Tuesday, 24 April 2012 08:41

Too much volume?

My last note on doing 500 pushups a day seems to have attracted quite a few readers. This seems to be a favorite topic for many folks - and not without good reason. 

Anyway, one reader that stumbled upon the blog recently wrote in to tell me that while my goal of doing 500 pushups daily was a great one, I was simply "doing too much" daily and that would hinder, rather than aid, my progress. He also stated that the exercises I do after (or sometimes before) my pushup workout can be a workout unto themselves, and asked me why I needed to do that many things in one workout.

His final question was whether that many pushups a day really built one's strength up "beyond a certain point".

Hmm, interesting points/questions - and those are questions a lot of people have (especially the last one), so I'll address them here as well.

First, note that "too much" is a personal thing. Doing 50 pushups a day may be way too much someone that's never done a pushup in their lives, and doing 500 or more a day is routine for professional strength athletes (boxers, wrestlers, strongmen etc). And remember that whatever your goal is, you need to WORK UP TO IT. In my case, 500  is what my current goal is - and so I'm working up to it by doing 300 odd daily.

Second, the reader is RIGHT in saying some of the exercises I do before/after the pushups can be a regular workout unto themselves. But here's the thing - I don't do a "high volume" of everything. As an example, I may do 300 pushups in a workout - but I'll do only 10 handstand pushups, 25 pull-ups, and three sets of 10 reps of ab exercises to finish things off. This may still sound like a lot of "volume" for someone that hasn't been working out hard, but it really isn't for an experienced trainee. So no, I don't do TWO workouts one after the other - and neither should you - but it doesn't hurt to "keep in touch" with supplementary exercises while focusing on your main goal.

And as for the last question - well - the answer is obvious enough to me, but a lot of people don't readily believe me when I tell them that YES, doing 500 pushups in perfect form daily WILL build a ton of strength. This goes double for those that lift weights, and believe the ONLY way to get stronger is to lift heavier weights. Well, I'm not going to attempt to outargue my weight lifting friends, but here's something that might make you believe - pick a number of pushups that are hard for you to do - and then do them daily in good form until that number becomes easy to do. At that point, go into the gym and test yourself on your favorite "lift", be that bench presses, rows, or even the golden pull-up.

I think your going to be amazed at what you find out - and what you find out will likely be that ALL your upper body lifts have improved.

Still need more evidence? Well, you've heard me talk about handstand pushups and the amazing levels of power they build when done correctly. Handstand pushups are impossible to do for most people - especially for reps, and when I first started, I was no exception to this rule. So what I did was work my regular pushups harder and harder - until one fine day, I felt good enough test myself on handstand pushups again.

And get this - I was not simply aiming to do one or two in good form. No, my test was doing two sets of TEN in good form - something I could never do before.

And do you know what? After doing pushups on a daily basis (at that point I was doing about 170 or so), doing handstand pushups was a BREEZE. I popped off 12 in good form when I tried - and banged out an even 10 the next time. So much for the "high volume" not building strength - it sure did in my case.

So what all this boils down to is that training, at the end of the day, is very much a PERSONAL thing. YOUR goals, YOUR current physical condition, YOUR desire to improve and other things are what determine your success -  or failure when it comes to training. And remember that there's no one "best" way for everyone - sure, there are guidelines, but you've got to find out what works best for you - and then DO it - it's just that simple.

Anyhow, this post has turned out a bit longer than expected, so I'll end it here - but a long post was required to do justice to the topic. Thanks again to those that send in questions and are regular readers - I appreciate the interest all of you have shown!

Up and ahead,


PS: The very idea of doing 100, or 500 pushups in one workout can sound pretty intimdating to the average person - but it doesn't have to be that way. Remember that you can achieve any goal you set your mind to, provided you have the right general guidance - and Fast and Furious Fitness provides you with just that. Click on HERE to grab your copy ASAP!