Need help increasing my push up max

Hi all, I’m joing the Air Force (I leave for Basic on Nov 11th) I can already meet the minimum push up requirment which is 45 in 2minutes. I am trying to get up 75 in 2 minutes which is considered honor grad standards, all the running and situps I can do, its just when I try to do the push up thing I seem to start out good but the more times I try to train push ups the harder it is to do. I do take time off but then its even harder when I start back, almost like I have never done them before.

So long story short does anyone know of a way to increase once push ups? Cuz my program does not work, I cant get to a gym to do lifts but I do have some dumbells that go up to 35lbs. How often should I do them, how many sets/reps, how should I rest after sets/workouts? Any help would be great. Thanks

I’m in a similiar situation and I can’t say I’m having great sucess, but I’m just starting. Charlie used to have his athletes do depletion pushups (i.e. pushups until you drop, 90s rest, pushups until you drop, 90s rest, pushups until you drop) to increase BP strength as well as pushup max. I do this a lot, but I’m now also trying to incorporate variation and I think this will yield greater results. For instance in the above scenario I might give myself 3 minutes rest or 30s rest, or maybe try to do 3 sets of an equal number. The rests can be varied in that situation too. There are many different ways to slice it.
You also are dealing with the time aspect which I can’t really comment on.

Depletion work would of been my reccommendation too. I think it works very well.

My HS athletes went form 25-30 to 60 push ups…depletion rocks! You can do bench on the same day and when push-ups are high do them on tempo days…I love depletion during the GPP.

Did you have a number you had them shoot for in pullups/chinups as well during their GPP?

Also how did you have them go about increasing them, since with the lower reps they are a bit of a different animal then pushups?

Great thanks all of you. So do as many as I can then wait 90 seconds and then repeat. How many times do I repeat? Till I just cant do any more? And how often should I do them, every day, every other day?

Some more thoughts:

  1. Try Pavel Tsatsouline’s GTG program which involves varying numbers of press ups based on a % of max throughout the day.

  2. Alternatively, a number of people have reported success on his “ladder” program. I’ll give more details if this is not known to you.

  3. Increase the resistance by using weight on your back or bands.

  4. Probably heresy, but try doing isolation work for triceps if they are the weak link.

  5. I think that the recent issue of Men’s Health has a varied weekly program which looks useful. If it is important I’ll grit my teeth and buy it!

Thrice is the sprinters protocol. I wouldn’t just do this every other day though, I’d try to vary.

5 pull ups to 23 in 9 weeks (full extension) for a kid that is 15 years old. Raise the bar with gpp and let go of the year round maximal theories out there. Get primal and destroy.

Sorry Clemson but the purpose of relating an anecdote about a 15 year old increasing his pull ups totally eludes me.

So did you the same thing as with push-ups (90 seconds rest)? How many times per week?

On your last couple of pushups GRIP the floor HARD. (or “claw” it.)
Let the tension from fingers/hands/wrists spread up the fore-arms into upper arms etc…
This will give you some xtra pushups that u might not have thought possible just before applying the method.

Interesting, I will have to try that Goose.

could u post these?


Using Men’s health as a guide confuses me! The point is 95% of the programs are crap…that’s why only five percent are winners. Leave the soviet secrets to the bums.

See my question above.

Clemson-I hesited to make reference to Men’s Health for fear of receiving some flak and was not disappointed.

In view of your strong feelings about the “Soviet” approach I will
offer no further information to avoid any possible accusations about creating bums on this forum.

Well here is the Grease the Groove article for those interested:

If the link doesn’t work you may have to subscribe or at least put a fake e-mail address in for one of their newsletters to access the article. I bought two Pavel Tsatsouline books when I was just starting out about 8-10 months ago and am now convinced he is a piece of crap. However the idea of doing say 4 pullups when you can do 10 every time you enter your room to try to increase max does have some merit and the same is probably true with pushups. Just don’t accidentally end up maxing out your credit card by buying two books with a total of 1000 words.

EDIT:Please do note however that they offer a kettlebell seminar on tape for just slightly over 1000 dollars. I would not suggest passing that opportunity up!

From Russia with Love…

Get primal and destroy

For sure.

My track coach had my school’s football team on this program this summer consisting of OL, squat/bench and sprinting 4 days in a row. Extremely high intensity. And it built so much confidence in his players that they all immediately started talking shit to me about how fast they now are and how stupid I am for not doing it.-Then I raced them and beat their asses.

Wow they sure showed me.