No gains with heads and tails push-up program.

Discussion in 'Bodyweight' started by Benjamin Renaud, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. Benjamin Renaud

    Benjamin Renaud Double-Digit Post Count

    Hi all, I started the heads and tails push-up program 2 months ago and haven't seen any progress whatsoever.

    Plans for Building Powerful Pushups | StrongFirst

    A little about me before the program, I had mainly been doing calisthenics following CC approach or the Get Strong book. Did mainly regressions of push-ups, wall, hands elevated (2 different heights). Also other bodyweight exercises and kettlebell swings lately.

    When I started the program I had a 10 rep max set. I used the 3-4-5 format with sets of 5 reps. Trained 3 days on 1 day off, did swings in the evening.

    After 1 month I got wrist pain and switched to fist push-ups with sets of 3-4 reps doing them for another month and after this 2nd month I retested on palms and didn't even get an extra rep.

    What could be the reasons for me not making any progress? I'm pretty sure my max number of reps would of been 10, 1 or 2 years ago also, I never seem to progress. Am I not doing enough reps? Should I have used the 6-8-10 set scheme?

    I'm pretty sure my technique is good, I keep a good plank, squeeze the glutes and abs, keep the arms somewhat close to the body.

    Thanks for any help.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  2. Benjamin Renaud

    Benjamin Renaud Double-Digit Post Count

    I just looked up the other program in the article linked above and might try Push-up power phase 1. With sets of 3 reps for 2 weeks and see if I make any gains. I'll see tomorrow how many sets I do across my two 10 minute blocks and go from there.
  3. Hasbro

    Hasbro Triple-Digit Post Count

    Hard to say for sure Benjamin but it could be that you’re just not getting in enough total volume. Maybe @Anna C would have some good insight for you.
    Benjamin Renaud likes this.
  4. Benjamin Renaud

    Benjamin Renaud Double-Digit Post Count

    @Hasbro thanks, I think that it's probably not enough volume. I was reading up other plans (non SF) to get more push-ups and I think I need either to move up to 6-8-10 for 30-50 daily reps on the heads and tails plan or do the push-up power phase 1, where I'd get 6-20 sets of 3 reps (18-60) per training day.
  5. mikhael

    mikhael Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Benjamin Renaud and pet' like this.
  6. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    I strongly agréé with @mikhael 's article. I tried or several times and it worked extremely well

    This is an excellent mix to manage fairly high rep training and recovery.

    Kind regards,

    Benjamin Renaud likes this.
  7. Benjamin Renaud

    Benjamin Renaud Double-Digit Post Count

    Thanks @mikhael and @pet' , I read an easier version of this program where they suggested 4 times my max rep per set of daily volume (40 in my case) instead of 200 per day which is for certain too much volume for me right now.

    I did about 50 reps today doing push-up power phase 1 and it's probably close to the max I can do without shoulder or wrist issues.

    If I try the military program you suggested it'll definitely be with a reduced amount of daily push-ups.
  8. Bauer

    Bauer More than 500 posts

    Hey @Benjamin Renaud
    I am not that experienced with GTG training. However, a couple of things to consider: Practice bracing and tension on every rep and then shake it off (check Naked Warrior for principles).

    Maybe some ladders could help with accumulating easy volume, like greasing the groove with ladders of 2-3-5. Or maybe you should vary the number of reps per set, from 3 to 7 for your 10RM.

    OR use a more aggressive approach like the fighters pullup program (FPP), starting with a set of 8 or 10 and using a reverse-ladder scheme. 3-5x per week, to work a bit more on your strength endurance.
    The Fighter Pull-up Program Revisited | StrongFirst
    mikhael likes this.
  9. mikhael

    mikhael Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    That is also a good idea when it comes to push-ups. I've never used this approach to push-ups but it's remarkably effective for pull-ups (I'm currently following this plan)
    Benjamin Renaud likes this.
  10. rwrjr

    rwrjr Double-Digit Post Count

    I had very good results with the the Pushup Power Phase 1 program. It's great, 2 sessions per day, both sessions 10 minutes or less. IMO, this is much easier than GTG throughout the day. In the beginning I did have to use a little more rest time between the last couple of sets in a block but by the 2nd week this wasn't an issue and I was doing all sets at the top of minute. I always did my larger block early in the day. For example, if I was doing 16 sets for the day I would split it up 10/6.

    I introduced another variable when I used this program and I don't know if it helped or hurt, but my sense is that it helped. Concurrent with the Pushup Power Phase 1 program I was doing a lot of heavy one arm swings. Heavier than I had ever tried before. First just sets of 3 and worked up to sets of 5. I did my swings after my pushups block 1.

    I do believe that the stimulus injected by really pushing myself on heavy one arm swings worked in a synergistic fashion. You may not be in a position to try this but if so, it could be worth a shot
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  11. Benjamin Renaud

    Benjamin Renaud Double-Digit Post Count

    This is an approach I have done in the past when working with hands elevated push-ups but I shall keep in mind to try it again with my regular push-ups if this 2 week cycle doesn't work. Thanks for the tip, I sometimes forget to go to things I've used in the past even though I keep paper logs of my sessions.

    @rwrjr I'll keep you posted on the progress I make in the next 2 weeks using the power push-up phase 1. I did my first session yesterday and have DOMS today, I guess it represented more volume than I am used to.

    I also have a nerve pinch at C7 that has been bugging me for a few days. A visit to the chiropractors today will undoubtedly help that get better. Hopefully it won't force me to take too many days off.
    Bauer likes this.
  12. Bauer

    Bauer More than 500 posts

    Good luck!
    Benjamin Renaud likes this.

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