March 18, 2017

How Many Push-Ups Can You Do?

by Harlan Richards (author's profile)


March 13, 2017

How Many Punch-ups Can You Do?

Push-ups are hard for most people. Being able to do lots of push-ups at one time is not a function of how strong you are, but rather a matter of stamina.

I came across a book a few years ago called " Seven Weeks to 100 push-ups." I though it would be great if I could do 100 push-ups in one set so I started following the instructions in the book. I had been doing sets of 50 and never manage to get much beyond that.

I followed the regimen faithfully but it didn't seem like I was accomplishing anything. The first few weeks were too easy. Then about the fifth week the sequences and intervals between sets got so difficult I couldn't do them. I couldn't get through the routine without cheating. After 7 weeks, I couldn't even do a set of 50 push-ups any more. I concluded that the routine must only work for young guys.

I decided to do it my own way. I worked my way back up to 50 push-ups. Next, I began increasing my reps by one or two every week or so and did at least one set every morning. These days, I do sets of 70 push- ups and it pretty much takes all my energy to hit that number. Some days I can get a bit higher but generally I don't try. I'm content to do 70 push-ups in one set.The most I ever did in one set was 85 but that was one time and I've never reached that number again.

When we have " training day" in Stanley ( generally 2 sets with my feet elevated on a chair, 4 sets of normal push-ups and 3 sets with my upper body elevated. I start out doing sets of 70 and when I get too tired for that, the number per set goes down. I always permit women to do using their knees rather their toes to compensate for their weaker body strength). I define a push-up as being balanced on your toes and hands, back straight, arms straight, then lowering your body down until your elbows bend at least a 90 angel ( while keeping your back straight) and going back up again. Some purists insist that your chest must touch the ground while others do what I call " rabbit push-ups" ( only flex your arms a few inches). Their movement reminds me of two rabbits having sex- the motion is short and fast. I don't consider rabbit push-ups to be real push-ups, but maybe I'm just being a push-up snob.

Some guys also insist that push-ups must be done slowly. That may work your muscles harder but when you want to reach a certain number of push-ups per set, the slower you go, the harder it is to get there. Slow push-ups seem to work your muscle differently. I think that's what made my 7 week system mandated doing slow push-ups.

This blog was prompted by a conversation I had with my daughter the other day where she told me about how many ( boy ) push-ups my 6 year old grand daughter could do. She's a tumbler and swimmer and has phenomenal strength for someone her age. I can se her going for the Olympics when she gets older. All my grand children are athletic and healthy and for that I am grateful. And I'm also grateful that at 63 years of age, I can do 70 push-ups in one set.


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