The push-up test is universally recognized as an excellent measure of upper body strength and endurance. For this reason, the push-up test is an essential part of military (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) and first responder (police and firefighter) physical fitness testing.

These tips will help you learn how to do more push-ups, build your upper body strength and endurance, and ace your next fitness test.​

Review Exercise Science

Before you begin your push-up training workout, it’s helpful to understand six principles that explain the science behind fitness training. With this knowledge, you’ll learn how to improve your fitness in a safe and systematic way. If you understand the concepts of overload, progression, adaptation, specificity, etc., you will be better able to train effectively.

Perfect Your Push-Up

Before you start cranking out multiple reps, you need to make sure your push-up form is perfect. If you don’t already know how to do it right, go back to the beginning and practice.

Set Your Baseline Repetitions

To find the number of repetitions you should perform in each set, do as many push-ups as you can in two minutes and divide this number by three. This is your baseline repetition count. Each workout will generally include three sets of this number of repetitions.

Start With the Basics

Do a push-up workout every other day (such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). Warm up with a slow jog, cycling on a stationary bike or jumping rope. Perform your basic workout with three sets of repetitions with a 30-second rest between sets. Each week, add two to three repetitions to your sets. Retest yourself every four weeks and set a new repetition baseline.