How To: Increase the Number of Push Ups You Can Do

Increase the Number of Push Ups You Can Do

Consistently used in many forms of physical training, the push up has been considered one of the best physical tests of muscular fitness and endurance. Namely known for its use in the military as well as other physically demanding activities such as boxing and the martial arts, the push up is necessary for any physical examination in which many struggle with.

Whether you need to increase your push ups in the military or other extra curricular activities, this article will give you step-by-step instruction as well as hints and tips to be successful. The two keys tested throughout the push up are both strength and muscular endurance.

Target Muscle Groups

To understand how to take full advantage of a push up, it is necessary to understand the muscle groups used during the push up. The primary muscle used in the push up is the chest, and the secondary muscles used are the triceps and core. Take a look:

How to Increase the Number of Push Ups You Can Do


While hours of bench presses and flies will increase your chest size and strength, you may be wondering why your push up numbers are still lacking. While we named the three major muscle groups performing in this exercise, the push up also requires smaller "stabilizing" muscles in order to be performed effectively. While the bench press targets the chest, the idea is to train these specific "stabilizing" muscles, which are mainly reached by doing more push ups. 

In other words, if you are having difficulty with push ups, it is because these smaller stabilizing muscles that are required have not been trained enough and thus, in essence, to do more push ups, you must keep doing push ups. There are plenty of push up techniques to target these smaller muscles and increase strength such as explosive push ups, diamond push ups, wide arm push ups, and incline/decline push ups.


While strength is half the battle towards more push ups, endurance is necessary to increase your number of reps. The key to endurance is mainly accomplished as strength is increased, but there needs to be an understanding of how to take advantage of the endurance you gain. In order to do as many reps as possible in a single sitting you must:

Step 1 Be Quick

Begin by completing as many possible repetitions in a row as possible until the point where you need your first rest*.

* The resting position is done by gaining the downward dog position

Step 2 Be Conservative

Understand that at this point, your muscles have received little recovery during the resting position. By now you should begin to rep out sets of 5 push ups at a time, resting in between each set.

Step 3 Be Strategic

As your endurance begins to decline, begin to adjust hand positions to wide or close arm in order to engage different muscles and allow other ones to rest.

Two Week Program to Increase Number of Repetitions

Beginning on a Monday, every odd day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) complete 200 push ups in one sitting. This can be done in as many as 50 reps for 4 sets or as little as 10 reps for 20 sets. Either way, achieve 200 push ups in the same sitting. On even days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), complete 200 push ups in a single days time. this would mean completing 10 or 20 upon waking up, maybe another 20 after breakfast and so in until you reach 200 push ups on the day. Rest on Sundays and on the 14th day you will receive results.


  • Be careful not to overtrain. If you feel you are doing a significantly fewer number of push-ups, this is a sign that our body may need a few days rest.
  • Hydrate throughout your day, especially while doing any form of exercising. Consume at least 64 ounces of water every day.
  • Know your limits. Do not make the mistake of pushing your body too hard.

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1 Comment

Anyone who can do two hundred pushups hardly needs to improve the number they can do as they have already reached a point of diminishing marginal return for the effort put out. Maybe pullups would be a better investment of time and energy.

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