I'm trying to build my shoulder and chest muscle mass so I've been just doing wide pushups. The problem I'm dealing with right now is how I should do these pushups. Should I push up fast, fall down slowly or just do as much pushups as fast as I can? The latter easily doubles my pushups.

so the question is, quality over quantity? or vice versa?

3 Answers 3



Varying up the positive/negative tempo and time under tension will target slightly different muscle fibres and other supplementary muscles.

So I would recommend aiming to improve different metrics, such as:

  • Total reps
  • Total reps as fast as possible
  • Total reps with 3-4 second negative.
  • Push up variations such diamond push ups or feet elevated push ups.

Note: Negatives are the eccentric part of the movement, lowering yourself down in the push up.

  • Recommend high negatives for mass gain. Shoot for 80% of your 1 Rep maximum :) Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 2:52
  • i'm doing as directed by the onehundrepushups program. The program focuses only on increasing rep, which isn't all that useful. Should I mix things up by having one day do all fast reps, next day negative reps, and another diamond pushups?
    – mugetsu
    Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 4:47
  • 1
    I think this is the correct answer, but I want to add something. Another way to recruit the most muscle fibers is a very explosive pushup. This would be a pushup where your hands actually leave the ground.
    – Ben
    Commented Dec 2, 2011 at 18:00
  • @mugetsu Depends on what you call "useful." High endurance is "useful", it is just a different muscle fiber, though it won't help as much with the muscle mass component. If you are doing the 100PU program, then I would pick a single cadence for the duration of the program and then move on to something else, e.g., use the Convict Conditioning cadence of 2 seconds down, 1 second pause, 2 seconds up or just try to do them as fast as possible. Just pick one and stick with it for the 6 weeks. If you are interested in gaining mass, then after you reach your goals here I'd switch to close/diamond
    – dclements
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 15:20

Doing slow pushups may help depending how much you weigh actually. But one more important thing is you protein intake.

If you don't hit the numbers at the end of the day, by means of protein/carb intake, it won't matter if you do thousand pushups.

  • i'm 160lbs 6ft tall. I always eat a lot of carbs and protein for dinner, right after the workout.
    – mugetsu
    Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 20:16
  • 1
    Do you count calories or protein & carb intake by means of grams ? If not, you have to. There are some simple calculators about how much your daily intake should look like. For instance if you're 160 lbs, your daily protein intake should be around 200 grams and 260 grams of carbs. And you have to have a nutrition plan on a daily basis. Another key point is to eat clean foods, not junk food, deep fried stuff etc. Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 14:15

Go with hands approximately doulbe shoulder width apart and slow and controlled down and up movements. Also, raise your feet higher than your shoulders, so you're pushing more weight. You'll build more mass by more closely approximate the weight and movement used on a bench press, where heavier weights between 6-12 reps are going to be more beneficial than sets of 30-40 reps, where muscle mass gain is your objective.

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