• By Laurel Kelly

In the Loop: What do push-ups predict about your future?

August 13, 2019
an older couple working out together in a gym, doing push-ups

Push-ups can reveal a lot about your overall health — perhaps even more than traditional measures. Michael Joyner, M.D., shares what makes the push-up so predictive.


If asked to drop and give us 20, could you pump out the necessary number of push-ups? What about just 2? The answer to these questions can tell you more than whether you'd pass basic training. They can reveal a lot about your overall health — perhaps even more than traditional measures, like blood pressure and BMI. "Push-ups are another marker in a consistent story about whole-body exercise capacity and mortality," Michael Joyner, M.D., tells The Atlantic in an article deceptively titled, "The Power of One Push-Up." (It takes more than one to make a difference. Trust us. We checked.)

In the article, Dr. Joyner, an anesthesiologist and researcher at Mayo Clinic, weighs in on a recent study of firefighters that found "push-up abilities could predict heart disease." In fact, according to The Atlantic, "they were an even better predictor of cardiovascular disease than a submaximal treadmill test."

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This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

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