Friday, December 30, 2011

Increase Your Push Up Potential

Pre-Amble

In 1993 I signed my life away and swore allegiance to the Queen and joined the Army. After passing the Rifleman and Infantryman qualifications I had my eyes set on becoming Special Forces. I had to complete several fitness standards in order to meet the criteria of being awarded a green beret and joining the ranks of the Commando Regiment. One of these physical fitness standards was called the BFA or Basic Fitness Assessment. The BFA at the time consisted of minimum of 60 push ups, 100 military sit ups to a cadence, 20 dorsal raises, 20 pull ups and a 5km run under 26 minutes.


When I began my Commando Training Induction Course which lasted 12 months, I was surrounded by a bunch of guys that ranged from ultra marathon racers, body builders, Triathletes, boxers. artial artists you name it. I thought to my self how can I compete with these guys? Sure at that time I was a bit of a rock climbing junky climbing sustained 5.11a routes during the weekends, but would that be enough to get me through?


When it came time to perform the elements of the BFA, I was quite nervous as I didn't really train for it and never really knew enough about fitness training to prepare. Typically the sit up test is performed first then the push ups, dorsal raises, pull ups and the run. I was pretty sweet during the sit ups, smashing out 100 without any issues, onto the push ups. These tests are normally done in pairs, your partner goes first then you go. Looking around watching the first group, I saw a some guys smashing out fast push ups and finishing with 100 odd while others struggled to make the required 60. It was my turn and soon after adopting the push up position I was under way. The first 30 is always easy, then the second 30 I noticed that lactic acid burn and when 50 came around I was really struggling, I managed to complete 60 and did a few more to show some dedication to the cadre watching and circling like buzzards waiting for one of the cadindates to fail.


After receiving my green beret, I wanted to have a crack at SAS selection. It took me several years of personal development prior to me getting the nod to attend the course. In 1999 I was given blessing by my unit OC and CSM to attend the course. My preparation was approximately 6 months of training daily. A combination of gym circuits, beach weights, long and short runs, battle PT, ruck runs and endurance marches. I attended the selection course at the peak of my physical conditioning. Although petrified of what I had gotten my self into, I was well prepared physically to meet the challenge. The one thing that became a constant frustration to me throughout my years of service and training was how to increase my muscular endurance and increase my maximum push ups? I ended up passing the selection course and after joining my Squadron I began a quest for knowledge particulary about fitness.


PT in the Squadron is a daily occurance, performed on a routine basis and is very competative. Essentially you are judged, based upon your level of fitness. It forms a pecking order of acceptance within the troop. If you are fit you are gold, if you are a slug that continues to make excuses why you can't attend PT you are targeted and outcast. It pays to be within the top 10%. You never want to be first and you never want to be last!


A couple of cycles later, we received some re-enforcements into the troop. These guys were lean fit, hungry and cut like a cheetah. One of the boys Paul was a fitness freak. He lived and breathed training. He was selected to attend Australia's premier intitute of sport, a competative endurance racer and adventure racer partnered with yours truly! During push up testing Paul held the record within the unit for maximum push ups in 2:00. He would routinely crank out 120-130 push ups in 2:00 minutes. A push up animal. I wanted to be able to pump out 100 push ups so I decided to pick Paul's brain on the subject.


Paul began to inform me of his method of increasing your push up potential. It is relatively simple and easy, the best thing is that it works! I immediately adopted it. Paul's system of increasing muscular endurance now resides in the Redback One Fitness Book.


The System

Let's say that your max push ups until failure is 60. You would perform 60 push ups and then select an amount of recovery time. Let's say 1:00 minute. At the completion of the minute you would imediately attempt to perform half of you max. In this case, it would be 30 push ups. You will then continue to reduce the rest period by X amount until you can perform your max set and the half max set without recovery. Let's say that you reduce your recovery time by 20 seconds every week. By the forth week, your max push ups would be 90. Your training cycle would look like this.


Week 1

  • 60 push ups
  • 1:00 recovery
  • 30 push ups

Week 2

  • 60 push ups
  • 40 secs recovery
  • 30 push ups

Week 3

  • 60 push ups
  • 20 secs recovery
  • 30 push ups

Week 4

  • 60 push ups
  • Nil recovery
  • 30 push ups

Effectively you can now achieve a max of 90 push ups before failure. You will then apply the same theory and routine to increase your max push ups further.


Note: This is an example only and individual results may vary. You will have to experiement with the times and frequency of performance in order to determine your success timeframe.


This is the best way to increase your muscular endurance and can be applied to a variety of exercises.


Let me know how it goes for you!!


Train Hard Boys.


18 comments:

  1. Awesome, this is kickass info! Thanks Jason

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  2. I will definitely try this! Looking forward to more tips on how to get and keep operator fitness. Whats your take on Crossfit/Sealfit?

    /Swedish marine, future SOF candidate

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    Replies
    1. Crossfit is a good program for muscular endurance, strength and conditioning. What I don't like is that most crossfit instructors are very opinionated about other training programs and only recommend crossfit. The techniques are solely based on olympic lifting techniques which is a little restrictive.

      Check out Gym Jones as an alternative.

      Programs like sealfit are really about making money from branding seals.

      I passed selection without crossfit or seal fit. You just need to understand what your goals are, make them challenging but realistic. If you are training for a purpose like selection, find out as much as possible about the course and train specifically for it.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the question. I try to workout as many days a week as I can. Normally this about 4-5. The family and business take a lot of time so I try to hit the 'gun-shop' early in the morning and knock out PT for the day.

      As for the Zero, a lot of the time it depends on where you were schooled! I used to zero at 300, then 100 based upon what the Army taught me. Much like everyone else. Now however, I have learnt far more about the weapon, ballistics and bullets than the Army ever taught me. I have determined that the 200 meter zero best matches the performance and lethality of the 5.56mm round.

      With the 200 meter zero, you get all the benefits and more of the 100 meter zero without the negatives. You can actually engage targets without hold overs or hold unders from 0-250meters. The bullet only has approximately 4 inches of error out to 200 meters in ideal conditions.

      There are other benefits of the 200 meter zero. You should come along to one of our carbine courses to get the full scoop!

      Delete
    3. Thanks for info. Gonna give the 200 zero a try. I hope to attend one of your classes this year. I have heard you are working out the details of an up coming class in HighView, WVA. I am friends with the owner. He said you are trying to schedule a date. I am a USMC Veteran and police officer in Winchester, VA. I look forward to attending the class.

      Delete
  3. How often do you do this workout? Daily, 3 times a week?
    Another question off topic. M4 Zero's: Is it personnal preference or what a person is used to using? You like the 200. I've heard from Kyle Defoor to zero at 100 yds/meters, Kyle Lamb also says 100 is the way to go, Paul Howe recommends 100 also. Who is right? Or is everybody right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the late reply!

      I try to workout up to 5 times a week schedule dependent. When I am away running a course, I wear body armor for 10-12 hours while teaching which I use as a form of training. Right now I am concentrating on aerobic fitness, running short sharp runs of around 3-6 miles. I row on alternate days and to 2 hours of strength and conditioning weighted exercise per week.

      With regards to the zeroing, you will find that most reputable SOF units use a 200 meter zero now days. This type of zero best matches the bullet flight path and the maximum lethal range of the ammunition. The rest is all shot placement. For engagements between 0-200 you only have 4" of offset which means that you do not have to worry about holds unless it is a very low percentage target at close range. Even inside of 25 meters, the 200 meter zero performs better as you only have 1" or offset compared to 1.5" with the 100 meter zero.

      Delete
  4. Jason, I concur with your reasoning. Personally, I have used CrossFit for five years to date. Although it has gotten me stronger in all my lifts, I have been baffled at my lack of ability to complete body weight exercises. I can clean and jerk 120kg yet I cannot exceed 55 max push ups. Thank you for your advice. In your opinion does the same methodology apply for pull ups and sit ups as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the system will work for other types of exercise also. Thanks and take care.

      Delete
  5. Jason,
    I apologize if this has already been covered but how many sets per day/week is the schedule set up for? Do you do (per the example) 60/30 once per day or multiple sets per day with rest days in between? Or multiple sets per day each day of the week? I have plans of joining the army later this year and want to make sure I'm ready for it now. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. You should perform the sets the same way as you do weighted sets. 4 sets every other day if you can manage it.

      Cheers

      Delete
  6. What's a dorsal raise? Sorry had to ask!

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    Replies
    1. Dorsal raises are when you lay prone with your hands behind you head. You then raise your upper body off the ground so that your chest clears the ground.

      Delete
  7. Jas if you don't mind me asking how come you left Aus?

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  8. What preparation should you do in order to be ready for the SASR selection course?

    ReplyDelete
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