The number of push-ups I can do is dismal.

I have tried over the years to increase the number and have received to pieces of advice.

  1. Start easy and try something like a raised bar or railing and work your way down or start on your knees until you strengthen your arms.

  2. Keep persisting, even you can initially only do a few, you will eventually be able to do more.

I've tried both approaches but never seem to get anywhere more than around 15 and then collapse in a heap.

What can I do to increase the number and be able to do more without it being a major struggle as neither of the above methods seems to work?

  • 2
    ur profile shows u r age 91 !?
    – Pacerier
    Sep 5, 2011 at 23:47

5 Answers 5


When I was in the Army, we did wide-arm push-ups, elevated push-ups, diamond (close-hand) push-ups, push-ups with resistance (someone putting pressure on your back or a sandbag on your back) and push-ups on our knees.

The variations in resistance, targeting different muscle groups, and working towards a burn-out all contributed to breaking the muscle down to the point where it would grow back stronger during the recovery period.

Lastly, endurance is about numbers. You have to do lots of sets and lots of reps, with a rest period of at least 1 day in between. For instance, we did push-ups Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.


There is this great training program that gets you do 100 pushups. It is well thought, well presented and works.

The key to any strength exercise is to split your training to sets. The number of sets and repetitions depend greatly on your training goals.

On a side note, Ι would suggest considering pull ups.

  • Thanks for the 100 pushups link, I started on this yesterday.
    – going
    Mar 3, 2011 at 21:35
  • @going: How did it go? I've tried that program a few times, but keep falling off.
    – Sean Duggan
    Sep 7, 2022 at 12:12

Instead of doing consecutive push ups do them by sets of 2 or more. So if you can only do 20 at a time rest between sets. Do different types of push ups to increase endurance to your overall chest. Chest muscle requires time to heal so do chest once a week and make sure you give it good amount of rest time. Keep at it and make sure you keep track of it. Write them down how much you can do and compare them week to week. That way you know what you are capable and throwing in extra rep if you can each week. Eventually, you'll increase the amount you can do.

Here are a list of different types of push ups you can do: standard shoulder width, wide, military, triangle push ups, plyo/clap push ups, decline, single arm push ups...

If you want to build chest muscle + endurance there are types of push ups that focus mostly on slow movements and 4 seconds count down and 4 seconds count up with max rep. In addition you can mix slow movement push ups w/ standard once consecutively. That way you are confusing your chest muscle and increase peak performance.

  • When you say "different types of push ups" can you tell me what different types that can be done?
    – going
    Mar 3, 2011 at 1:52
  • @xiaohouzi79 i am going to add the list as we go.
    – KJYe.Name
    Mar 3, 2011 at 2:02

Buy your self a weighted vest and do sets with less reps than your 15 max. Depending on the weight maybe do 5-7 sets of 5-10. After a few days of rest you should be able try to do a few more than your previous limit as the first set and then go back to your weighted sets.


Only one way you could increase the count just try to add one count more everyday. Means if you do 10 push up then next day try to do 11 and just like increase every alternate day and in after few weeks you will see now you are counting double in your push up count.

  • I doubt that this approach is effective, it is far too simple, especially when push ups are the only workout.
    – Baarn
    Nov 10, 2012 at 12:05

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