Pushups Amplified

You asked for it, and you got it – our Pushups Amplified Challenge will kick off on June 5th!

This 3-week challenge will improve your strength and stamina in the most basic measure of upper body prowess: the pushup. To light the fire of friendly competition, we’re going to make it a contest – those who show the most improvement in each of our three divisions will win a half hour personal training session and be memorialized on a plaque until next year’s challenge!

The details:

  • Initial testing on either June 5th or 6th to determine starting pushup score
  • Your starting score is the number of good pushups completed in one set
  • Following testing, you’ll be given structured workouts to do at home until retesting
  • Retesting on either June 27th or 28th to determine how much you’ve improved
  • Full details below

Show us what ya got!

Sign Up & Testing

To sign up, come to class either June 5th or 6th. We’ll be running the initial test both days. If you can’t come either day for testing, please make alternative arrangements with a coach.

Your score is the number of good pushups completed in one set. The set ends when any part of your body other than hands, feet, or chest touch the ground. In addition, athletes must maintain a rigid body plank throughout the test. The full movement standards include:

  • Elbows locked at the top of each rep
  • Maintain rigid plank position (hips in-line with shoulders and ankles throughout the rep)
  • Chest hits the ground at the bottom (and ONLY the chest)

To build strength, full range of motion is critical. One good, full range of motion pushup is better than 100 half pushups.


Athletes will be placed in one of three divisions according to their tested total:

  • Black Division: 20+ starting pushups
  • Blue Division: 5-19 starting pushups
  • Green Division: 0-4 starting pushups

The Challenge

Training Total

Athletes with tested totals of 12 reps or less will be assigned 50 reps as their “training total”. Athletes who test at 13+ reps will multiply their tested total by 4 to determine their training total. For example, if an athlete does 25 pushups in testing, his/her training total will be 100 reps.

Please note: Pushups completed in class count toward your training total for the day.

Training Days

There will be four types of training days:

  • Heavy Days: accumulate 20 reps in a more difficult pushup variation than you use on the other days. The chosen variation should be difficult enough that you cannot complete more than 5 reps in a single set. Rest 30-60s between sets.
  • Exhaustion Days: athletes will perform a set of pushups until they reach near failure. Athletes will rest 30 seconds, then perform a second set of pushups until they are near failure, at which point they’ll rest another 30 seconds. Athletes will continue in this pattern until they’ve accumulated their training total of reps.
  • Accumulation Days: athletes will perform pushups at different times throughout the day until they reach their training total. They may perform as many or as few sets as they want, as long as they don’t come close to failing any reps.
  • Rest Days: athletes will take this day off from pushups.

Pushup Types

Black/Blue Divisions

On Heavy Days, athletes in the Black/Blue Divisions have the option of doing strict handstand pushups, decline pushups (feet elevated on bench or couch), or clapping pushups. On the other days, these athletes will perform full pushups with hands and feet on flat ground.

Green Division

On Exhaustion/Accumulation Days, athletes in the Green Division have two options:

  1. Incline Pushups: hands elevated on a box or kitchen counter top
  2. Knee Pushups: hands and knees on flat ground

As the athlete gets stronger, they may start to perform “Drop Sets” – start each set with as many full pushups as possible, then finish with as many knee pushups as possible.

On Heavy Days, athletes in the Green Division have two more options:

  1. Negative Pushups: start from top of the plank and lower yourself slowly to the ground. Aim for sets of 3-5 reps with a 5 second lowering time. As you get stronger, increase your lowering time in each rep. When you can do 10 reps in a row with a 10-second lower, move on to:
  2. Full Pushups: hands and feet on flat ground.

Hand Placement

We’ll be using three different hand placements for the pushups on the Exhaustion and Accumulation Days. The purpose of differing the hand placement is to stimulate strength gain in all aspects of the muscle, and to avoid the possibility of overuse that could occur from any one position.

  • Narrow Pushups: index fingers and thumbs form a diamond shape directly beneath the chest (see video)
  • Standard Pushups: hands just outside shoulder width (see video)
  • Wide Pushups: hands an additional hand width outside of the shoulders (see video)

For the Exhaustion and Accumulation Days, the first set will be done with Narrow Pushups, the second set with Standard Pushups, and the third set with Wide Pushups. Athletes will continue in this pattern and order until their training total has been reached.

Retesting & Scoring

Athletes will be retested on June 27th or 28th with the same movement standards. Those who show the most improvement in each division will be declared winners. The Black and Blue Divisions will be scored by percentage improvement, while the Green Division will be scored by absolute improvement (total pushups added between testing periods).

Why Are We Doing This?

Remember, our goal is to help you get better at pushups. Pushups are a fundamental movement in CrossFit, and an essential marker for baseline fitness. Good luck!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close