Push-ups must be practiced three to five times per week to ensure progress. If they are practiced more 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.
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.
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.
ACTION. This exercise involves the same action as the regular push-up. Strive for three sets of 80 percent of your goal.
BENCH PRESS–WEIGHT MACHINE AND FREE WEIGHTS
A beginner can use the method described here without using any of the previous methods. It can also be used by the more advanced person who has used the previous techniques.
By trial and error, use a weight that allows you to do 80 percent of the number of repetitions you want to do on The Citadel Physical Fitness Test (CPFT). Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets, and do your second and third sets until you can’t do anymore.
When you can perform 100 percent of the number of repetitions you want to do on the CPFT FOR THE FIRST SET, add 5-10 percent more weight with free weights. Or add whatever weight is necessary to drop you again to 80 percent of desired repetitions with the new weight. Proceed as above, building up to 100 percent of the desired repetitions for the first set with the second and third sets done until you can’t do anymore.
HINTS FOR 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 partner.
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.