Push-ups sometimes get a bad rap –they’re too often seen as a “Gold Standard” in macho tests of manliness, when they should be viewed as what they really are: one of the best compound exercises you can do. The simple act of pushing up will use your chest, shoulders, triceps and back muscles–a feat few other exercises can do as well. That’s why at Warwick Fitness we integrate them into so many of our workouts!
The downside to push-ups is that they can be really hard to do. But don’t worry! Even if you can’t do even one push-up right now without starting on your knees, within two weeks you can be getting an amazing push-up workout if you just follow the simple plan below.
For the very first day, don’t expect to be able to do a push-up, but give it a try anyway! Assume the proper position and go as low as you can before pushing up. Keep your glutes and abs tight, and push back up. Focus on keeping your position proper.
Do as many as you can force yourself to do in this position–going just half or most of the way down. Once your muscles give out, give yourself two minutes to cool off, and get into the kneeling push-up position (your knees on the ground, and feet in the air). Do as many as you can–with your goal of doing no fewer than 10.
Repeat the efforts of Day 1, trying to do as many regular-push-ups as you can, only going down as far as you possibly can. This will strengthen your chest muscles. Then do a set of 10 kneeling push-ups.
Now, you’re going to give it a second try! Once again, get into the position for regular push-ups and do as many as you can. Follow this up with a second set of 10 kneeling push-ups, and push yourself until you crack that second 10!
Take a day to give your chest muscles time to recover. Do some aerobic exercise–it will help improve muscle repair and recovery.
This is the first day that you will do a real push-up! Assume the position and force yourself to do it correctly. Go all the way down and come back up with your butt clenched and your abs tight. Don’t doubt that you can do it, but just do it without thinking. It is 100% possible simply because you’ve strengthened your chest on Days 1 and 2. All you have to do is one of these–if you can do more, great! But get one perfect push-up completed.
Give yourself a break and do two sets of 10 kneeling push-ups.
Cool out. You’ve got a day of rest.
Do two regular push-ups in a row. If you can’t, do one regular push-up before your first set of 10 kneeling push-ups, and do a second one before a second set of 10 kneeling push-ups.
Another day of rest.
Do three push-ups. Your chest muscles can handle the rapid strengthening, so push yourself. If you can’t do three, do one or two before two sets of 12 kneeling push-ups.
Stay at three push-ups, but really do them right. Dip down properly with each push, and keep your core tight as you push back up. Once again, do another two sets of 12 kneeling push-ups, or, push yourself and increase that number.
Add another push-up to make it four in total! You should be able to do four push-ups in a row by now, as you’ve built your chest strength. Do two sets of at least 12 kneeling push-ups to finish off your workout.
One more day of rest.
Do five regular push-ups in a row. Congratulations! Celebrate your success with two more sets of 12 kneeling push-ups each.
Doing five push-ups isn’t pushing your body too hard, so you can easily make these steps of progress within two short weeks. Keep up the rhythm of adding one more regular push-up every two days, as well as increasing the number of kneeling push-ups you do every set. By the end of the month, you’ll be doing 10 regular push-ups. Success!
The Warwick Fitness standard for push-ups is as follows:
Level 1: 4 Push-ups
Level 2: 8 Push-ups
Level 3: 16 Push-ups