Pushups for Time - Pushups to the Extreme!
Stew Smith, CSCS
This week I received a fun email from a former Marine who likes to push himself still and those around him. He writes:
Stew, I have been using your workouts to get my pushups up to 100 in 2 minutes (as a Marine we focused on pullups as you know) and got it last week. Now I an thinking of doing pushups for some kind of record – thousands maybe?
Also if you would I have laid down the challenge in my office to do 15 pullups / 40 pushups for 3 sets in under 6 minutes. Any ideas on how to train / strategize that one?
Good job with the pushups tests in two minutes goal! The super-sets, pyramids, and timed rep sets work pretty well to build up to those goals even for us 40+ year olds. But to train for the higher rep no time limit pushups contests you need to change your focus. As you know for a two minute test it is all about speed as an above average score is one pushup per second or faster even.
I compare the two styles of pushups to running a 100m sprint for time and running a marathon. Both are still running, but two entirely different methods to train as well as energy systems that are used.
For the higher goals you want to pace yourself and go slowly so your muscles can recover during the long duration. But you actually let gravity take you down – no exertion and come up relatively fast – and pause at the top with arms straight (muscles relaxed) – using more bones to stay up than muscle. This type of steady pace can help you last longer in the pushup contest, but you also need to practice working other muscle groups in order to stay in the UP position.
Watch for Tendinitis! This type of repetition will wreak havoc on your elbows / shoulders so you need to recover well with good foods / ice after hundreds of pushups workouts / stretch well.