Stew Smith Pushup Workout

Stuck on Pushups?  Try the Pushup Push Workout!

Ever since I wrote The Grinder PT – Key to Mental Toughness eBook, I have noticed that the majority of people who attempt one of my toughest workouts I have ever created do quite well on pushups tests upon finishing.   This eBook is modeled after the first month of SEAL training, where pushups are done five days a week in the magnitude of several hundred a day.  Improving surprised me – I assumed the workout would border on over-training.

This went against all the physiology I had studied in the past.  What was meant to give SEAL candidates a taste of SEAL training on paper, turned out to build muscle and increase pushup maximum scores.  Typically, you give the body 48 hours of rest before doing similar resistance exercises or weight training, so the body has time to recover and grow stronger.

That is why many workout routines offer upper body exercises on Monday-Wednesday- Friday and lower body exercises Tuesday – Thursday.  Some workouts even give up to 72 hours of rest before repeating the same exercises.  But Bootcamp in every branch has used pushups as a daily exercise either in organized PT or punishment for not conforming to regulations usually with improving results.  Throughout the years of experiencing military training either as a student or instructor, I noticed people were typically stronger in pushups by the end of training.

The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness by Stew

So, I started experimenting mostly with younger people from 18-30 years of age with similar goals of increasing their pushups scores on the PFT.  The program is a ten-day pushup plan that requires pushups daily, but still has some sound physiological rules that incorporate “some” rest but not much.  Below is the program that has helped people go from 50 pushups to 80 pushups in two weeks.


If your max in under 50 reps (in 2 minute max test), take your current max and multiply by FOUR:  This will equal what you should do daily for 10 days of the Pushup-Push Workout. Additional notes from Stew Smith on 8-14-11 “Also another way to work this is to take your 2 minute max and multiply by 5 and that is the number you do daily for 10 days…rest three days and then test.

I just had a guy email me and he went from 60 to 100 in 2 weeks

After the 14 day test – then go back to a split routine doing pushups every other day at high volume like in this article

 On ODD days:  do 200 pushups (or your max X4) in as few sets as possible in addition to your regularly scheduled workout of cardio exercises.  You can still do upper body workouts on these days if you are on a program already.  This is a supplemental 200 pushups using maximum repetition sets (4 x 50, 8 x 25…your choice how you get to 200).

On EVEN days:  do 200 pushups (or your max x4) throughout the day.  This can be little sets of ten done every half hour or fifty pushups done four times throughout the day.

The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness by Stew

RULE:  If your maximum is under 50 pushups – do no more than 200 pushups a day.  If your maximum is 60-75, do 250-300 pushups a day.

Repeat the ODD / EVEN routine for a total of 10 days.  Then take three days off and do NO upper body pushing exercises that work the chest, triceps, and shoulders.   Then on day 14 – give yourself the pushup test (1or 2 minutes depending on your PFT). I would not recommend this workout more than once every six months, since it rather challenging on the same muscle groups repeatedly.

Try regular pushups, wide pushups, and tricep pushups to breakup the monotony of 10 days of straight pushups.

The only difference in these three pushups is the placement of the hands.  Regular pushups distribute your body weight proportionately between your chest, shoulders and triceps.  Whereas, the wide pushups will work the chest more and the Triceps or Close Pushups will work the triceps and shoulders more.

If you are using a program like the ones featured on the eBook Fitness Store, continue and add this supplemental program to your training.  If you are not on a program, you can try to add this with a one of the free running programs to help your PFT running.
The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness by Stew
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.  He specializes in military and law enforcement fitness, particularly Special Operations units.  Please feel free to email him at [email protected] with any comments or questions.

SGPT Interviews Stew Smith

Seal Fit Stack

SGPT Upcoming Events

Personal Online Coaching

Work 1-on-1
with SEAL Grinder's Brad McLeod
To Achieve Your Goals

pic of brad

Personal fitness training from Brad McLeod, Navy Seal and CrossFit Level 1 instructor. Delivered online, directly to you.

"I recommend Brad to anyone that seriously wants to go to BUDs or anything else in life... try these workouts. Hooyah!" - Chris H.

learn more button