Saturday, April 25, 2009

How to do more pushups

Here are a few simple tricks for intermediate/beginner folks who want to do more pushups.

These tips are perfect for someone who can do a few pushups, but are stuck at around 5 repetitions max. If you want to find out how to build chest muscle, define your triceps, and even work your abs harder, you'll love these tips.

So there are couple ways in which an individual can work to increase the number of pushups. First of all, however, the harsh truth is that people will be able to do more pushups if they lose body fat.

First, lose body fat!

If you have a lot of dead weight, then obviously it's going to be harder to perform a pushup. So make sure you're doing your supersets, your bodyweight exercises, your interval training, and getting your diet in order.

If you're stuck at 5 pushups, then there are a couple of ways you can add strength and endurance. Here's a great video to I know the audio sucks, so I wrote out the tips below...

One way to add more endurance is to take some of the weight off when doing the pushup and this can be done performing an incline pushup. So you can place your hands on a bench and perform the pushup, without going all the way to the ground. So although this may not help you build strength, you'll still be improving your endurance.

In order to build strength you'll need to go down to the ground. So, the first type of pushups we're going to work on is the eccentric portion or the lowering phase of a pushup.

In this exercise, instead of lowering in 1 second, you are going to take 5 seconds to lower your body to the ground. With this type of exercise you won't be able to complete as many repetitions, but you'll get more muscular control with all the muscles involved in performing the pushup and that is one way you can build more strength.

I recommend doing eccentric pushups earlier in the week and first thing in your workout and performing 3 sets to just short of failure, pairing it with another bodyweight exercise.

Later on in the week, you can perform a pushup where you hold your body in mid-position for 5 seconds, abs braced, and then push back up to the start position.

Similar to this, but a little more difficult is going even further to the ground and holding that position. Now, in this position you will only be able to hold the position for 3 seconds, relax, come back up, and then return to the holding position.

In this example, you may do 3 repetitions of holding for 3 seconds in that bottom position or do 5 repetitions of holding in the middle position for 5 seconds.

By simply performing the eccentrics and holds for pushups will help you to build strength very quickly and can translate into more endurance for the incline pushups which will enable you to do more pushups.

Again, lose body fat first, and then get strong with bodyweight exercises and your pushup numbers will increase.


Kelley Moore said...

It's like you're reading my mind. Push-ups are my hardest point in the bodyweight circuits (such as Workout C in TT AAA Abs) and it drags down my time if I have to stop and start to get the total number in before moving to the next exercise. This is great and I will use it to build up my strength and endurance. Thanks Craig!

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

You are welcome!

Amy said...

Hey there Craig... Thanks for the info on how to do more push-ups. That got me thinking to ask you what is the proper form of doing a push up. I can do a few sets of 10 but I find that my wrists hurt from holding my body weight.. Am I just holding my arms/hands in the wrong position. Thanks..