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The Humble Pushup

The Humble Pushup

The humble push up. I think this is the exercise that most of us who want to get stronger start with as youngsters.

Then, if you’re like me, you start reading Joe Weider’s Muscle And Fitness (should actually be called muscle and unfitness, with all the erroneous advice it contains) and ignore the pushup in favour of the bench press from that point forward.

Then, also if you’re like me, you get older and realise that you want a more encompassing fitness than simply how heavy you can bench and rediscover the idea that so called “functional strength” – you know – the crossfit thing that is much derided by steroid bloated gym rats – is what you want.

At that time you rediscover the pushup.

As far as exercises go the pushup is one hell of an exercise. Shoulders, triceps, chest, back and core all get worked. It’s great for that attribute rarely worked in the weight room, muscular endurance; the ability to for the muscle to keep working beyond short bursts. The revolutionary idea to a gym rat that you may need to do more for a sport than a 10 second burst followed by a couple of minutes rest.

There are variations you can do to emphasis your triceps and just to add variety so you don’t get stale doing them.

If you feel like you need to make the exercise harder, add a backpack with weights in it.

One of the things about having a ready supply of freehand exercises is that you are never gymless. If you are that lacking in imagination that if you don’t have a weights room handy you can’t workout, you need to reassess. A pushup can be done anywhere. Add some chin ups, freehand squats, situps, and the whole body can be done without a weight in sight.

So how do you incorporate pushups into a workout? Well one way is at the end of a bench press workout, simply add a couple of sets of pushups.

Alternatively you can do a complete freehand workout with say 4 to 5 sets of pushups incorporated into it.

Keep an eye out on the blog. I will be posting examples of how to use push ups as part of a sports training program.

About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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