One question I hear a lot from those working out at home is ‘how can I improve my push up count?’ There are many reasons why someone might want to improve their press up count, ranging from improving their strength or feeling more confident about themselves. But there are some things that being able to do more push ups won’t help.
The Best Way to Improve your Push Up Count
When it comes to being able to increase the number of push ups you can do, the best advice I was given, was to make them more difficult to perform by increasing the intensity of the push ups you are doing. Instead of trying to do more and more regular press ups, increasing the amount by a couple of reps each time you do this exercise, it is much better to change the way you do them. Slowly adding a few extra push ups isn’t going to give you the benefit that doing more intense push ups can give. If you only continue to do regular push ups, your body and the muscles used, will get used to this exercise and will stop growing or getting stronger.
In fact I would say, once you can comfortably do three sets of 12 reps of regular push ups, it is time to make them more difficult. Not only will this change shock your muscles into growing again but it will make your training sessions more interesting and less drawn out and boring. If your home workouts are fun, then it is much more likely you will stick with them instead of giving up due to being bored to death!
Also, once you have mastered the more difficult versions of the push up you will able to do more regular push ups which was your original goal.
How to Make Push Ups More Difficult
There are a number of ways to increase the intensity of regular push ups, which I covered in some depth in this article on making push ups more difficult. But to cut to the chase some of the best ways are as follows:
- Work your way up to doing one arm push ups
- Put a weight or heavy object (or small person) on your back
- Raise your legs off the ground to perform elevated push ups
- Use a Swiss ball to either support your arms or your legs
- Use a suspension trainer like the Jungle Gym XT to support your arms or legs
- Practice doing a clap between each press up
- Strengthen the muscles involved by doing other exercises
Stop Doing Push Ups to Get Better at Them
This might sound like a paradox, but one way I found that helped to improve my push up count was to stop doing them all together. Once I started working out with weights, I stopped doing body weight exercises like push ups. If not saying this is the right or wrong thing to do but after a few months of solid weight training, doing chest and tricep exercises like the bench press, dumbbell flies and dips, I discovered my press up count had improved dramatically.
Stopping doing press ups for a while, and focusing on weight training is something you should try if you want to improve your press up count. Not only will it increase the number of push ups you can do but it should also increase your all-round strength and result in improve muscle gains.
I understand why you want to be able to do more push ups, I really do. There is nothing like having to admit you can do barely ten, but if you want to get the most out of your exercise routine, whether you train at home or not, then chasing numbers on just one exercise shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. Even if you only train and exercise at home you can still get in a perfectly good workout at home without loads of expensive equipment. This article I wrote on working out at home with just a set of kettlebells should give you some ideas on what you can achieve with a good home workout routine.