Whether you’re new to training or you’re a longtime fanatic, you know how addicting fitness goals can be. Many of us adopted a workout routine during the pandemic and now have a gentle home gym. Others are back at their favorite fitness centers with the full line of equipment. No matter how you train, simple body weight tests are still fun measures of our fitness. One of these tests is the push-up.

The average man should be able to do about 20 push-ups. But if you’re not up to par, no worries. We’ve compiled a list of workouts to help you improve your push-up performance. While just doing regular push-ups will help you increase your overall count, it’s also important to train the other muscles involved in a push-up. This means that hitting the triceps and core is just as important as hitting the chest. Read on to see how you can train to improve your pushups.

Training box for pumps

The chest is the central muscle of the pump. Therefore, it makes sense that other exercises for strengthening the chest will help your push-up capacity. The bench press or bench press is excellent for this. You can do presses with a barbell or dumbbells, on a flat bench or on an incline. For optimal training results, it is best to alternate the way you do this exercise. For example, during Workout # 1, do bench presses with flat dumbbells. The next time you hit your chest, do some incline dumbbell presses.

A barbell bar takes less work to stabilize and is therefore ideal for lifting heavier weights. However, don’t neglect the dumbbells, even if you can’t lift that many. They recruit stabilizer muscles that help you on your push-up journey. Strength training with this exercise, which means low reps. Three sets of 3 to 5 reps will really build your strength. Gradually increase the amount of weight you are lifting, eventually going over your body weight. As your chest strength increases, it will result in more pushups.

Man Bench Pressing with an observer behind him.

Training triceps for push-ups

Your triceps also come into play when you do push-ups. Strengthen them by doing dips (also great for the chest), cable pull-ups, and skull grinders. Keep the reps low, around 6 to 8, to really strengthen the triceps. Note that when doing push-ups, the closer you bring your hands together, the more your triceps come into play. The more you separate them, the more the exercise targets your chest.

Side by side photos of men doing different triceps exercises.

Drive core for pumps

At the heart of the push-up exercise is a plank. It is important to keep your body straight and engage your core while doing push-ups. You can do static planks, which means you keep your arms straight and hold the pose for as long as possible. However, there are a lot of advantages to dynamic planks which means you are moving throughout the movement. Check out the dynamic seven-minute board workout below.

Do push-ups to get better at push-ups

It sounds pretty obvious, but doing more push-ups will help you improve. Here are two ways to do it.

  1. Move more slowly in the movement. The longer you put your muscles under tension, the harder they have to work. Get into a push-up position and lower yourself to the floor. Focus on slowly lowering yourself, counting to four. Return to normal speed and repeat. By spending more time in this position, you engage the muscles for longer, which will help you with the number of push-ups you can do at a normal speed.
  2. The other way to train for push-ups is to do push-ups throughout the day. Set yourself a target. Depending on where you are now, maybe 50. Maybe 100. Start in the morning and do as many push-ups as possible. And then throughout the day, between Zoom meetings, or every time you take a walk in the kitchen, do 10-20 more. By regularly reaching 100 push-ups a day, your body and muscles will adapt and you will be able to do more push-ups at one time.
Man doing push-ups with free weights.

As you get stronger and increase your push-up ability, be sure to reward yourself and celebrate the accomplishment. It can be easy to jump into the next goal without properly marking our accomplishments. When you find that you are able to do push-ups on a regular basis until you are bored, it may be time to adjust your chest training so that you don’t stabilize yourself. Mark these seven push-up exercises for an extra challenge to come back to when you’re ready. These exercises can also be fun to do alongside the workouts above if you are looking to push your limits.

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