Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Pushup Experiment

I've started an experiment due to some changes in my training schedule. I can't get in multiple lifting sessions each week; nor can I easily get in extra MMA sessions. So I decided to put in some high-frequency training.

Each day, I do as many sets of 20 pushups as I can while recovering easily. It started with a single set the first two days just to see how it would feel.

Since then I've done between 3 and 8 sets of pushups each day. I do one as soon as I get up each morning, and try to get in one set right before each meal, plus extras as I get a chance. The mean is 5 sets a day, although that's starting to edge up to 6.

I'm prioritizing good form and recovery, so if I'm not sure I am ready for it I skip the set.

One day a week - I chose Sunday - I don't do any pushups at all.

Why pushups?

Because I can do them almost anywhere, and they're easy enough for me that I can do them with no warmup and no risk of problems.

Why 20?

Besides the whole "drop and give me 20" thing, it's also a good number for me. It's more than I can do without effort, but much less than the maximum I could do in a single set.

In addition, 20 reps is fast. I can do that in well under 45 seconds even with a measured pace and a slight pause at the bottom. I don't need any time to do it, so it's never an issue to get them done.

What's the goal?

Just to see what getting 80-120 pushups a day, or more, each day, will get me in terms of musculature, efficiency at pushups, and upper body endurance.

Any other modifications

I dropped all pushing exercises out of my workout, because they'd be overkill. I've also added in some extra external rotation exercises and pulling exercises to balance it out.


My main concerns at this point are:

- wear on my shoulders. Is this too much?

- how do I progress? Currently it's adding sets, because 20 reps is fast but if I do 30s or 40s it will take much longer and risk failure if I'm tired.

We will see how it works out!

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