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Military Push Up: A Complete Guide to Build Upper Body Strength and Endurance

Military push ups are a classic exercise that have stood the test of time. They were originally developed by the military as a way to build upper body strength and endurance for soldiers, but have since become a staple in many fitness routines. The benefits of performing military push ups go beyond just physical strength; they can also help develop mental toughness and discipline.


In this article, we will dive into the proper form and technique for military push ups, as well as the variations and workout plans to help you achieve your fitness goals. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced exerciser, mastering the military push up is a great way to build a strong and resilient upper body.


Military Push Up: A Complete Guide to Build Upper Body Strength and Endurance

I. Introduction To Military Push Up


Military push ups are a type of push up exercise that is widely used in the military to build upper body strength and endurance. They are performed in a similar way to a standard push up, but with the hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and the elbows tucked in close to the body. This technique targets the chest, triceps, shoulders, and core muscles, and requires a significant amount of strength and control to perform properly.


The history and origin of military push ups can be traced back to the early 1900s, when physical fitness began to play an increasingly important role in military training. In the United States, the military began to adopt a standardized physical fitness test in the 1940s, which included push ups as one of the main exercises.


The military push up was developed as a way to ensure that soldiers were able to meet the physical demands of combat, and it has since become a staple exercise in military training programs around the world.


Today, military push ups are widely used by athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone looking to build strength and endurance in their upper body.


Whether you're training for a specific sport or just trying to improve your overall fitness, incorporating military push ups into your exercise routine can be a great way to challenge yourself and achieve your goals.


II. How to Perform a Military Push Up


Proper form and technique:


Performing military push ups with proper form and technique is crucial to avoid injury and get the most out of the exercise. Here are the steps to performing a military push up correctly:

  1. Begin in a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet together.

  2. Keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line from head to heels.

  3. Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, keeping them tucked in close to your body.

  4. Keep your hips level and your back straight throughout the movement.

  5. Lower your body until your chest touches the ground or your elbows reach a 90-degree angle.

  6. Push your body back up to the starting position by straightening your arms.

  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

It's important to maintain proper form and technique throughout the exercise to avoid injury and get the most out of the movement. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:


  • Allowing your lower back to sag or your hips to lift up.

  • Allowing your elbows to flare out away from your body.

  • Lowering your body too quickly, which can cause you to lose control and strain your joints.

  • Focusing too much on speed rather than control and proper form.


By practicing proper form and technique, you can ensure that you are performing military push ups safely and effectively to build strength and endurance in your upper body.


Common mistakes to avoid:


Here are some common mistakes to avoid when performing military push ups:

  1. Allowing your lower back to sag or your hips to lift up: This can put unnecessary strain on your lower back and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. To avoid this, engage your core muscles and keep your body in a straight line from head to heels throughout the movement.

  2. Allowing your elbows to flare out away from your body: This can put additional strain on your shoulders and reduce the activation of your chest and triceps muscles. To avoid this, keep your elbows tucked in close to your body throughout the movement.

  3. Lowering your body too quickly: This can cause you to lose control and strain your joints, particularly your shoulders and elbows. To avoid this, focus on a slow and controlled movement, lowering your body towards the ground in a smooth and controlled manner.

  4. Focusing too much on speed rather than control and proper form: While it may be tempting to try to perform as many push ups as possible in a short amount of time, this can lead to poor form and increase your risk of injury. Instead, focus on proper form and technique, and gradually increase your number of reps over time.

By avoiding these common mistakes and focusing on proper form and technique, you can perform military push ups safely and effectively to build upper body strength and endurance.



Modifications for beginners and advanced exercisers:


Here are some modifications for beginners and advanced exercisers to make the military push up more suitable for their fitness level:


For beginners:

  1. Knee Push Ups: Instead of performing military push ups from your toes, perform them from your knees. This reduces the amount of bodyweight you have to lift, making the exercise easier.

  2. Elevated Push Ups: Place your hands on a raised surface, such as a bench or step, to reduce the amount of bodyweight you have to lift. This makes the exercise easier and helps you to gradually build up your strength.

  3. Wall Push Ups: Stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Lean towards the wall and push yourself back to the starting position. This is a very easy modification and can be a good starting point for those who are new to push ups.


For advanced exercisers:

  1. Diamond Push Ups: Place your hands close together, forming a diamond shape with your fingers. This variation targets your triceps muscles more intensely.

  2. Plyometric Push Ups: Perform a regular military push up, but explode upwards so that your hands leave the ground. Land softly and immediately lower yourself back down into the starting position. This variation requires explosive strength and can help to improve power and speed.

  3. One-Arm Push Ups: Perform a military push up, but keep one hand behind your back. This requires significantly more strength and balance, making it a challenging variation for advanced exercisers.

By modifying the military push up to suit your fitness level, you can gradually build up your strength and endurance over time, and avoid the risk of injury.


III. Benefits of Military Push Ups


Strengthening of chest, triceps, shoulders, and core muscles:


Military push ups are a highly effective exercise for strengthening a number of muscle groups, including the chest, triceps, shoulders, and core muscles. Here's how:

  1. Chest: The main muscle group targeted during military push ups is the chest, or pectoral muscles. As you lower yourself towards the ground, your chest muscles contract to help control your movement, and then lengthen as you push yourself back up.

  2. Triceps: The triceps muscles are located at the back of your upper arm, and are also heavily recruited during military push ups. As you lower yourself towards the ground, your triceps muscles are responsible for extending your elbows and controlling your descent.

  3. Shoulders: The deltoid muscles in your shoulders are also heavily engaged during military push ups. As you lower yourself towards the ground, your anterior deltoids help to control your movement, and then lengthen as you push yourself back up.

  4. Core: The core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques, are important stabilizers during military push ups. Engaging your core helps to keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, and reduces the risk of injury to your lower back.


By regularly performing military push ups, you can effectively strengthen these muscle groups, leading to improved upper body strength, endurance, and overall fitness.


Improvement of overall upper body strength:


Military push ups are a highly effective exercise for improving overall upper body strength. By regularly performing this exercise, you can expect to see significant improvements in your chest, triceps, shoulders, and core muscles, as well as increased strength and endurance. Here's how:

  1. Increased muscle activation: Military push ups engage multiple muscle groups at once, including the chest, triceps, shoulders, and core muscles. By working these muscles simultaneously, you can effectively increase overall upper body strength.

  2. Increased resistance: As you progress with military push ups, you can increase the resistance by performing more reps, increasing the speed of your movement, or by adding weight to your back. This increased resistance challenges your muscles to work harder, leading to improved strength and muscle growth.

  3. Improved muscle endurance: Military push ups require a significant amount of muscular endurance, as you have to perform multiple reps without rest. By regularly performing this exercise, you can increase your muscular endurance, allowing you to perform other upper body exercises with greater ease and effectiveness.

By incorporating military push ups into your upper body workout routine, you can effectively improve your overall upper body strength, leading to improved fitness and better health.


Enhancement of muscular endurance and cardiovascular health:


In addition to improving overall upper body strength, military push ups can also enhance muscular endurance and cardiovascular health. Here's how:

  1. Muscular endurance: Performing multiple reps of military push ups requires a high level of muscular endurance. This means that your muscles can work for an extended period of time without getting fatigued. Regularly performing military push ups can help to improve your muscular endurance, allowing you to perform other exercises for longer periods of time.

  2. Cardiovascular health: Military push ups are a high-intensity exercise that can increase your heart rate and provide a cardiovascular workout. By performing multiple reps of military push ups, you can effectively improve your cardiovascular health, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.

  3. Full body workout: While military push ups primarily target the upper body, they also engage your core muscles and lower body to some extent. By engaging multiple muscle groups at once, you can effectively improve your overall fitness and health.

By incorporating military push ups into your fitness routine, you can effectively enhance your muscular endurance and cardiovascular health, leading to improved overall fitness and health.


Development of mental toughness and discipline:


In addition to the physical benefits, military push ups can also help to develop mental toughness and discipline. Here's how:


  1. Mental toughness: Military push ups require a high level of mental toughness to perform, as they can be challenging and physically demanding. By pushing yourself to complete multiple reps of military push ups, you can effectively develop mental toughness, which can help you to overcome challenges in other areas of your life.

  2. Discipline: To effectively perform military push ups, you need to have discipline and dedication. You need to commit to a regular workout routine and consistently challenge yourself to improve. By practicing discipline with military push ups, you can develop discipline in other areas of your life, such as work or personal goals.

  3. Goal setting: Military push ups can be a great way to set and achieve fitness goals. By setting specific goals for the number of reps you want to complete or the amount of weight you want to add, you can effectively track your progress and stay motivated to improve.


By incorporating military push ups into your fitness routine, you can effectively develop mental toughness and discipline, which can help you to achieve your goals and overcome challenges in other areas of your life.


IV. Military Push Up Variations


Diamond Push Ups:


Diamond Push Ups:

Diamond push ups are a variation of the traditional push up that primarily target the triceps muscles. Here's how to perform diamond push ups:

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your fingers pointed forward.

  2. Bring your hands close together in a diamond shape, with your thumbs and index fingers touching each other.

  3. Lower your body down towards the ground, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  4. Pause when your chest is a few inches from the ground, then push yourself back up to the starting position.

  5. Repeat for multiple reps.

Diamond push ups are an excellent variation of the traditional push up, as they place more emphasis on the triceps muscles. By incorporating diamond push ups into your workout routine, you can effectively target and strengthen your triceps, leading to improved upper body strength and overall fitness.


Staggered Push Ups:


Staggered Push Ups:

Staggered push ups are a variation of the traditional push up that targets the chest and triceps muscles, as well as engaging the core muscles for stability. Here's how to perform staggered push ups:


  1. Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

  2. Move one hand forward and the other hand backward, so that your hands are staggered.

  3. Lower your body down towards the ground, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  4. Pause when your chest is a few inches from the ground, then push yourself back up to the starting position.

  5. Switch the position of your hands, so that the hand that was behind is now in front, and vice versa.

  6. Repeat the push up with the new hand position.

  7. Continue to alternate the position of your hands with each rep.


Staggered push ups are an excellent variation of the traditional push up, as they require greater stability and engagement of the core muscles. By incorporating staggered push ups into your workout routine, you can effectively target and strengthen your chest, triceps, and core muscles, leading to improved upper body strength and overall fitness.


One-Arm Push Ups:


One-Arm Push Ups:

One-arm push ups are an advanced variation of the traditional push up that require a high level of upper body strength and stability. Here's how to perform one-arm push ups:

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

  2. Move one hand behind your back, keeping your arm close to your body.

  3. Lower your body down towards the ground, keeping your elbow close to your body.

  4. Pause when your chest is a few inches from the ground, then push yourself back up to the starting position.

  5. Repeat for multiple reps, then switch to the other arm.


One-arm push ups are a challenging exercise that require a high level of upper body strength, stability, and control. If you're not yet able to perform one-arm push ups, you can start by practicing with a modified version, such as a one-arm push up against a wall or on an incline surface.


By gradually working up to the full one-arm push up, you can effectively target and strengthen your chest, triceps, and core muscles, leading to improved upper body strength and overall fitness.


Plyometric Push Ups:


 Plyometric Push Ups:

Plyometric push ups are an explosive variation of the traditional push up that combines strength training with cardiovascular exercise. Here's how to perform plyometric push ups:

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

  2. Lower your body down towards the ground, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  3. Push yourself up explosively, so that your hands leave the ground.

  4. Land softly with your hands back in the starting position.

  5. Repeat for multiple reps.


Plyometric push ups are a challenging exercise that require explosive power and upper body strength. They can also provide cardiovascular benefits, making them a great addition to any workout routine. However, if you're new to plyometric exercises, it's important to start slowly and gradually work your way up to the full plyometric push up to avoid injury.


Archer Push Ups:


Archer Push Ups:

Archer push ups are a challenging variation of the traditional push up that target the chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles, while also improving upper body stability and control. Here's how to perform archer push ups:

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

  2. Move one hand to the side, so that it's directly underneath your shoulder.

  3. Keep your other hand in the starting position.

  4. Lower your body down towards the ground, using the arm that's in the starting position.

  5. As you push yourself back up, shift your weight to the other arm and move the other arm out to the side.

  6. Repeat for multiple reps, alternating which arm is used to perform the push up.


Archer push ups require a high level of upper body strength and stability, as well as control and coordination. They can be challenging to perform, so it's important to start with a modified version if you're new to this exercise. For example, you can start with a wider hand position and gradually move your hands closer together as you build strength and stability.


By incorporating archer push ups into your workout routine, you can effectively target and strengthen your chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles, leading to improved upper body strength and overall fitness.


V. Military Push Up Workout Plan


Example of a Military Push Up workout routine:


Here's an example of a military push up workout routine that you can use to improve your upper body strength and endurance:


  1. Warm up: Start with 5-10 minutes of light cardio exercise to get your heart rate up and your muscles warmed up.

  2. Regular push ups: Perform 3 sets of 10-15 push ups, using proper form and technique.

  3. Diamond push ups: Perform 3 sets of 8-10 diamond push ups, with your hands close together in a diamond shape.

  4. Staggered push ups: Perform 3 sets of 8-10 staggered push ups, alternating which hand is placed forward.

  5. One-arm push ups: Perform 3 sets of 4-6 one-arm push ups on each arm, using proper form and technique.

  6. Plyometric push ups: Perform 3 sets of 6-8 plyometric push ups, exploding off the ground with each rep.

  7. Archer push ups: Perform 3 sets of 6-8 archer push ups on each arm, with a wider hand position than regular push ups.

  8. Cool down: Finish with 5-10 minutes of light stretching and foam rolling to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery.


This workout routine can be done 2-3 times per week, with rest days in between to allow your muscles to recover and grow stronger. As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the number of reps and sets for each exercise, or add additional variations to challenge yourself even further.


Tips for incorporating Military Push Ups into a well-rounded exercise program:


Here are some tips for incorporating military push ups into a well-rounded exercise program:

  1. Start with proper form: Before you start incorporating military push ups into your exercise routine, make sure you have proper form and technique. This will help you avoid injury and ensure that you're targeting the right muscles.

  2. Incorporate variations: There are many variations of military push ups that can help you target different muscle groups and keep your workouts challenging. Try incorporating diamond push ups, staggered push ups, one-arm push ups, plyometric push ups, and archer push ups into your routine.

  3. Balance your workouts: While military push ups can be a great way to build upper body strength and endurance, it's important to balance your workouts with exercises that target other muscle groups as well. Make sure you're also including exercises for your lower body, core, and back.

  4. Gradually increase the intensity: As you get stronger, gradually increase the intensity of your military push up workouts by adding more reps or sets, increasing the difficulty of the variations, or shortening your rest periods.

  5. Allow for recovery: Make sure you're allowing your muscles to recover between workouts by taking rest days or focusing on different muscle groups on alternate days. This will help prevent injury and allow your muscles to grow stronger.

By incorporating military push ups into a well-rounded exercise program, you can improve your overall fitness and build a stronger, more resilient body.


Recommended frequency, sets, and reps for optimal results:


The frequency, sets, and reps for optimal results with military push ups will vary depending on your fitness level and goals. Here are some general guidelines:


  • Frequency: Aim to perform military push ups 2-3 times per week, with at least one day of rest in between workouts to allow your muscles to recover.

  • Sets: Start with 3 sets of 10-15 reps per set, using proper form and technique. As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the number of sets or reps, or add additional variations to challenge yourself even further.

  • Reps: For strength and power, aim for lower reps (6-8) with higher resistance, such as one-arm push ups or plyometric push ups. For endurance and muscle growth, aim for higher reps (10-15) with moderate resistance, such as regular or staggered push ups.


It's important to listen to your body and adjust the frequency, sets, and reps as needed based on your individual fitness level and goals. Additionally, it's recommended to incorporate other exercises into your workout routine to balance your muscle development and avoid overuse injuries.


 

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VI. Conclusion


In conclusion, Military Push Ups are a challenging and effective exercise for building upper body strength, endurance, and mental toughness. By using proper form and technique and gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts, you can see significant improvements in your chest, triceps, shoulders, and core muscles.

To recap some key points:

  • Military Push Ups are a variation of push ups that are performed with a straight back and close hand position.

  • Proper form and technique are essential for avoiding injury and targeting the correct muscles.

  • Common mistakes to avoid include sagging hips, flaring elbows, and improper hand placement.

  • Variations such as diamond push ups, staggered push ups, one-arm push ups, plyometric push ups, and archer push ups can provide additional challenges and target different muscle groups.

  • Military Push Ups can improve overall upper body strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular health, and mental toughness.

I encourage you to incorporate Military Push Ups into your fitness routine, whether you're a beginner or an advanced exerciser. Start with proper form and technique, and gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts as your strength improves. With consistent effort and dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals and build a stronger, healthier body.


If you found this article informative and helpful, we encourage you to share it with your friends, family, and social media followers. By sharing this article, you can help spread the word about the benefits of Military Push Ups and inspire others to incorporate this challenging exercise into their fitness routine. Together, we can build a stronger, healthier community.


References

  1. "The Benefits of Doing Push-Ups and How to Do Them Correctly" by Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/push-ups-benefits

  2. "Military Push-Up Exercise Guide - How to Do It Properly" by FitnessVolt: https://fitnessvolt.com/military-push-up/

  3. "Push-Up Variations for a Stronger Chest" by Muscle and Fitness: https://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/chest-exercises/push-up-variations-for-a-stronger-chest/

  4. "The Ultimate Guide to Push-Ups" by Men's Health: https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19538471/pushup-guide/

  5. "10 Best Push-Up Variations for a Stronger Body" by Bodybuilding.com: https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/10-best-push-up-variations-for-a-stronger-body.html


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