2 exercises to push up your pushups

Pushups or push ups? Does it matter? Probably not, but I tend to go with the one word option…

Anyways, whatever you call them, they are a fantastic and underrated exercise for both upper body and core strength. Effectively, they are a plank that you move through space. But they can be a bit tricky to do.

So here are 2 great ways to progress your pushup prowess.

The first is to address the hardest portion of the pushup: the bottom bit: the push out of the bottom position. That’s why so many people short-change the movement by performing half reps.

Chest, shoulders and triceps are all required to maintain good shoulder position and to develop the drive out of the bottom position. Performing full-range reps, either on the floor or on an incline can help to develop this strength, but I have another option for you to add to your practice: Isometric holds.

These are where you hold a specific position in the lift, usually where you struggle most to build strength at that position. With these, you are going to go to the bottom position of the pushup and hold for 3-5 seconds. Like actual seconds, not counting from 1 to 5 as quick as you can.

As some muscle fibres fatigue, others will be called into play, increasing your ability to develop strength at this position. At the end of the hold,  simply drop to your knees and reset the top position.

You also don’t have to do these on the floor, using an incline can help you build your reps. As you build strength, you can drop the height and restart the process on your way to doing full reps.

I normally program these for 2-4 sets of max reps of 5 seconds. Once you can’t control the position for the required time, the set is over. Take plenty rest between sets.

You can check out a video of isometric holds below.


The next area people struggle with is actually getting all the way to the top position. This is mostly triceps strength, though again some shoulder and chest is involved, albeit at a lower amount.

Finding a way to increase the load as you get closer to the top position can be a good option for building the strength needed to finish the pushup well. And that’s where banded pushups come into play.

At the bottom of the pushup, the band is at its slackest, providing less tension and an easier push initially. As you get further away from the floor the tension increases and you once again are forced to recruit more muscle fibres to help out.

Once again, these don’t have to be done on the floor. I’ve been using them more with clients on an incline to help build the required strength as they work towards full reps on the floor.

Again I usually program these for 2-4 sets of max reps -2. I.e. leave 2 good reps in the tank.

Check out the video below.

Let me know how you get on with these and if you have any questions, just get in touch and I’ll be happy to help!

Have a great day,


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