Even if you have no aspirations to join the Marines, you have to admit that knocking out a set of 100 pushups at a clip would be pretty heroic—not to mention giving you awesome upper-body strength and endurance. We asked some top coaches for a plan to get you there. Here’s what they said:
Approach A: 3-day weighted pushes
“Train three days a week. On Day 1, do 3–4 sets of weighted pushups for 12–15 reps. Day 2, bench-press for 3–4 sets of 8–10 reps. Day 3, do regular pushups for 2–3 sets of 20–25 or more reps. Each week, increase the load on the first two days and increase the reps on the third. You’ll get there in a few weeks to a few months.” — Kevin Neeld, Director at Endeavor Sports Performance in Sewell, New Jersey
Approach B: Bend the barbell
“One day, do the close-grip bench press and wide-grip seated row—4 sets of 8–12 for each, increasing the weight each set. Days later, do the same with the barbell overhead press and chinup. On two other days, do 10 sets of 10 pushups. Reduce your rest periods by fi ve seconds each week. So, Week 1, 30 seconds; Week 2, 25 seconds, and so on. In Week 5, go for one set of max pushups.” — Jim Smith, strength coach in Elmira, New York
Approach C: Tempo pushups
“Find your current pushup max. Perform a pushup and pause at the top for three seconds. Then do another rep. Repeat until you’ve done half your max number. Rest for three minutes, and repeat the process until you’ve completed twice your max number of reps in total.” — Mike Scialabba, Owner of Missoula Underground Strength Training in Missoula, Montana
Approach D: 6-day timed workouts
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Workout 1
Perform four times your max number of reps, taking as long as you need to do so. It’s OK if subsequent sets have fewer reps than your max.
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: Workout 2
Set an alarm to go off five times throughout the day (every two to three hours is fine). Each time it sounds, hit the deck and do two sets of pushups. The first set should just be your max number. Rest 45 seconds, and then perform the second set, trying to reach your max again, resting as little as possible until you do.
— Jeff Decker