Guide to Bodyweight Muscle Building:
Learn how to build muscle WITHOUT a gym membership
The pushup is one of the most basic movements of all time. You were most likely first exposed to it in gym class.
Never would you have thought that this basic movement that you learned in your childhood would come in handy in adulthood.
In the video above, Elliot Hulse was asked a question by a reader regarding improving his pushup numbers.
The reader was in the military, and wanted to become better at pushups so that he would be able to better handle basic training.
We all know just how much the military LOVES pushups! If it’s good enough for the military, then it’s good enough for you…
The idea that the reader wanted verified was whether or not 300 pushups per day was a good strategy to improve pushup numbers.
Elliots response was: no! 300 pushups per day would lead to all sorts of muscular imbalances which would do more harm then good.
You can increase your pushup max without training at such a high volume. The following is the pushup program Elliot Hulse recommended:
Perform 1 maximum set of pushups. Go all out until you are unable to do a single pushup.
Rest from pushups. You can, of course, perform other types of training.
Manual/external resistance slow tempo pushups. The main idea is to take 5-10 seconds to lower your pushups, and 5-10 seconds to push back to starting position.
Complete rest from pushup training.
Cluster sets. Perform 3 repetitions, rest for 30 seconds. Perform 3 repetitions, rest for 30 seconds. Continue in this fashion until you are unable to perform 3 full repetitions.
Also check out:
- How to do 50 Chinups and a 100 Pushups
- Build Huge Mass with Bodyweight Training using Time Volume Training
Isometrics sets. Stop just an inch off the floor. Hold that position for 10 seconds. Push yourself midway, hold that position for 10 seconds. Push all the way to the top position, hold for 10 seconds. This is one set.
Dealing with Soreness
To mitigate soreness, Elliot Hulse recommends stretching, and LOTS of stretching. The following are some stretches to help you recover from pushups:
Standing Biceps Stretch
- Stand with your hands clasped behind your back, palms facing each other. Straighten your arms behind you and rotate so that your palms are facing downward.
- Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds, then relax and return to starting position.
Doorway Modified Chest Stretch
- Stand at the end of a wall or doorway. Place the front of your shoulder and inside of bent arm on surface of wall.
- From here, lean slightly towards wall/doorway, allowing your shoulder to be pushed back.
- Turn your body away from your shoulder as you do this. Pause, return to starting position and repeat.
- Raise your arm out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Open up your hand so that the palm is facing away from you and all fingers are pointed to the ceiling.
- With the other hand, grab the fingers and gently pull them back towards you.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds. You should feel in the forearms. Release. Flip your hand position so that your fingers are now point downwards.
- With the other hand grab your fingers and jointly pull backwards. Hold, then release.
- Repeat with the other hand.
Additional Recovery Ideas
The tiger tail is a portable foam roller. Use it to roll the sore muscle. You can also use a normal size foam roller.
Work your Back Muscles
Training just one muscle group will lead to overuse injuries and potential muscular imbalances. Make sure you are balancing out with pullups training or some other movements that target your back.
Take a Rest Day
If your pushup numbers do not increase each week, based on your max rep workout on Monday, then you may need to just take an extra day off.
This is a solid program to increase your pushups. But, you will still need a full-body program if you wish to really use bodyweight training to build muscle and get stronger. If you click on the next page, you will discover exactly the step-by-step program you need: