Goal setting is a common motivational tool for many endeavors, including exercise programs. If you’re trying to build your chest, shoulder and triceps muscles, performing pushups is an excellent way to start. Performing 50 pushups in two minutes is challenging because pushups test your upper-body endurance as well as its strength. For example, the average score on the Air Force Academy's two-minute pushup test for men is 41. Completing 50 pushups in two minutes isn't easy, but the goal is achievable for many exercisers, as long as you set up a good plan and stick with it.
Warm up before you begin your pushup workout. Do five to 10 minutes of light cardio exercises, followed by dynamic stretches of the muscles you’re going to work out. If you’re only doing pushups, for example, perform vertical and horizontal arm swings to loosen up your chest, shoulders and triceps.
Execute pushups with proper form to avoid injury. You’ll also need to use the correct form on a pushup test, such as a military physical fitness test. Assume a starting position in which your palms are below your shoulders or spread a bit wider, your arms are extended and your feet are no more than a foot apart. Keep your body straight from the top of your head to your heels throughout the exercise.
Perform pushups at least three times per week, on consecutive days. Gradually increase the number of pushups you do during each session. Vary your routine by alternating standard pushups, wide pushups, for which you spread your hands wider to shift intensity to your chest, and triangle pushups, for which you place your hands close together to work your triceps harder.
Raise your feet when you perform pushups, to increase the exercise’s intensity and strengthen your muscles. The higher you raise your feet, the greater percentage of your body weight you’ll lift with each pushup. Alternate sets of standard and raised pushups for a balanced workout.
Train intensively for two weeks. Military trainer Stew Smith recommends a program in which you perform 200 pushups in as few sets as you can on odd days, plus another 200 pushups in as many sets as you like, spread throughout the day, on even days. Follow the program for 10 days, rest for three days, then test yourself by counting the number of pushups you can perform in two minutes.
Continue training if you fall short of 50 pushups during a two-minute test. If you've completed an intensive two-week program, don't repeat the regimen until six months have passed; return to a standard pushup workout program. If you exceed 50 pushups, continue your standard training if you wish improve your score further, or ease off on your training -- working out twice per week rather than three times, for example -- to maintain your fitness level.
Tips & Warnings
- Perform your pushups at a slow pace when you’re training, to help build your strength. Pump out your pushups quickly if you’re taking a timed test.
- Consult a physician before starting a new exercise program, particularly if you haven’t exercised for awhile or you have a pre-existing health concern. Stop performing pushups if you feel pain.
- Team in Training: Dynamic Flexibility and Mobility
- BaseOps: Push Ups Improvement Program
- Military.com: Supersets for Push-Ups and Sit-Ups
- Military.com: The Push-Up Push Workout
- The Citadel: To Improve Push-Ups
- U.S. Air Force Academy: Candidate Fitness Test Preparation Guidelines
- Marathon Training Guide: What is Dynamic Stretching?
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