Hand-Release Push-Ups Don’t Let You Cheat the Movement

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Hand-release push-ups are part of the Army Combat Fitness Test for a reason—they're hard. The move is just one of the ways the military tests mobility and endurance, and they do so by seeing how many hand-release push-ups can be done in a two-minute time frame.

Hand-release push-ups don't let you cheat your way through the move. You forced to complete the full movement with proper form. (If you find it too challenging, you can always drop your knees to the ground.) Every muscle in your upper body is engaged in order to lift you back up each time.

If you want to see if you can do the army-approved push-up, here's how to perform it properly.

How to do hand-release push-ups properly

  1. Get into your starting position with your hands flat on the floor directly beneath your shoulders and your feet together.
  2. Push-up, straightening your arms as you raise your upper and lower body at the same time. Your body should stay in a straight line the entire time.
  3. Once both elbows are fully extended, return to the starting position with your hands flat on the floor beneath your shoulders.
  4. Without moving your head, body, or legs, lift your hands about an inch off the floor for the "hand release" portion of the push-up.
  5. Return your hands to the starting position to complete the push-up.

The top of the push-up is a plank. Here's how to do it correctly:

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