Pushups are an integral part of military and law enforcement physical fitness. This exercise
is a part of military service's physical fitness test including the US
Army, Air Force, and Navy. It is universally seen
as a test of your upper body strength and is a mainstay in most physical fitness
programs. Additionally, Special Operations
Forces (SOF) take pride in performing challenging versions of the push up to put
their bodies to the test, such as core training with push ups. Training to
increase your push up performance is important - whether you are a US Army
soldier preparing for your Physical Fitness Test, or a trainee conditioning
before Basic Training, or someone preparing for the FBI Academy. If you expect to succeed in advanced elite training
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Airborne School ,
make sure you are able to accomplish a lot of push ups - because you will be
To increase your ability to do
push ups and to increase your strength, you will need to vary your workouts.
With any exercise, whether you're using your own body weight, free weights or
machines, if the resistance doesn't increase, your muscles won't be overloaded
and the stimulus these fibers need to grow in size will be missing. Think about
it: if you work up to three or four sets of 25 push-ups, how hard can each
repetition be? You'd build local muscular endurance, but you wouldn't be any
stronger. Say a person doing bicep curls can do three sets of 20 reps with 15
pounds: wouldn't you think they could probably do one set of 10 reps with 20
pounds? That's what they would need to do to make their biceps grow stronger and
bigger. However, there are a few ways you can increase the resistance of your
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One way to increase the
resistance is to elevate your feet while doing push-ups. Start with your feet on
a step at the bottom of a stair or a low step stool. Raising your feet higher
will make you work against gravity, thereby increasing the resistance. Work up
to the point where you can do your push-ups with your feet on a chair. Note: The
higher your feet, the more you'll work your shoulders, so mix in some flat
push-ups to make sure your chest gets a workout, too.
must be practiced at least three to five times per week to ensure progress. If they are
practiced too often, the muscles may not have enough time to recuperate and
become stronger. Below are some variations that will help you improve your
strength and muscular endurance. When practicing push ups, perform your
exercises just as if you were working out with free weights - perform your
pushups in sets and remember that repetition and increase in resistance and/or
frequency are the best ways to challenge yourself. Doing one big set of 80
push ups is not as effective as 4x sets of twenty pushups with 30 seconds rest
between each set... then increase to 4x sets of twenty five... then decrease the
Push Ups Workout
To increase your push ups, you should incorporate some sort of weight
lifting workout. Increase the strength of your chest (pectoral)
and triceps muscles will allow you to do more push ups. It is a
myth that you can only train for push ups by doing push ups. You
should supplement your push up variations workout by doing bench press
(with a barbell or dumbbells) and triceps exercises such as pull downs
or kick backs. Remember, a strong chest and strong triceps will
give you strength in push ups.
Training only on push-ups and/or bench presses can lead to a strength imbalance.
Pull-ups or some type of rowing work should be done with resistance or training
When training, pay attention to proper form. Keep your body straight and rigid.
Lower yourself or the weight in a controlled manner so that you can gain a
training effect. During the test itself, however, to conserve energy and improve
your performance, you should work at a much more rapid pace. When being tested,
try to do as many repetitions as possible during the first 45 to 60 seconds.
Place your hands at shoulder width with your fingers pointing forward and
slightly outward. Keep your heels and toes together.
Do not forget to breathe during both training and testing.
Change position of hands to a narrower or wider position after you are tired,
then try to do some more push-ups.
Our push up improvement program is aimed at increasing your
endurance and your strength at the same time. You are probably leading a
pretty hectic life while also trying to improve your physical fitness. Now is
when it is most important to consume an adequate supply of the necessary
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There is no doubt that determination and the exercises listed on this page will
help you increase your physical fitness test scores, however, doing this
program requires commitment and discipline. The exercises are simple - they
involve no sophisticated movements or machines. For maximum performance,
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For normal push-ups, the start position
begins with the hands shoulder width apart, elbows fully extended, BODY
straight and the feet together or up to 12 inches apart.
To complete a repetition, the trainee
lowers his/her BODY , maintaining a straight back, until the upper arm
is parallel with the ground, then returns to the start position. Once
the two-minute push-up period has started, trainees may not lift their
arms or legs off the ground. They may rest in the "start" position. They
may also bend at the waist and the knees to relax the back, always
maintaining 4-point contact with the ground. Before resuming push-ups,
they must return to the start position.
Modified Push Ups Training
Modified Push Ups -- Hands
on an Object
POSITION. Keep your body straight. The balls of your feet should be on the
ground, and your hands should be on a wall, a desk, or steps of a staircase. You
can gradually increase the difficulty of the exercise by first placing your
hands on the wall, later on a desk, then on a chair (or by progressing to lower
stairs on a staircase). By progressing to lower levels of hand placement, you
increase the intensity of the exercise and your muscle strength. By
performing non-traditional push-ups such as these two modified push ups
exercises, you are challenging your stabilizer muscles and training to a
ACTION. This exercise involves the same action as the regular push-up. For
instance, if your goal is 50 push-ups, do 40 modified push-ups; wait, do another
40; wait and do another 40. When this becomes easy, raise your sights and score.
Modified Push-Ups -- Feet On An Object
POSITION. Keep your body straight with your hands on the ground and your feet on
the chair, steps, or some object. Progressively elevate your feet to higher
levels to increase the intensity. You may also increase the difficulty, hence
your strength, by doing push-ups between chairs with your feet elevated and
lowering yourself as far as your can between them. Do sets and repetitions as
above. A lot of people will plant their feet on a flat bench in the gym -
to increase the difficulty of this exercise and really work out your stabilizer
muscles, try laying your feet on top of a Swiss Ball (inflatable exercise ball)
in the gym.
ACTION. This exercise involves the same action as the regular
push-up. Strive for three sets of 80% of your goal.
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The Perfect Push Up
Perfect Push Up puts a new spin on one of the oldest exercises, the pushup.
Invented by someone who knows a lot about pushups, former U.S. Navy SEAL,
Alden Mills, the Perfect Pushup's rotating handles allow your arms to rotate
naturally when you do pushups the same way they do when you throw a punch or
press up a dumb bell. This unique feature accelerates results by engaging
more muscles in the arms, chest, shoulders, and back. It also helps reduce
strain on wrists and elbows, and helps to stabilize and strengthen the
shoulder joint by engaging the scapular and rotator cuff muscles. You will
notice the comfort and effectiveness of the Perfect Pushup on the very first
try! Includes free instructional DVD and full color poster that show perfect
form along with a customizable 21 day workout planner based in SEAL 2 minute
drills that works for any fitness level - from beginner through Olympic
Just as you will find that
you won't be able to use quite as much poundage doing a twisting DB bench
press rather than a non-twisting linear DB press, so with these twisting
pushup bars you will find yourself being able to do fewer repetitions than
with normal fixed push-up bars. That is really the main advantage of these
"Perfect Pushup" devices: you don't need to crank out as many reps to get to
the same level of exhaustion. I normally can do around 30-40 reps per set
with normal pushup bars, 50 reps per set with no bars just the ground, and
only about 20-25 reps per set with these "perfect pushup" bars. This means
you get a faster, more efficient workout. And if you are prone to rotator
cuff issues, also a safer workout as long as you don't space these bars too
far apart. They work best at shoulder width and especially, closer
in---which makes perfect sense, since if you were doing a twisting DB bench
press you would hold the DBs much closer together than if you were doing a
barbell bench press.
Find out more about the
Perfect Push Up.
Other Push-Up Variations
Lie facedown on the ground. Put your legs together. Place your hands on the
ground, palms down, fingers pointed forward. Balance your weight on your palms
and your toes. Your hands should be shoulder width apart. Keeping your body
straight, lower your body by bending your elbows. Go down until your chest
almost touches the ground. Return to starting position.
Elevated Push Ups:
the standard push-up, except you place your feet on a chair or Swiss ball or elevated surface.
This allows you to hit your upper pecs more.
Lower yourself until your chest almost touches the
floor as you inhale. Using your pectoral muscles, press your upper body
back up to the starting position and squeeze your chest. Breathe out as you
perform this step. After a second pause at the contracted position, repeat
the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.
Wide Push Ups:
Same as the standard
push-up, except hands are placed wider than shoulder width. This helps
bring out your outer pectorals. Augment this chest-blasting exercise by
adding barbell or dumb bell bench press or chest flyes. A lot of people
neglect their chest workout when trying to increase their push ups.
Diamond Push Ups:
the standard push-up, except hands are positioned under the middle of your chest.
Put your hands together so there looks like there is a diamond in between them
(Index fingers touch each other and thumbs touch each other). This helps develop
your inner pecs and your triceps.
Basketball Push Ups:
the standard push-up, except you balance one hand on a basketball, medicine
ball, or Swiss ball. This works
6. Three-Point Push Up:
the standard push-up, except you put one foot on top of the other. So
your points of contact are: 1.) left hand, 2.) right hand, and 3.)
one foot while the other foot rests on its heel.
Deep Push Ups:
Same as the standard
push-up, except you need three chairs. Place the chairs so your feet
are resting on one and your hands are on the others. Now you can go down farther
than you could when doing push ups on the floor.
Plyometric Push Ups:
Stretch-Shortening Push-Ups - Drop yourself
off a raised platform in a push-up position ... to a pushup with a narrow hand
position. You can also do explosive pushups by pushing yourself off the
ground, landing, then repeating -- or you can push up then clap your hands
together as your body reaches its peak. Or have your partner push down on your
back to increase resistance as you do your push up.
Try adding a couple of these push
up sets between the sets of your chest workout. Keep "confusing" your muscles to
maximize growth and overcome a training plateau. It is important to
incorporate advanced training exercises to really blast your chest and triceps
thus increasing your strength and ability to do push ups. Remember to
train hard, vary your exercises, and to rest your body parts after an intense
Special Ops Workout
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for any individual wishing to become a part of America's Special Forces.
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