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Stuck on Pushups?  Try the Pushup Push Workout!


Ever since I wrote The Grinder PT – Key to Mental Toughness eBook, I have noticed that the majority of people who attempt one of my toughest workouts I have ever created do quite well on pushups tests upon finishing.   This eBook is modeled after the first month of SEAL training, where pushups are done five days a week in the magnitude of several hundred a day.  Improving surprised me – I assumed the workout would border on over-training and it does but with proper rest / recovery you can increase pullups and pushups in two weeks.

 This went against all the physiology I had studied in the past.  What was meant to give SEAL candidates a taste of SEAL training on paper, turned out to build muscle and increase pushup maximum scores.  Typically, you give the body 48 hours of rest before doing similar resistance exercises or weight training, so the body has time to recover and grow stronger.   That is why many workout routines offer upper body exercises on Monday-Wednesday- Friday and lower body exercises Tuesday – Thursday.  Some workouts even give up to 72 hours of rest before repeating the same exercises.  But Boot camp in every branch has used pushups as a daily exercise either in organized PT or punishment for not conforming to regulations usually with improving results.  Throughout the years of experiencing military training either as a student or instructor, I noticed people were typically stronger in pushups by the end of training.

 So, I started experimenting mostly with younger people from 18-30 years of age with similar goals of increasing their pushups scores on the PFT.  The program is a ten-day pushup plan that requires pushups daily, but still has some sound physiological rules that incorporate “some” rest but not much.  Below is the program that has helped people go from 50 pushups to 80 pushups in two weeks.

If your max in under 50 reps, take your current max and multiply by FOUR:  This will equal what you should do daily for 10 days of the Pushup-Push Workout

For more details see the Pushup Push Article as well as the Pullup Push

On ODD days:  do 200 pushups (or your max X4) in as few sets as possible in addition to your regularly scheduled workout of cardio exercises.  You can still do upper body workouts on these days if you are on a program already.  This is a supplemental 200 pushups to your regular upper body workout using maximum repetition sets (4 x 50, 8 x 25…your choice how you get to 200).

 On EVEN days:  do 200 pushups (or your max x4) throughout the day.  This can be little sets of ten done every half hour or fifty pushups done four times throughout the day.

RULE:  If your maximum is under 50 pushups – do no more than 200 pushups a day.  If your maximum is 60-75, do 250-300 pushups a day.

Repeat the ODD / EVEN routine for a total of 10 days.  Then take three days off and do NO upper body pushing exercises that work the chest, triceps, and shoulders.   Then on day 14 – give yourself the pushup test (1or 2 minutes depending on your PFT). I would not recommend this workout more than once every six months, since it rather challenging on the same muscle groups repeatedly.  Here is how it looks in chart format:


Sample Routine if Current Max is 50 reps Pushups per Day
Day 1 - Regular Upper Body Workout = total pushups should be 200 reps at least 200 reps
Day 2 - Do 200 reps spread throughout the day (Max rep sets) 200 reps
Day 3 - Regular Upper Body Workout = total pushups should be 200 reps at least 200 reps
Day 4 - Do 200 reps spread throughout the day (Max rep sets) 200 reps
Day 5 - Regular Upper Body Workout = total pushups should be 200 reps at least 200 reps
Day 6 - Do 200 reps spread throughout the day (Max rep sets) 200 reps
Day 7 - Regular Upper Body Workout = total pushups should be 200 reps at least 200 reps
Day 8 - Do 200 reps spread throughout the day (Max rep sets) 200 reps
Day 9 - Regular Upper Body Workout = total pushups should be 200 reps at least 200 reps
Day 10 - Do 200 reps spread throughout the day (Max rep sets) 200 reps
Day 11,12,13 Rest Days
Day 14 Test Day


Try regular pushups, wide pushups, and tricep pushups to breakup the monotony of 10 days of straight pushups.

The only difference in these three pushups is the placement of the hands.  Regular pushups distribute your body weight proportionately between your chest, shoulders and triceps.  Whereas, the wide pushups will work the chest more and the Triceps or Close Pushups will work the triceps and shoulders more.

 If you are using a program like the ones featured on the eBook Fitness Store, continue and add this supplemental program to your training.  If you are not on a program, you can try to add this with a one of the free running programs to help your PFT running.  See Running Plan article at the Article Archives. or at

 Thanks for the emails – they really do inspire me to develop articles, so keep them coming at  This workout is an opinion of the author and should you proceed with this plan or any derivation, you do so at your own risk and should be cautious.

See the Double Your Pushups / Pullups APP Available in January 2013: 


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the
Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at


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Published Books / DVDs

Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
Maximum Fitness

The Special Operations Workout

The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT Team Member
The Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD

The Pre-Habit Workout DVD
New Fitness APPs (Navy SEAL, FBI, Pushup. Pullups)

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
NEW - Circuit Training 101 ebook
NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook

The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout
The Army Airborne Workout

Air Force PJ / CCT Workout

The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout

The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout (Vol 1 and 2)

The DEA Prep Workout

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout


Why a 52 Week Workout Cycle?

  Seal Multi Men's Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral

Become a TRX Trainer   

 TRX Train Like the Pros


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