Push-ups are one of those killer moves that elicit groans from even the most hardcore HIIT fanatics. And unfortunately, (ugh) the only way to perfect your form is to schedule the full-body burner into your workouts on a consistent basis until you get more comfortable with, you know, defying gravity.
If you’re game to become the reigning rep champion of your gym though, all you need is four weeks, 12 workouts, and tweaking your current form to match a “dead-stop push-up,” reports Men’s Health. Here’s exactly how to make it happen.
Step 1: Figure out your test number or baseline
Before kicking off the plan, you’ll first need to assess your current push-up abilities so that your sweat hindsight can be oh-so-sweet one month from now. To do that, drop down into proper push-up position with your feet together, your body parallel to the floor, and your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Then, lower your body all the way to the ground, making sure to keep your core sucked in. Lift your hands off the ground, and place them back down to propel yourself back to the starting position. Count how many of these leveled-up push-ups you can do in 60 seconds, and—bam—you have your test number (AKA, your baseline).
Step 2: Decide what your #goals are
Next, determine where you want to go. According to the YMCA fitness test, the average amount of push-ups women can complete in under 60 seconds are as follows, but you can also get a pretty good idea of where you are using this calculator. Whether you’re trying to topple these goals or just up your current game, it can be a helpful guide.
•17 to 19 years: 11 to 20
• 20 to 29 years: 17 to 29
• 30 to 39 years: 13 to 24
• 40 to 49 years: 11 to 20
• 50 to 59 years: 9 to 17
• 60 to 65 years: 6 to 16
Step 3: Create your training plan
To reach your desired figure, add the dead-stop push-up to three of your weekly workouts for four total weeks, completing five sets on each of the 12 occasions.
Week 1: Do 40 percent of your test number. (For example, if your test number was 20, you’ll need to do five sets of eight push-ups during all three workouts of week one.)
Week 2: Do 40 percent of your test number again.
Week 3: Do 50 percent of your test number.
Week 4: Do 60 percent of your test number.
When you’ve made it through the first month, return to step one to see how you’ve improved. If you haven’t hit your desired rep count just yet, don’t fret—you can repeat the month cycle until you do. Just remember, this variety of push-up runs laps around the old school half-way-lower variety. So chances are, next time someone yells, “Drop and give me 20!” mid-training session, you’ll feel like you’re taking it easy.
Speaking of tough (but effective) workout moves, here’s how to modify your burpees, according to Kayla Itsines, and how to master the “gallop.”
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