T Nation

Newbie Questions

I got a couple questions that i cant seem to find answers for in the archives so here goes.

First i have a question a question about increasing the amount of pushups I can do. right now im on defranco’s WS4SB. I’m 6 feet tall and weigh 172 lbs. im skinny but not ridiculously skinny. I want to increase my pushups but i really need to lift heavy weights because my strength sucks(best bench is 175 for 3 reps). Ive heard from a freind that if i just follow WS4SB and do little amounts of pushups broken up throughout the day, everyday or every other day i will increase my reps. will that work, or will i just overtrain doing 2 upperbody weight days and doing pushups? does anyone know how to get better at pushups without making them the staple of your workout?

also after i do squats and especially after i do deadlifts my lower is really tight for the rest of the day but then the next day it pretty much goes away. Ive heard that the pump you get will leave you stiff in the lower back for a little while after but i literally feel it for 7-8 hours until i go to bed. is that normal?

any information is helpful, thank you.

On the squats - do you warm-up before and cool-down after lifting? Do you stretch after lifting? Ask someone to look at your squat posture.

Push-ups - ask yourself why you want to do more if your main goal is strength. I’m not saying you don’t have a legit reason (qualifying for something, etc) but make sure you keep your priorities straight.

So, you’ll hear both sides on this one. All muscles have both fast and slow twitch fibers, but some are prodominantly one or the other. That’s why, for example, some people recommend that bent-knee calf raises be done with low poundage and many reps because the soleus is mostly slow-twitch. That’s also why there is an argument out there that abs can be done everyday.

The muscles you’re working here are fast-twitch - however - it is possible that, if you can do a ton of push-ups, that you are working slow-twitch and it’s ok to do them everyday.

Having said that - I would definitely recommend waiting a day in between. I really think you’ll hit fast-twitch fibers anyway and overtrain. And I do think your pushups will improve somewhat doing strength, even though you won’t actually be training slow twitch.

Some people use push-ups as a warmup, but in this case I don’t think it applies because you’re trying to do as many as possible so you’ll go to fatigue before you even hit the bench.

I would recommend one of a few strategies:

  • Give up on the pushups for now
  • If you’re doing two arm days, just add in a third day (where you don’t even have to go to the gym) where you just bang them out.

At any rate - there is a theory out there that it is good to work both types of fibers during the week so both hypertrophy.

[quote]Jmiller558 wrote:
I got a couple questions that i cant seem to find answers for in the archives so here goes.

First i have a question a question about increasing the amount of pushups I can do. right now im on defranco’s WS4SB. I’m 6 feet tall and weigh 172 lbs. im skinny but not ridiculously skinny. I want to increase my pushups but i really need to lift heavy weights because my strength sucks(best bench is 175 for 3 reps). Ive heard from a freind that if i just follow WS4SB and do little amounts of pushups broken up throughout the day, everyday or every other day i will increase my reps. will that work, or will i just overtrain doing 2 upperbody weight days and doing pushups? does anyone know how to get better at pushups without making them the staple of your workout?

also after i do squats and especially after i do deadlifts my lower is really tight for the rest of the day but then the next day it pretty much goes away. Ive heard that the pump you get will leave you stiff in the lower back for a little while after but i literally feel it for 7-8 hours until i go to bed. is that normal?

any information is helpful, thank you.[/quote]

My take is that if you keep the push ups short of failure and aim to advance then it would be good. say you can do a max of 10. then twice a day for a week do 5 ( on days no benching. the next week do 6, next week 7 etc etc. slowly raise the work capacity. But also listen to your body if your sore as hell after the bench day skip the push ups. Its a give and take like above said.

Squats dl’s and tight back. Yes happens normal. Mine is somewhat pumped the rest of the day and I work out in the AM. Its not a bad pump or tightness but one that has me in great posture the rest of the day and honeslty my pant fit tighter on days I squat and DL do to that pump. It happens nothing bad as long as its not PAIN.

If you are following DeFranco’s WS4SB then you can just do his recommendation of pushups on day 3 (high repetition). You will notice that the amount of pushups you can do will go up each week.

Follow his program the way he wrote it out for several weeks before you decide that you need to make any changes. It may turn out that you don’t need to do anything different because his program works.

Just be sure to eat right, rest, do his workouts and follow his recommendations.

I was doing them for my repitition day but they just were not going up.

here is a little background on my training. i used to do pushups and pullups only. as a result i built up some muscle but it was not dense or strong because i only worked in high reps. i can do about 55 pushups in a minute so probaly 65 to failure.

i need to increase them because this summer im going to a program at westpoint for prospective candidates.

[quote]Jmiller558 wrote:
here is a little background on my training. i used to do pushups and pullups only. as a result i built up some muscle but it was not dense or strong because i only worked in high reps. i can do about 55 pushups in a minute so probaly 65 to failure.
[/quote]

If you are doing this on your repetition day and doing 3 sets (take 1 -1.5 minutes of rest between sets), your numbers should go up each week.

If not, some of the other suggestions are worth a shot. However, Joe D’s method worked for a number of people.

Also, if you can do 65 to failure, you are doing a lot better than many of the people that will be at that summer camp.