement in that position.

Unless you have extremely high levels of strength and push-up experience, handstand push-ups can be dangerous.

Your shoulders, elbows, and neck are all put in vulnerable positions, so any mistakes can result in very serious injuries.

If you have the strength required to do handstand push-ups though and you understand the technique, they can be a relatively safe and very effective push-up variation to add to your training program.

Is 100 Push-Ups A Day Dangerous?

Doing 100 push-ups a day can be safe for some people and more dangerous for others.

Probably the most important factor in this is how experienced you are at doing push-ups and how strong your working muscles are.

If you can do 100 push-ups pretty comfortably, then doing them every day will unlikely cause you too many issues.

However, if you struggle with push-ups, doing them every day (particularly in such high volume) can leave you vulnerable to injury.

Can Push-Ups Tear Your Rotator Cuff?

It’s possible but not very likely.

Incorrect technique and doing push-ups too fast will increase the risk of tearing your rotator cuff during push-ups, but if you do them correctly, the risk remains low.

Are Push-Ups Suitable For Beginners?

Yes, as a general rule, push-ups are suitable for beginners.

There are variations that make regular push-ups slightly easier which may be a good starting point for some beginners while others may be able to do the regular version straight away.

No equipment is needed for push-ups, and as it’s a bodyweight exercise, your working muscles aren’t placed under too much stress too soon. 


In summary:

  • As long as you use the correct technique and are free from injury, push-ups are a safe exercise.
  • Some variations of push-ups, like handstand push-ups, are more dangerous than other types.
  • Push-ups are a great beginner-friendly exercise.

That’s all for this article, but why are your legs shaking during push ups? Or how many push ups does it take to lose a pound?

Hope this helped!


Push-Up Problems That Increase Your Risk Of Injury