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How many pushups can you do?

dtg's picture
Lately I've been growing more fascinated by exercise that is more natural, such as pullups, pushups, running, etc.
I never really thought of pushups being such a great measure of fitness, and perhaps even helping you from getting
hurt as we age.  So how about you, how many pushups (_real_ ones - no cheaters!) can you do?



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timv's picture


Interesting article... I've been doing occasional pushups lately, but not trying for big numbers. I'll do 3 sets of 10-12 a few times a week just to get a bit of upper body work. My most maniacal time was when I was working with a ballet company, risking embarrassment to myself and shame for my dancing partner if I couldn't lift her. I was doing sets of 50 then. (Lifts really shouldn't require lots of arm strength since in principle most of the energy comes from the girl jumping. For the guy, they're more about timing and a bit of quick explosive oomph, but I wasn't generously gifted with either of those.) I did 3x11 earlier this eve, but just went back and knocked out a set of 30 to see if I could. It was pretty hard! And I've never even come close to doing it one-handed.
eebee's picture


But I am proud of that one. I can do about five 'girlie' ones, but that's probably considered cheating. This is a great topic for skaters since we focus so much on our leg muscles, and some skaters even pride themselves on as little upper body mass as possible. I imagine having good upper body tone would help you avoid certain injuries during a face-plant. How far down is one supposed to dip to call it a proper push-up?
timv's picture

Kiss the floor!

> How far down is one supposed to dip to call it a proper push-up?

My standard: not so far that you're resting prone on the floor, but otherwise all the way down. But I don't think it matters all that much as long as your elbows are bent well past 90 degrees. That's where (for me at least) the sticking point is and where I get the most exercise. And unless you have a gym teacher or drill sergeant watching you, I believe that you're free to set your own standard.

The big message here IMHO is that exercise works and that exercises are specific. Despite what that article says, my strength and stamina probably are pretty average. But I made a special point of working on pushups for a period of about six month or a year some years ago, and I try to keep up some level of practice with them, so I can do them.

I'd expect that I could get back up to 50 or more with a few weeks of steady work, and most anyone in this forum could get to a fairly respectable count by keeping at it, and just adding one or two more reps every few days.


skatey-mark's picture

There's a reason the

There's a reason the military loves pushups... They one of those "perfect" exercises. They're simple, you can do them anywhere, and most of all -- they work a bunch of different muscles all at the same time. Sadly, I've always been terrible at them! I've neglected developing any significant upper-body strength for years. My trainer has been forcing me to do them though -- as well as pullups and other assorted torturous exercises. Today, we did a particularly difficult exercise, that I first attempted last week. Basically, start with 10 pushups, then do 10 squat-jumps (squat, then jump). Then 9 pushups and 9 squat-jumps, then 8 & 8, 7 & 7... Last week, he had me go all the way down to 1 & 1, but I had to start "cheating" pretty early on -- sometime during the "7" set I think. (Cheating meaning I have to do them on my knees instead of my toes.) Today, I made it through 5 & 5 without cheating and he had me stop there, although I think I probably could have made it all the way through 1 & 1 today. One difference was that today, we did them closer to the beginning of the workout and my arms weren't as tired. A little later, he had my do pushups while gripping two dumbbells, then between each pushup I had to bring one of the dumbbells up in a "rowing" motion to my side. Then another pushup, and row on the other side. I think I did 12-14 pushups (and the rows in between) before my arms gave out and I had to "cheat" on the last 6 or 8... Pullups are really challenging for me right now, and I can't do more than one or two without assistance. There's an assisted-pullup machine at the gym where the more weight you put on it, the easier the pullups are. Maybe one day I'll be able to crank out a set without any assistance, but I think that's still a ways off. Oh - and as far as how far down to go on a pushup, I'm with Tim -- kiss the floor. (Not literally of course!) But I'll usually tap the floor with my forehead (lightly) or my nose if I'm doing them at home on thicker carpet. So how many pushups are *you* cranking out these days, Dave? - SM -
MikeB's picture

one handers act as a chiropractor

Not that I can do many, but learned how to do them during Rocky I. No need for a chiropractic adjustment after a few of those. Traditional pushups can really be tough, especially when adjusting hands in different spots on the floor(wide stance vs. tight stance vs. hand on hand stance, etc.) It's always good to change up. Now if you switch it up and go for the ice cream variety - well now you're talkin'. Those are my favorite pushups of all. No doubt..... MikeB
Bryan's picture


I normally do 20 as part of my skate warmup (when I bother to warm up), so I imagine I could crank out five more if I had to win a bet. I really do seem to skate better afterwards, though.
dreeves's picture


Funny you should ask: http://yootles.com/kibo/dpush/dpush.png If I follow that "yellow brick road" I should be up to 50 by summer solstice. I'm writing a little robot that emails or IMs you to ask your progress on stuff like this (weight loss is what most people use it for so far) and it shows you graphs like that. If anyone else wants to try it, just let me know. Danny
roadskater's picture

Way Cool But That's To Be Expected

Cool tool, Danny! Thanks for letting us know about that. If I ever want to commit to any course of action, I might use it, ha. How's the baby skater coming along? Hope all of you guys are doing well and good luck with the potential changes in work life too. Look forward to skating with you guys soon, hopefully!

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