How to Do More Pushups
By Jason Ferruggia
Since I have worked with my fair share of military and armed forces members I am often asked about how to do more pushups. It’s something that I have trained numerous guys to do and something that I can definitely help you with.
The first thing I should point out is that in my gym, pushups must be done with absolute pristine, picture perfect technique or they do not count. That means the abs are braced tightly like you are about to be punched, the back is flat, the hips are in line (no sagging or A-framing), the glutes are squeezed tight, the hands are at your side and the elbows are tucked in at 45 degrees, not flaring out at 90 degrees. Your chest and your hips lower and touch the ground at the same rate. The reverse motion must happen on the way up as well. If you can not do this, the reps do not count.
Believe it or not, most average guys do not posses the upper body or core strength to do a perfect set of just ten pushups. When done properly they are a lot harder to do than most people think. They are also one of the absolute best muscle building exercises around and should be part of every guys mass gaining workout program. Not many other upper body pushing exercises recruit as many muscle groups as the pushup does and thus do not provide as much bang for your buck. With that out of the way lets move on to the question of how to do more pushups.
What I usually recommend is that beginners do pushups as frequently as six days per week. This will work for quite some time (years even) and you will improve your reps. Eventually, however, you will burn out and need to do something different. When you reach a more advanced stage I recommend that you cut your pushups down to two or three times per week. You will alternate between heavy and light days. One day you will go heavy and add resistance to your pushups, via plates on your back, a resistance band or weighted vest, and do an average of 5-8 reps. The other day, which will come 72 hours later will be a rep max day where you will simply do as many reps with bodyweight as possible.
For the heavy day, 2-4 sets will be more than enough and on the rep day you probably won’t need more than two all out sets. If you are really advanced you could cycle three different pushup days wherein you go heavy, light and explosive on day three. For the explosive day you will want to do plyo pushups, depth pushups, clap pushups or medicine ball throws. The reps should be kept at 3-5 on this day for a total of 5-8 sets.
One mistake most people make when trying to improve their pushups is that they do the exact same type of pushups every single time. You need to add some variety to your pushups and incorporate Hindu pushups, dive bomber pushups, Spider Man pushups, medicine ball pushups, clap pushups, elevated pushups, stability ball pushups, TRX pushups, etc. Don’t get stuck doing only the most basic form of pushups or you will burn out sooner than later and be more likely to develop over use injuries.
Hopefully you now have some new ideas on how to do more pushups and will be dominating whatever test you are training for real soon.
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