I've not long started to exercise and have slowly worked up over the last few months.

Every day I do the following:

  • 100 weight lifts (led down)
  • 100 Sit ups
  • 10 Pressups

The problem is the press up are on my knees (not feet) and by about the 5th press ups I can hardly use my arms and can't continue. I understand that it takes time to build up the strength but I've been doing weights for some time now and thought I could manage more than 5 press ups.

Am I just being impatient?

  • What kind of weight lifts are you doing? 100 reps sounds like way too much, ideally in order to build strength, you want to have low reps (i.e 5 - 8) and high intensity (heavy weights).
    – Tarius
    Jun 25, 2015 at 21:37
  • You should also divide you exercise routine into sets with rest periods in between
    – Tarius
    Jun 25, 2015 at 21:41
  • What is your weight? Jun 25, 2015 at 21:51

2 Answers 2


Am I just being impatient?

Well, to be strong, you need to eat more than you usual do (caloric surplus). It also takes time to become stronger, so long you are able to progress in weights / reps / sets, that will make you stronger.

With that said, it could be possible that your form is incorrect.

For example :-

This is the incorrect form. Notice he is flaring his elbow ( in other words, elbows is not tuck close to his lats / back )

enter image description here

And this is a proper push up, notice he does not flare out his elbows too much.

enter image description here

If this is not the case, then you may one to consider doing some :-

-Wall Push Up

-Bench Dips (either with foot on the floor or on another bench)

If you still have some sort of difficulty, you may want to reduce some of your weight if you are fat. Else, it will take time to progress.

If you want a strength routine as well, please do comment under my post and will provide you with some.


If your goal is simply to achieve the ability to do a bunch of push ups, you should attack it with volume (in other words, you gotta do a lot of push ups to do a lotta push ups).

Spread out the load throughout the day. Here's how I would take it if my max rep range was 5:

  • First, make sure that the five you can do are strict push ups with proper form (as Aizul noted). Without form, you're wasting your time. So test yourself accordingly and find your max; stop before you fail (grind out the last one if you need to, but don't stop half way and face plant).

  • Every day following, do 2 super strict, slow-and controlled push ups 4-5 times throughout the course of the day. Do this for a week, then retest your max.

  • If your max is still 5, don't worry about it; repeat the program the next week. You'll eventually get to 6 or 7; when you do add an additional rep to your daily sets. For example: if you can do 6 reps consecutively, do 3 reps, 4-5 times/day. Retest the beginning of the following week.

Treat every daily session as push up practice, rather than a workout with pushups in it. What you're going for, especially in the early stages, is getting all the correct muscles to contract and inhibit in perfect harmony (while eventually strengthening the muscle fibers at play). At this point, it's closer to learning a new dance move than it is "exercising".

Once you get to the 20-25 range (I know it's arbitrary, but 20-25 is a solid foundation to build on...at my age, it would be enough to meet the minimum Army PFT push up score), start playing with different push up variations. Honestly, just Google "push up variations", and experiment. Use these new variations to program a path to your goals; whether they be strength, muscular endurance, or hypertrophy (muscle growth).

If you want to just keep on bumping up your max count (like...I don't know...100+) at this point, I recommend a program designed specifically for doing a lot of push ups. Stew Smith is a master in this domain.

He has a lot of different programs to help US military ace their fitness tests, but here's a relevant free one:

Stuck on Pushups? Try the Pushup Push Workout!

I tried the above myself (along with pull ups), and had very solid results (went from 51 to 64 in two weeks). I wouldn't recommend this without a strong foundation, and he says to only do this once, maybe twice a year; he's serious...it's taxing, but it's a great plateau killer. Here's a write up on my results if you're interested:

Over 20% Push Up and Pull Up Gains in 14 Days Using Stew Smith’s Program

Be patient and consistent and the results will come.

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