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  1. #1
    Registered User newbie4eva's Avatar
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    Talking Push up progression (reps/sets)

    I was wondering how I should increase my push up progression. I’m not a complete beginner and can do at least 10 reps x5, and was wondering how I should increase my reps and or sets in order to gain strength and muscle (arm mass being an overall priority, including over chest size). For example every couple of days adding 1 rep to each set? If I do that, at what point should I transition to elevated push ups/one armed?

    I’m also more interested in toning my torso area rather than size as I’m a skinny fat build (small arms and a bit of a belly haha), but I would like my pecs to be more defined, so any advice on that would be great too.

    P.s. I don’t really have access to a gym, but I’m happy to put in the work at home through calisthenics and I will be implementing squats and pull ups into it
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  2. #2
    pay the iron price SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    If you are doing any high rep exercise (anything much above 10) then just keep going until you are at the point of failure (or 1 rep before). With light resistance exercises, you might not get any training response if you don't use close to maximum exertion levels in each set.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    You need to make your push ups harder.
    Some ways to do this are elevate your feet on a small box,get a mini band around your back on your hands do push ups.
    If you have a weight vest or chain(10-20 pounds worth) around the neck.
    You can also do push ups with straps like TRX or other types.
    While push ups can help the arms i wouldn't say they are a huge mass builder.
    Close grip can have some benefit on the triceps.
    Possible set yourself up with some kind of bar dips where your using all your bodyweight and can add weight around the waist.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Definitely work to make your pushups more intense rather than just doing more reps/sets. Use push up handles to go a little beyond where you normally would hit the floor. You can do a slow negative or hold the bottom for a few seconds to increase time under tension. If you don't have a weighted vest, put a barbell plate on your back. Do 1-arm pushups - just be careful since this puts a lot of pressure on your elbows.

    Defined pecs is a little tough with just pushups, but you can elevate your legs like was said (for upper chest), elevate where you put your hands - like on a chair or bench (for lower chest), close grip will target inner pecs more, etc. Pushups are also convenient in your hotel room when you're traveling.
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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Do more, see if you can get up to sets of 50. You can get a pretty nice upper body just doing push-ups, different to weight lifters, there are before and after pics all over the internet of guys doing push up challenges.
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    Self-resistance guy Bob1950's Avatar
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    Great recommendations above. Also try to perform push ups with co-contraction of muscle antagonists, when one muscle group resists to another. This technique add tension to working muscles. I do 4 sets x 10 reps with co-contraction on push up handles. It works.
    Do what you can do, listen to your body, feel your body, drive your body.
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    Registered User Kpissoutbye's Avatar
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    Try getting up to ~15 pull ups, ~30 push ups, ~60 bodyweight squats, all with good form, slow and controlled. You will see notable progress in your physique at that point. You don't need to do anything fancy with your pushups. Do one or two sets to failure every day. If progress stalls (or you can't get the same reps as the days prior) take a rest day or two and repeat. I made my best push ups gains with just one max set a day of regular push ups, with one rest day every ~5 days (depending on how I felt).
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