Do pushups build any real strength?

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Dear reader,

Many moons ago  I was in conversation with a couple of contacts online (or perhaps it was on the phone – I’m not too sure as of now).

We were talking exercises  – specifically upper body exercises, and I naturally “pulled” for my favorite upper body exercise – that being the pushup.

This apparently did not go down too well with the others though.

Person A – “Hmmmph! Just pushups! That doesnt build any real strength – hell, does it even build ANY strength? ”

Person B – “Oh, I know, I know. Doing pushups is easy. I can do them all day, and still not experience a lick of growth from them”.

Person C (me) – “Yes, but … ”

And then nothing. Figured it’s best not to spend time educating those who don’t want to be educated, and yet that was by far NOT the only time I’ve heard idiots make such retarded statements.

Anyone that says the pushup doesnt build strength has got  to be a grade A moron – NO questions asked.

Or, and more likely – this person is probably part of the “wannabe gang”. The “envious, jealous and lazy” gang that hangs around watching those in the know pound out their exercises – secretly try to do them at home – fail miserably because of a) their poor conditioning and b) their ponderous bellies which make it even harder for them to DO the actual pushup – even one or two of them.

Hey, it’s kinda hard doing pushups when your tummy insists on hitting the floor first as opposed to your chest – and NOT because you’re bending your lower back. It’s ok. I understand. Yada, nada, schnada.

Laugh away, my dear reader, but the truth is that what I’ve just said above will probably tick off a lot of the people that have been conditioned to believe that bodyweight exercises are useless.

So be it.

And fact is most of these same people would be hard pressed to do even FIVE reps of said exercise in proper form.

Take the average whiner, and ask him to pump out 25 slow – REGULAR (supposedly the easiest eh) pushup – and chances are he won’t get past 5 or 7. In fact, chances are excellent that these same whiners won’t even be able to do those 5 or 7 in letter perfect form.

(And no, wildly bouncing up and down doesn’t constitute a pushup, my friend).

In elite forces around the world, the recruits do – guess what as a MAINSTAY of their routine.

Pushups, my friend – and done as I teach in the 0 Excuses Fitness System, with FULL extension.

Not half ass baked reps and certainly not reps where the chest bounces off the floor and the arms barely go beyond 90 degrees.

But why just elite forces? Boxers – wrestlers – sprinters – what do each of these groups of athletes do as a common part of their training?

Pushups, pushups, and more pushups – now, how could that be eh? I thought they didn’t build strength?

Second, even in the rare eventuality that said moaner and pisser is able to pound out 25 strict reps, does this mean the pushup won’t build strength beyond that?

Not a chance, my friend. Not a chance.

Make that 25 50 and then 70 – then 90 – and then 100.

Once you’re able to pump out 100 strict pushups without stopping, I’ll stop by and talk to you. I bet you’ll be singing a different tune by then as well, hehe.

Bottom line – – those that complain about bodyweight exercises being too easy are either a) way too fat, slovely and out of shape to even DO them correctly let alone make remarks.

And b) they don’t know what they’re yellin about, my friend.

Now, my point in writing all this isn’t to ask you to stop lifting weights if that is your thing (and that seems to be common chorus we hear from these type of people).

“Wah, my bench press numbers keep going up! Goody!”

“I can pull over 250 on the lat pulldown! Hooray!”

And I’m here to tell you that – – if you truly believe that courting injury and training the wrong way is the way to go, well – – then – – go for it, pally.

I sure can’t stop you and wouldn’t try either. To each his own.

But if you make a comment about “pushups not building any real strength” – then – well – you know where the first voice of “dissent ” will pipe up.

Then of course, you’ve got the ass clowns that claim “pushups are boring” and “thats why they’ve never got past a certain rep count”.

OK, well here’s the deal – what I do is I tell these people to do something that interests them while they pound out the pushups (despite this NOT being the right thing to do).

But I mean, if they’re so easy – hey. Might as well watch T.V. while doing ’em, eh? Or ogle the babes? And once you get the boredom out of the way, you’d think these folks would achieve record reps?

WRONG. In many cases, even less.

So moral of the story – when someone comes to you with this same old sorry spiel of “pushups being easy” et al – simply smile and nod “knowingly” , and let it slide off your back. You’ll be all the better off it – and you’ll have the last laugh anyway, hehe.

Last but not least, great, great exercise though pushups are, am I saying they’re ALL you need?

Have I ever said that?

I don’t think so. Variety is key, and I’ve always emphasized this in most of my training courses/routines (including my own personal training routines).

But here’s the point.

Pushups – YES, just the pushup – have so many different varieties that you could spend an entire lifetime performing all the different variations and still not learn ’em all.

In fact, give me about 10 minutes and I’ll put you through HELL with NOTHING other than varieties of the FLOOR pushup, my friend.

In 0 Excuses Fitness though, I give you so many different variations on the pushup that quite frankly speaking my head spins when I look back through the book and the 5 videos we created. Cindy and myself certainly worked “overtime” during those few days, hehe …

Last, but not least, all these different variations don’t just get you fit – they do something that other exercises, including, yes, a lot of other bodyweight exercises don’t – – which is to get you buzzing and feeling GREAT – – at an entirely different “inner” level altogether.

Reverse pushups are one of the cornerstones of the 0 Excuses Fitness System, and these alone make me feel like I could conquer the WORLD, my friend – and in less than 8 to 10 minutes flat.

Lifting weights doesn’t give you that buzz. Neither does yanking away mindlessly at the machines while watching T.V. And long distance runs (a.k.a pounding the pavement) most certainly do not either.

Anyway, the next time a “herd” of gym gorillas gives you the old spiel about pushups being useless, ask them to pop off 50 strict reps before your eyes.

I bet you they won’t be able to do it.

And then, of course its YOUR turn to be the center of attention – as you – the 0 Excuses DOER – stride on over to the center of action and pop ’em off like there’s no tomorrow – and cooly walk away leaving the “fuming” onlookers to their devices, hehe.

A zen like state as it were – – and such is life when training the right way, my friend.

Find out more about the right way HERE – –


Rahul Mookerjee

P.S. – Was having a few “brewskies” with my friend the other day and he told me there was a guy in his platoon that could knock off 200 STRICT reps in the military pushup – without getting off his hands. Now THAT is some serious, heavy duty strength, my friend – don’t you think so? Must admit as well that I’ve never thought of going beyond 70 or 80 strict reps in one set (occasionally a 100, but not too often) – – but 200?? That’s SUPER STUD level, my friend. Oh yessssss it isssssss!

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