T Nation

My PUSHUP Routine


So, I'm without access to a gym for the next 3 weeks. As I posted a few days ago, my six months of bulking has resulted in a good bit of excess fat, (despite very clean eating, I might add) particularly on the pecs.

Now, I've read a number of times that new recruits who join the Marines often come back with really strong pecs and shoulders. I can't remember who - either Mike Mejia or Waterbury- wrote that one of the reasons they get so built was "having to go down and do 20 pushups multiple times per day."

So, what the hell, I'm experiencing a bit of extra flab now and I'm without access to a gym or any sort of weights for about 3 weeks, so I figured I might try something new.

My new routine is as follows:

Upon waking, I do four sets of pushups, stopping one or two reps before failure. I first do 1 set with a wide grip (hands far apart), wait about 2 minutes, do a second set with a narrower, triangle-shaped grip, wait about 2 minutes, do another set of wide grip, rest a few minutes, and then a final set of triangle-grip pushups.

1:00 p.m.: I do another 3-4 sets, alternating between triangle-shaped and wide grip pushups.

5:00: Repeat.

7:00: Repeat.

11:00 p.m.: Repeat for the final time.

NOTE: Each round of pushups is slightly different in terms of speed. Sometimes, I do all four sets at a fast tempo, sometimes at a very slow tempo...I switch back and forth.

The KEY POINT here is that I am doing 3-4 sets of pushups 4-6 times each day. The exact times that I wrote above are not important (that's just an example), though I usually go a few hours between each round.

I'm curious if anyone has any advice or critique of this routine. Anything I should add or take out? Clearly, this is a no rest routine. The rest occurs when I'm sleeping and that's it. There's no off-days. I know, I know, conventional advice says that you need those rest days to make the gains, but what the hell, traditional body-building advice hasn't worked so well for me thus far.

In all honesty, I am not really sure what this will do :cool: but it seems like a good experiment and I will give it a go.




I don't like the idea of training Push-ups every day. The multiple times per day is okay to experiement with. But I would do this every other day if it were me.

There are a multitude of reasons why it would make sense. Not the least of which is potential for injury...


Good plan. Be careful with the wide ones, they can really fuck the shoulder up (for me anyway). Also try some handstand pushups, pistols, wrist kissing push-ups (one leg up, head down to alternate wrist, up and switch). Also do some push-up shrug to keep balance.


What? All this talk of injuries from press ups (girls). I myself was a Royal Marine Commando, and through out training I spent 90% of the time in 'front support place' (press up postion), 'banging them out' as it were. Sometimes with 100lb bergans on, sometimes with 30lb of webbing. Not once in the hole time I was there (32 weeks) did one person injure themselves from press ups - and I doubt ever will.

It seems that people are to quick to build muscle, and not strengthen the tendons that goes with being properly strong.

You want to get a bergan or something and fill it with bricks.


I'm going to have to agree with this one, with all the military schooling, basic, airborne, air assault prc and sfas I spent about 3 years in the push up position as described and I never saw one injury from over doing them.


My first reaction was like Zeb's. But yea, I know people in the military...and no one has ever said they hurt themselves doing too many pushups.

I have known powerlifters and bodybuilders, though, who are always complaining about injuries from using heavy weights. Ahh...I'm starting to sound like Furey, I'm scaring myself.

Either way, I've heard this about tendons quite a few times, in relation to strengthening them along with the muscle. How would one strengthen them? Why don't they get stronger in proportion to how strong the muscle is? This has never made sense to me. Anyone who can explain it, I'd appreciate it.


Push ups are the best for building muscle endurance..


I need to start banging 'em out regularly... I am a former active duty US Marine


If you are looking to lose the flab, spacing them out throughout the day isn't as effective.

Try tabata pushups earlier in the day. 20 seconds of pushups, 10 seconds of rest, repeat 8 times. Tabatas burn fat very well. If you can handle it, do a set before dinner too.


I agree, in the days when Gym membership was not an option (too young) I followed the navy seal pushup routine and my pecs got HUGE. They stagger the reps as in starting at 2 even numbers up to 20 and back down with wide pushups, triangle pushups, regular pushups and the last set I cant recall the name but picture making a triangle with the floor, ass in the air, feet and hands close together, down to your hands and under the fence was the motion...sick results


Well there you have it!

There is no more to be said on the topic. This is the definitive statement on training Push-ups every day. He and his buddies never got injured from training them everyday so we can all be assure that it will never happen to you.



Same here.



This is a good push up program if you want to train them very frequently. You can probably find a lot of other good ones on the web.


Sorry, it's just alien to me - Injuries from press ups. You'd get abused big time in the military...

"Corporal I've hurt my shoulder from doing that set of 100"...

You'd be doing them for rest of the week.


I never said that anyone else never will. It's just I think my idea of strength is different to yours. Having to haul your ass up a 30 foot rope just using your arms, and doing the commando high obstacles course with 30lbs of kit (webbing and rifle) whilst dilerisouly tired, is my idea of real strength. This is the kind of training where you build proper tendons and conditioning, and is good bassis for lifting.


I worked my way up to a set of ninety but just doing as many as I could, resting 20 seconds and then going again.

Semper Fi.

It just seems odd to many of us, that were in the military, that there is a potential for getting hurt doing body weight pushups. My platoon in boot camp had 87 people in it. Not one got hurt doing pushups and we did them every day.

These weren't just a set of 20, but to failure at different rates. Sometimes, it was as many as you could as fast as you can. Other times, you held the bottom position for several seconds before banging out several more at a fast pace and then going back to a hold.

Are you trying to say that this was just a statistical anomoly or is there something we are missing?


I am in the Army and I also do alot of pushups. I have an article from Pavel Tsatsouline "the evil russian" called the "Drop and give me 100" push up program. He was a former soviet special forces pt instructor and gives excellent instruction on how to do the ammount of pushups you are looking for. I myself did 111 pushups in two minutes the first time I followed his program. Good stuff.

PM me if you want a copy of the program. I can email it to you.


Yea...I've been rope climbing hands only for a lot of years...That's not my point. When a joint experiences the same stress repeatedly day in and day out with no rest it is more susceptable to injury.



I'm not saying that if a group of 87 or 187 people do the same movement repeatedly that they will become injured.

My point is that the risk goes up. And in addition to that you are also courting longer term problems. The ones that don't bite you until you are over 30.

Oh that's right...you're never going to be over 30 so you don't have to worry about it.



No worries.