Increasing pushup reps while training for strength

Rattlehead

First Post
Hey guys, first post here. I've read several of pavels books and have been training according to the principles described with great results.

Right now I've been training for max strength with the bench press, squat and deadlift using barbells. I do this 3 times a week and i run on the other days. 1 day for resting.

I am a 30yo Male 5 10 170 lbs. I work in law enforcement and hope to make a SWAT team in the near future. Which requires a test of running and bodyweight exercises.

My pushup numbers are pretty low, about 30. I'd like top get this up to at least 40 in the next few months. My question is this: can i grease the groove with pushups while also doing normal lifting? Should i take a break after lifting cycles to only do GTG for a couple of weeks. Or something else altogether? Any additional advice is appreciated.

Thank you all!
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Hey guys, first post here. I've read several of pavels books and have been training according to the principles described with great results.

Right now I've been training for max strength with the bench press, squat and deadlift using barbells. I do this 3 times a week and i run on the other days. 1 day for resting.

I am a 30yo Male 5 10 170 lbs. I work in law enforcement and hope to make a SWAT team in the near future. Which requires a test of running and bodyweight exercises.

My pushup numbers are pretty low, about 30. I'd like top get this up to at least 40 in the next few months. My question is this: can i grease the groove with pushups while also doing normal lifting? Should i take a break after lifting cycles to only do GTG for a couple of weeks. Or something else altogether? Any additional advice is appreciated.

Thank you all!
Welcome to SF...

Do you need to hit 40 push-ups for SWAT selection? What other b/w exercises will you be tested on?

If it were me I would ease off on the barbell work (not abandon) and focus more on what you will be tested on...

Again, welcome...
 

Rattlehead

First Post
Thanks for the reply

40 is the minimum but I'd like to eventually go way beyond that.

There's also situps and pullups. I don't have any problems with situps. And pullups i train along with my bench. It's just the pushups that I've struggled with. And i didn't know if training bench press and pushups would cause them to interfere with each other.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

My question is this: can i grease the groove with pushups while also doing normal lifting?
Yes as long as you keep the goal the goal. This means that if you mainly focus on strength, you have to be fresh when you train your strength.

GTG will work well for your goal. As long as you recover from your high repetition training while being fresh for you strength training.

Below is an interesting link:

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
I had to do a similar test (not the same one though) when I joined the army reserves a long time ago. I was younger and lighter. I did over 50 full pushups in a minute and some other "exploits" because I traned like a mad demon for months leading up to it and I had been doing callisthenics and judo for years already, haha. I had to go get tested by nurses and to bring back the results to the armoury in a sealed envelope. The funny thing although perplexing and worrisome at the time was that I was told by whoever it was (I think some kind of officer - was so new to things I didn't fully understand who was what yet!) that my results were "impossible" and it looked like the nurse had made errors in recording the numbers. Not sure what that was about - I guess people generally didn't take the test as seriously back then as I did then, haha.

As has been explained to me here on these forums "the muscle is not the movement" - so even though you might be able to do wonders with the bench press, it just is not a series of 40 pushups. It's a different movement - the body moves differently. 40 is a lot of reps expecially considering one's bodyweight, age etc. I haven't done oodles and oodles of pushups in a row any time recently and in spite of being able to do one arm pushups, I actually doubt I could crank out anything like 40 full proper pushups in a row right now.

Other kinds of training can indeed tire one out for training in similar exercises. I'm sure there are people a lot more qualified to answer your question for you than me, but it would seem to me that giving priority to the test requirements in training by prioritizing pushups over the bench press makes sense - even if they appear similar, they are different, especially if we're talking endurance strength.
 

Deleted member 5559

Guest
i grease the groove with pushups while also doing normal lifting? Should i take a break after lifting cycles to only do GTG for a couple of weeks. Or something else altogether?
Stews program linked above is for peaking right before a test. I would suggest only doing it right before the actual test. The volume of it or the fighter pull-up program (FPP) has always caused me some elbow pain.

My best push-up numbers have consistently been from doing incline dumbbell presses working 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps. Pick a weight you can do sets of 8 with than add a rep(s) until you get all sets of 12, then increase the weight and repeat. Yes, as strength goes up from sets of <5, the percentage of your strength used for a push-up goes down but the muscle volume of hypertrophy training really helps endurance numbers for me. If trying to target the push-up only, I would highly suggest the hypertrophy range and incline presses.

For any SWAT candidate I would alternatively suggest a comprehensive program designed for the tactical athlete. Some programs consider the constant burden of being able to pass a test while making the operator better for the job which aren't necessarily highly correlated events. Here a couple additional programs designed specifically for what you're after, I have done them all and they all work well. Some are more difficult to recover from than others.
  1. Wenning Strength: Tactical Manual (What my current training looks the most like)
  2. Tactical Barbell (What my historical training has looked the most like)
  3. Mountain Tactical: SWAT Selection (Would only use as a peaking program)
  4. Performance First (Best used as Hypertrophy > Strength > Power/Speed > Repeat)(Better for seasonal, deploying athletes in my opinion)
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
I would drop the Bench Pressing and try the following,
5 tactical push ups ( noticeable pause at top and bottom with explosion in between) feet elevated ( or not ) EMOM 20 sets, 1 x per week.
5 power push ups , feet elevated ( or not ) EMOM or on the :45, 20 sets 1 x per week.
GTG with 2 power push ups during rest btwn sets with your DL and Sqt. work.
If it was me I would also get your grams of quality protein up to 170 grams per day, and might even take that up a bit if you are putting in some significant road work miles .
And 40+ reps? Creatine, get you some
 

Rattlehead

First Post
Thank you all so much!
I've actually been doing tactical barbell for a while now and I'm nearing the end of an operator/black cycle. It's worked well for me as far as max strength goes, but doesn't seem to really help my pushup numbers for whatever reason.
 
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