Thursday, July 8, 2010

Increase Your Push-Ups from Any Level to Awesome, without getting too Sore

I know some people like to max out their push-ups on a regular basis, but I don't. I prefer steady improvement without too much effort. Why not? This is an alternate program for those who want to increase the number of push-ups they can do well, in a row, be it for personal reasons or for those who are entering the service and are worried that they will not survive boot camp.

*See the bottom of this post for tips for those with poor discipline.

Here's what you do. Take a moment and warm up your arms doing stretches, circles, or whatever you want. Get down on the floor and do as many push-ups as you feel comfortable doing without losing good form. (If you cannot do one, skip to the next paragraph.) Keep that number because that's how many you will be doing all week. Don't worry if your number is embarassingly low. Ten awful push-ups is more embarassing than one good one. No one will know your number but you and it will be a number to brag about pretty soon. You must do them *at least* 4-5 days per week to continue your improvement. You're better off doing them morning and night as many days as you can. By the end of the week, you should be able to do them pretty easily. Next week, you will do the exact same thing, but add three. Just three. It is the perfect number from what I've experienced. Repeat week by week. If you started with 10 good push-ups week one, you will be doing 31 week eight, which is just two short months away.

If you cannot do one push-up, there is hope for you. Start on your knees, but keep your back straight anyway. Do as many push-ups as you can without cheating. (If you still cannot do one, skip to the next paragraph.) You will do that many for the rest of the week, at least 4-5 days of the week and preferably in the morning and at night. At the end of the week you will check to see if you can do one push-up on your feet. If you cannot, you will add three to your number and do that for week two. If you can, you will do one push up all week and the next week you will retest yourself as described in the above paragraph.

If you cannot do one push-up on your knees, there is hope for you, too. You will start on your knees in push-up position and slowly lower yourself to the floor in a controlled manner 3 times every day. At the end of the week, you will test yourself to see if you can do one push-up on your knees. If so, you will spend the next week following instructions of the above paragraph.

*Get some kind of chart or calendar to track your progress. It's encouraging to see yourself improve. It's also embarassing to see a lot of zeros or unchecked boxes, which motivates people like me to get on the floor and just do them before the day is over. Personally, I know if I slack off for more than two or three days, I will probably slack of indefinately and waste all of my hard work.

Consistency is the key. Doing them twice tomorrow does not make up for doing nothing today. You must continue to give your muscles a reason to adapt and get stronger. Doing too much exercise at once is more likely to hurt you than help you. Also, for the sake of balance, if you plan to start doing a lot of push-ups, it's probably a good idea to start doing some kind of pulling exercise, too, before too long.


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