How to Get Past a Push Up Plateau

How to Get Past a Push Up Plateau

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Nothing is more frustrating than when you exercise week after week without seeing improvements. If you are at a plateau in your pushup performance, it is time to evaluate your workout routine, make changes and cut back. Yes, you read that right. Rest days for muscle recovery are as important as work days. If your muscles are not allowed time for rest, you have a higher risk of muscle injury and general fatigue, which will not improve your pushup abilities. The pushup also cannot be the only exercise you perform. Your chest, arms, back, shoulders, core and legs participate in a pushup.

Step 1

Use proper pushup form to ensure you are training the muscles correctly. Begin in a plank position, your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, legs extended behind you and toes resting on the floor. Align your neck with your spine and look at the floor. Inhale, and bend your elbows as you lower toward the floor. Allow your elbows to flare slightly away from your sides. Lower until your chest or chin reach the floor. Exhale, straighten your arms and return to plank position.

Step 2

Add consistency to your workout routine if you tend to take too many days of rest and are not seeing improvements. Perform your pushups three days a week, with a day off from pushups in between.

Step 3

Increase the strength of your assisting muscles such as your triceps, shoulders and biceps. Perform exercises such as shoulder presses, tricep extensions and bicep curls on the days you are not doing pushups.

Step 4

Rotate your exercises. Perform chest presses with a barbell or dumbbells to attack your muscles from a different angle.

Step 5

Push past what you think is your last repetition. Aim to complete one more pushup than you did the week before, even if your arms are shaking.

Step 6

Aim to sleep for seven to eight hours a night so your muscle tissue rebuilds.

Step 7

Include days off from your pushups and regular strength training routine if you have been working out consistently, without a break, for three months or more. Avoid pushups for seven to 10 days, but remain active with other activities such as walking, swimming, cycling and playing sports.


  • Combine your exercise routine with healthy eating habits for the optimal workout benefits. Speak with your doctor regarding the correct amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins for your body.


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