Rest/Tempo for Push-Ups

First, discovering this site and the wealth of information available has been just the solution to my current lack of enthusiasm at the gym. I haven’t been this pumped about going to the gym in a long time, and I really have this site to thank.

Now that I have the BS out of the way, I thought I would ask you guys a question. I have hurt my AC joint pretty bad so I am taking some time off barbell bench lifts to let the pain subside and heal up for good. I initially tried grunting through it, but the pain got worse and I felt like I was on the highway to a lifelong injury and for no special reason other than me not wanting to give up barbell lifts for a bit. I have taken to doing a variety of push ups (with the Bosu thing, medicine ball, etc.) after reading a couple articles here because it doesn’t hurt and it will keep me from losing chest strength in the interim.

The one thing I can’t figure out is the number of reps/tempo of the push ups. My max bench is about 330 right now, and I am 5’11" 195 lbs. Should I be aiming to crank out sets of 30 or 40? or a slower 20-25?

Thanks guys, looking forward to your advice.

Have you considered using a band or weight to increase the resistance. Not a lot given your situation but enough to give you some options. Or even changing up the angle of the pushup, incline, decline, wide, narrow, etc. I think it would beat doing endless reps of pushups.

Also, have you considered using a cable station for your chest? It would let you add some weight and give you some stabilization work at the same time.

Just some ideas, I’m hardly an injury expert.

There’s an article on the front page about iso pushups, that might help.

Sounds good dude, I do plan on mixing it up with different elevations of pushup, as well as utilizing the bands if I can locate one that some cardio-aerobic douchenozzle hasn’t already destroyed. Still though, I wish I had some sort of goal number to shoot for here…should aim for 20 and just do them as slow as possible until 20 becomes the limit? I see doing endless sets of 40 reps as deleterious to getting bigger.

I’ll give cables a go too.

@ Slamma: Those iso pushups are for non-upper body pressing days, one long held rep.

Well you didn’t get that strong by doing sets of 30 or 40 on the bench.

And I could be wrong, but you probably weren’t doing very slow sets of 25 to get to a 330 max either.

That being said, be creative. Like you’re already planning, use variations that will decrease the number of reps until fatigue. Be careful with your shoulder, but through experience, I seem to notice that if it doesn’t hurt its probably not making it much, if any, worse.

Can you do a slow pushup negative and then an explosive concentric? This might help you retain some fast twitch fiber. Who knows, you could even become faster than you were before.

Try blast strap pushups.

Another one I like (if you have a freemotion or another cable/pulley system with handles less than a few feet from eachother) is to:

Load the machine to a weight that can support your upper body at about a 20-30 degree angle. So you’re in an inclined pushup position, hands each on the handles. “Lean into/and press” your hands towards the ground. You should be able to touch your hands to the floor with the handles. From here you’ll once again be at the “top” of a pushup position, but this time from the ground.

Really press into the ground as you lower yourself to the bottom of the pushup, and then back up. Because of the amount of tension you have to keep (pressing the handles into the ground while you press yourself away from the ground, this will be pretty difficult but should help retain some strength and motor control in your pressing muscles.

Good luck and I hope that makes some kind of sense, its much easier to teach in person.

If you can, try weighted pushups. You can do them with a weight vext if it’s available to you or just do it the old fashioned way and load up the plates on your back.

An even better method using a partner have him hold your legs and walk you like a wheel barrel while your in push up position, and every 6 paces or so do 2 push-ups. Go till your arms give out.

Hey thanks a lot guys. Last night I did a mixed bag of medicine ball, bosu ball, and free cable stuff. That free cable machine I had ignored my entire life until last night … holy mother of god, it was probably the toughest chest exercise I have ever done.

Probably means I need to get out and do more stuff.

I ended up doing only about 20-25 reps at a moderate tempo, I was just about at failure for every set so I guess that is a good place to start.

I’m in the Army so I do LOTs of pushups :slight_smile:

Couple things:

  1. I’ve never been a fan of going to failure all the time. I would rather do 4 sets of 50 then 1 set of 80. Adding volume is key. Going to failure say once a week isn’t bad…

  2. I am a big fan of doing lots of differant types…close grip, wide, feet elevated, weighted, dive bomber, clap…whatever you can think of…

  3. I’m a big fan of ladders: Without rest do: 1 chin up, 2 pushups, 3situps, 45 second rest…2 chin ups, 4 pushups, 6 situps, rest, 3 chins, 6 pushups, 9 situps… ect ect…then make sure you finish by going back DOWN the ladder…

I often add pushups to the end of my powerlifting workouts.

Thanks for the input Valor. Your ladder is basically crossfit’s basic theme correct ?