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Push-Up Levels


Ever wonder what’s the difference between doing push-ups on the different height boxes as compared to the floor?

Coach Tbear usually says a good floor push-up with your hands placed below your shoulders would be about 70% of your body weight.

After testing with the scale and solving from base principals (physics) I got some better

general ideas how I (Trevor Lindwall), at 5’-7” and a bodyweight of 175lbs was able to produce force.

My floor push-up was 141lbs (approximately 80% of my BdyWt)

So, then I went to the physics of a push-up to find a lot of information that needs to be considered when applying a calculation like this. Especially to get an accurate number.

I took the following things into consideration:

  • A body’s center of mass in relation to its foot pivot point and hand pressing position.
  • body weight ratio (Internet puts the female ratio at .548 and .560 for males) You must assume the body is a rigid lever arm.
  • if The pressing force is perpendicular to the plane of the body
  • if The hands are placed under the shoulders at mid ribcage
  • if The Center of mass for the foot pivot is behind the toes in the straight position

My findings for myself were as follows...

on the Floor=141lbs of force or 78% bdywt

8” Box=133 lbs of force or 75% bdywt

12” Box=128 lbs of force or 71% bdywt

20” Box=119 lbs of force or 68% bdywt

30” Box=87 lbs of force or 50% bdywt

As you progress from one push-up level to the next these numbers can help you understand how much of your overall bodyweight you are pressing and how much overall volume you are doing.