The Perfect Push-up Challenge
Lots of guys can bench press over 150 pounds but can’t do 10 good push-ups. Are you one of them? Take our challenge to find out.
I just did 10 push-ups — good push-ups, the kind I’ll show you below — and I’m surprised at how hard they were. I’m breathing a little heavy. My body’s kinda shaky. My chest and arms are pumped. If I did two more sets I’m pretty sure I’d be toast.
As someone who can bench press 225 pounds over 15 times, this is a bit disconcerting. I don’t remember push-ups ever being this challenging.
According to strength coach Mike Mejia — a former scrawny guy who gained over 25 pounds of muscle and went on to co-author the Scrawny To Brawny book — I’m not alone. Lots of guys are surprised at how hard push-ups can be when they do them the right way.
“Most guys perform shitty push-ups and get a false sense of confidence,” he says. “If I ask a guy to drop and give me 10, I can bet at least 9 are gonna be horrible.”
The guys who do the worst push-ups? Absolute beginners who don’t have the basic strength to maintain good body posture…and guys like me who’ve been lifting weights for a couple years and tend to rush through them, using momentum instead of muscle strength.
“Guys that bench a house start trembling at 6 reps when they’re doing good push-ups,” says Mike. “That’s the wake up call.”
Now, don’t roll your eyes. Chances are good you’re in one of those categories, too.
So the question remains: Can you do 10 good push-ups? Let’s find out.
Why Push-ups are Way cooler than you think
- Works your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Improves scapular (shoulder) and core (stomach) stability.
- Can be done at home, in the gym, or even at the airport while waiting for a flight. Though that will weird people out.
- A whole lot more you probably don’t care about.
So yeah, push-ups are a great exercise every guy should do whether he’s just starting to train with weights or has been lifting for years. So how do you know the difference between a shitty push-up and a good push-up?
Here’s Coach Paul to show us how it’s done.
Anatomy of a Shitty Push-up
- Sagging hips
- Flared elbows
- Reaching for the floor with your head instead of your chest
- Going too fast and using momentum to push back up
Anatomy of a Good Push-up
- Upper back, head, and butt in a straight line
- Elbows tucked
- Abs tight and butt cheeks clenched
- Chest gets close to the floor before the head does
- Two seconds down, one second pause, explosive push
Can you do 10 good push-ups? Drop down and try right now.
Now tell us: was it more difficult than you thought?