Today we will be debunking the 500 push ups a day myth! It’s a myth for a reason. If you want to increase your power, strength, and get bigger you cannot do the same exercise over and over every single day and expect better results. You have to increase variation, volume, and adjust your frequency. Let me explain a bit more…
Variation is very important to increase the resistance. We cannot decrease or increase weight like on a bench press, we are using our bodyweight so changing it up and progressing to more difficult exercises is how we adjust our weight and intensity. You have to consistently use progressive overload if you want to build a greater physique. With calisthenics you have to change the exercise to change the resistance. It does not make sense to do the same movement with the same weight every day and expect to build size, strength and power. Change it up!
Now you want to increase the volume. Instead of doing 500 push ups a day, lets think 3 sets of 6 superman push ups, and then superset it with a different movement and another. So instead of performing 500 reps, we would be doing around 70-100. Performing an exercise with too much volume repetitively will only build endurance and not size. 3-4 sets with 6-12 reps is most commonly referred to as the “sweet spot.” Combine this with the right amount of frequency and you will be golden.
Frequency is key to building muscle. If you train a muscle too often, you won’t allow your body to recover and rebuild what you’ve already broke down. This is referred to as overtraining. On the other hand, if you don’t train a muscle group enough and allow too much rest between workouts, you are not being consistent enough to see steady results. Look at the GAS theory. When you take a new exercise and start working at that, your body becomes alarmed. After a while you start to get used the the exercise, and this is where you begin building more strength and power. Finally you are completely adapted and your body is no longer under stress. Focus on two to three times per week and you will be good to go.
Now lets get into some exercises that will help you get to where you need to be. First off is the arrow push up. While you are pushing with one arm, focus on pulling with the opposite arm like a chest fly. Switch back and forth from each side. Your opposite arm should be fully extended not bent. Your back and hips need to be completely straight as well.
Next we will be doing the practice planche push up. Keep your hands turned outwards to take pressure off of your wrists. Lean forward while keeping a hollow body and perform a push up. Your elbows should be tucked in close to your body and not flared out. This makes it a lot harder on your anterior delts and chest.
The next movement is the clap push up. Come all the way down, pause and explode up. This will recruit a more intense contraction throughout the entire exercise. The more explosive you are the better your workout will be.
Final exercise will be the single arm arrow push up. One arm should be completely extended with your wrist turned out. Your working arm will be like a normal push up with your wrist in a neutral position. We will be focusing on one side at a time.
You can definitely build an amazing physique with only bodyweight training, and if you follow these exercises you will be off to a great start. Perform 3-5 sets with 6-10 reps for each exercise.