Pushup Endurance

Hey all I was wondering if any of you guys have ideas for how to increase the # of pushups you can do. I just finished college and will be going into the army at the end of summer. I have been running and doing pushups and situps but havent trained for endurance in a long time. My stats right now are 5’11, ~225 12% bf. I am trying to drop down to 215-210 within the next couple months to make the running easier on my knees. Here is a link to some old pics if that will help; I have added some upper body mass and dropped a little bodyfat since the pics I put up from November.


My training right now is as follows:
Monday-Incline DB 4x5, Chins multiple sets just trying to get more total reps each session, Cable flye 2x10, bent row 3x10, db press 2x5, side raise 2x10, db shrug 2x10, curl 4x10, tricep of some sort 4x10
Wednesday- just chins
Friday-the same as Monday.

I run monday-friday and am just increasing total distance each week until early july, when i will add timed 2 miles a couple times a week.

For pushup training right now I really have no clue what I am doing so usually I just pop out a set of 15-20 5-10x a day. I dont feel like I am improving much with them and was wondering if you guys with experience might lend a hand. Thanks for any help and take care.

If you really want to specifically increase push up endurance, then lose all your other pushing upper body exercises.

Of course, that’s not gonna happen usually. What I do is on a leg day, at the end I crank out as many pushups as i can without stopping, aiming for 2 more than my previous total. On the last one i can possibly do I try an isometric hold for as long as i can.

How long have you been doing your current stuff? If more than 2 wks, i’d recommened have 1 or 2 days break between push up sessions to give yourself time to recover.

I gained endurance by just doing lots of pushups. A set of 15-20 is good, but why not try to do a max set, rest a bit and then try and do another max. Try 1-2 minutes rest between sets.

Set yourself a goal, say 70. Then try to get there in as few sets as possible. Next time, try to do less sets. Once you can do the 70 in one set, increase the goal.

Worked for me.

you could try something like picking a certain number of total reps and break it into 3-6 sets with a one minute rest between each set. Do this twice a week and every week take 5 seconds out of the rest periods

Before going to boot camp, I would just do as many as I could, sometimes every other night and other times every 3rd day or so. I was told that it would be better to do more sets with a higher total number of reps, but I kept getting more and more reps when I did only one max rep set each night that I did them.

Eventually I got up to 134 pushups nonstop without getting out of form. I think I could only get around 35-40 when I started.

I would go as fast as I could while keeping good form (all the way down, lock elbows at top, straight back without the butt coming up). The military rules for counting them was that we could rest in the up or down possition, but couldn’t lay on the floor (so it was better to rest in the up).

Now, if I get up to 50 it burns real bad, but I’m not going for endurance right now.

I’m just started to replace bench pressing with pushups now. I wanted a change from benching, and since I am going in the Air Force in the fall, I might as well get good at pushups too.

my goal is to be able to do 100 consecutive pushups within 2 minutes.

I’m also focusing on pullups, since that is another requirement during the fitness tests. goal of 20 consecutive pullups.

sit-ups, I have been doing them on a ~40 degree angle bench, with holding a 45lb plate over my stomach. I am thinking of losing the plate and going for higher reps on the angle.

as for the 1.5mile run, I am not worried about that. Although I don’t do any running at this time, I do TONS of road biking/racing.
I can do a mile in 5:30ish, and i want to be able to do 1.5miles in under 8 minutes. I might add some running in my training a month before I leave for basic. I can’t do much running now because it would hurt my bike training.

i can’t wait to leave for basic, it’s going to be fun. well, at least the fitness parts, not the T.I.s

Thanks much for the help so far guys. From what I am reading so far it looks like I will cut down the pushups to every other day and concentrate on higher reps per set or reaching a total rep goal some days. Does the weight lifting set up look ok? Thanks again.

Beef, if you’ve solely focussed on weight training you may find entering aerobic phase training slightly difficult.

Like a 100m sprinter (fast-twitch fibres) then trying to run 800m+, he/she’d make it to half way before collapsing. Sprinters, like weight lifters, train in a different energy phase than those who engage in aerobic activity. It doesn’t mean you’re unfit, as the person training in the endurance activities would find it difficult pushing heavy weight.

If you want to improve your aerobic endurance, keep training with slow jogging, building up to a faster speed within the same distance or going a further distance while at the same speed.

For added tricep strength, try more dips, particularly weighted dips. Get past the lactic acid build up and burn by pushing your body with isometrics on the dips/weighted dips. The burn many experience doesn’t make one weak, it can be a body that isn’t conditioned to train in that energy phase. Hold the dip/weighted dip half way for 60 seconds or longer, hold it quarter way. Do the same with chin ups/weighted chin ups, flexed arm hangs, hold it half way and condition your body to get past that burn which is telling you to stop.

Some military workouts can be downloaded through various programs to give you an idea of how the armed forces will train. The workouts focus on sets of push-ups shoulder-width, wide-hands pushups, close-hand push ups. They do ‘dive-bomber push-ups’ where you extend your arms and legs wider than usual and you lunge your body down towards the ground and arch your body back up again. Sets of sit-ups constitute of hands behind the head, hands crossed in front, crunch sit-ups with knees toward chest, half sit-ups, ‘bicycle’ (flutter) kicks, and a number of other isometrics where you’re holding your body half way for a period of time.