Have you ever wondered to yourself: Is Joe Biden actually a bro? I certainly did when I heard that former Vice President Biden challenged President Donald Trump to a push-up contest on Tuesday.
“I’d say, ‘C’mon Donald, c’mon man. How many push-ups do you want to do here, pal?’” Biden replied when asked about how Trump could use his age against him. “I mean, jokingly. . . ”
It sounds like something that would go down in a frat house, not on a debate stage — but, if you ask sought-after personal trainers or Harvard researchers, a push-up contest actually isn’t the worst way you could go about determining health.
This past February, Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health published the results of a study that found push-up capacity was linked with lower risk of heart disease in men. The study looked at active, middle-aged firefighters, and found that if they could do more than 40 push-ups in a row, they’d have a significantly lower rate of cardiovascular disease problems, such as heart failure and coronary artery disease.
Health strategist and fitness professional Jay Cardiello agrees that push-ups are a good indicator of cardiovascular health and muscular endurance. With that said, Cardiello notes that Biden’s push-up contest couldn’t actually tell you about their president and former vice president’s overall health.
“Health is about more than how many push-ups you can do,” he says. “There are guys with great bodies who can die of a heart attack. It’s also looking at diet and stress levels. These are huge factors, as well as sleep."
He also noted that if two men were on stage for a debate and decided to engage in a push-up contest, a certain level of adrenaline would kick in — perhaps prompting them to do more push-ups than they would alone in a gym. “It’s like when an athlete competes,” Cardiello says. “Practice day is at a different level than play day. It’s different than just a practice, it’s fight or flight.”
As bro-y as it sounds, a politician push-up contest would be entertaining. But it likely wouldn’t serve the purpose Biden jokingly said it would.
With that said, if we’re pitting politicos against each other in push-up duels, can someone please challenge the original political fitness betch, Ruth Bader Ginsburg?