Today we’re going to go over how to increase the amount of push ups you can do and how to do it as fast as possible.
Whether you want to pass a physical fitness test, improve your upper body strength, build your upper body or accomplish a personal goal, these tips will absolutely increase the number of push ups you can do in a row. Let’s get started!
1. Master The Form
To begin, your hands should be placed just a little wider than shoulder width. You don’t want your hands too wide or you will put excess pressure onto the shoulders. You also don’t want your hands too close together or your triceps will take over the movement.
Keeping your hands slightly wider than the shoulders puts your body in an optimal position to use the chest, shoulders, and triceps. The arms should be angled 45 degrees outwards which will give you the strongest mechanical advantage.
Make sure to keep your head aligned with the rest of your body to maintain a neutral spine.
Also, don’t allow your hips to sag toward the ground. When lowering the body during the push up, the head or hips coming down is a common form mistake. You want your body to be completely straight going up and down.
It’s also essential to not allow your butt to come up in the air. You want to keep your back flat to optimize core engagement.
Another crucial aspect of the push up is going the full range of motion. Far too often, people cheat reps in an attempt to do more. Your chest should come all the way down to about two inches from the floor.
Then, you straighten your arms at the top so that they are holding your body’s weight with your triceps flexed. This full range of motion should be completed every single rep.
2. Don’t Do Push Ups Every Day
Now that you have learned the proper form, I want to debunk a common myth. You should NOT be doing push ups every single day. Your muscles need time to recover.
Some people argue that more advanced lifters can get away with it because they’re used to benching heavy weight. Therefore, a push up requires only a small percentage of the needed muscle engagement. However, even if advanced lifters can get away with it, this is not optimal!
A proper push up is working the chest, shoulders, and triceps. If you want to truly build these muscles and get stronger, then you need to allow them to recover in order to grow.
If you’re constantly beating the muscles up by doing push ups daily, you may be training the body to move more naturally in that motion. However, you don’t have your maximum power behind that motion because your muscles aren’t properly rested.
Since push ups aren’t putting excess resistance or weight onto your body, I’d recommend you do them every other day. That being said, if your muscles assisting in the push up are still sore, you may need to wait up to 48 hours.
It’s important to keep doing push ups as consistently as possible, but don’t fall for these daily push up programs. Proper recovery time will make it possible that the next time you do your push ups, you will be able to train them to your fullest potential.
3. Strengthen Your Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
These are the main three muscles involved in the push up motion. Therefore, the stronger we can make our chest, shoulders, and triceps, the more impact they will have on increasing the amount of push ups you can do.
The chest is the primary mover in the push up. The front deltoids in the shoulders and the triceps synergistically assist in the movement.
When you work out your chest, shoulders, and triceps during your weighted workouts, set a strength oriented goal with reps in the 2-6 range. This will maximize strength rather than size.
4. Do Push Ups Before Your Weighted Routine
It is very important that you do your push ups first before your weighted strength workouts. In this way, you are not training them while fatigued. Even if you train at home, you still want to do your push ups first so they aren’t being done pre-exhausted.
Normally it’s not recommended to exhaust your muscles before strength training. But since you're working toward the goal of increasing how many push ups you can do, it’s 100% necessary.
So do exercises to strengthen the chest, shoulders, and triceps but do your push up routine first. This way you are optimally training push ups and then working toward increasing the strength of the muscles that assist in the push up.
5. Practice Explosive Push Ups
A great method to increase the amount of push ups you can do is to incorporate explosive push ups. This will improve the neurogenic effect of the conversion between the muscle lengthening and shortening and it will also build explosive power.
By coming down from an explosive push up, there is a shock effect when your body hits the ground. By exploding back up as fast as you can, you train your muscles to be more explosive and fire more efficiently.
The faster you can train the muscles to lengthen and shorten, the quicker you will be able to execute more push ups.
After improving this neurogenic effect, the muscles are more trained and adapted to firing through this specific movement. Also, an explosive push up uses much more force than a standard push up.
As a result, you will be improving your explosiveness, which will only help you when you transfer back to doing your standard push ups.
6. Do Push Ups As Fast As Possible
Another method to increase the amount of push ups you can do is working on the speed of your push ups. Do your push ups as fast as possible and as many as you can in a row while using proper form.
My favorite way to do this is timed. Let’s say your goal is to do 100 push ups today. It doesn’t matter right now if you can do 100 push ups in a row, but you want to do them as fast as possible.
During the next session, you can work to improve your time.
In order to do a lot of push ups in a row, you need muscular endurance. Power is a result of strength and velocity.
The stronger these muscles are, the faster you can get them to fire—and the longer they can endure tension, the more push ups you will be able to do in a row.
7. Track Your Progression
It is essential to keep raising the amount of reps you do in order to progress. My favorite way of progressing is doing one push up session with a certain total amount of reps as a goal and then doing the next session with the same amount of total reps but improving my time.
Then, I complete the next two sessions with a higher repetition goal. My recommendation would be to increase the rep goal by 10 each time. In this way, you’re consistently increasing volume but not too drastically so that the body won’t be able to adapt.
This ensures that you are doing more push ups overall and it will result in you being able to do more push ups in a row.
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