Tips for Increasing Upper Body Strength to Do More Push-ups

As a personal trainer in the Vancouver, Washington area, I get a lot of questions. Sometimes they come in person, while other times they come to my Facebook page. One of the questions I frequently get is how someone can increase their upper body strength so that they can do more push-ups. So let’s take a look at that now!

Doing push-ups is essentially a great way to test your upper body strength. Many people, like Patty S., who recently asked the question on Facebook, found that as she was getting older she wasn’t able to do as many push-ups. Today she can only do 2-5 push-ups. In order to increase that, the upper body strength will also need to increase.

Whether you have limited upper body strength as a result of recovering from an accident, like one of my baby boomer clients, or another reason, you can work on this. One client of mine went from being able to do 5-10 on a good day to being able to do 50 within 12 weeks of training. Another one of my clients, who was in the military, needed to improve so she could pass her physical tests. With a five-week period of training she went from doing 5 push-ups to doing 25, which helped her get her passing score and rank.

It is never too late to increase your upper body strength so you can get better at doing more push-ups. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

  • Always focus on form. Your form has to be right so you are building strength and avoiding injury. Good form includes hands being under shoulders, neck being tucked, and hips being in line with your head. Your back should never be arched or sagging, and your head should never be looking upward.
  • Start out by doing countertop push-ups. You can do this with any countertop. In a standing position, place your arms on the countertop, consider your form, and do as many push-ups as you can do in this position.
  • Once you can do 20 countertop push-ups it is time to move up to knee push-ups on the ground. On your knees, maintain your form, and do as many as you can.
  • When you are able to do 20 knee push-ups it is time to do full push-ups. Start out doing as many as you can, and when you can’t continue switch to knee push-ups to get your full reps in.
  • While building up your strength you will want to do these three times per week, working yourself up to 100 push-ups during each workout.
  • It is also important to do reverse push-ups in order to maintain a balance in your shoulders. As part of your work out add in pulling exercises, or reverse push-ups, where you are pulling your body weight and using the proper form and alignment.

Whether you are a baby boomer or not, it is never too late to increase your upper body strength and get better at doing push-ups. Stick with a program and over time you will be surprised at how many push-ups you will be able to do. I help many clients in the Vancouver area to get fit and believe you can do it, too!

To get your program to improve your push-ups and overall fitness CLICK HERE 

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