If you're sick of doing the same old exercises -- the same old way -- it's probably time to rethink your approach. After years of working at Men's Health, I can tell you: There's never just a single way to do any exercise. In fact, I still learn new movements and methods every week.
Take the classic push-up. Most folks opt for some version of three sets of 10 reps (or 15 or 20). Or they just do as many push-ups as they can. But below, you'll find three easy ways to make this exercise instantly more interesting. And whether you can do 50 pushups or just one, there's a routine for you. Remember: Your workout is only as stale as your imagination. (Want to upgrade your diet, too? Avoid the 10 Worst Fast Food Meals in America.)
If you have trouble doing at least 10 good push-ups ...
Take the number of perfect push-ups you can complete, and divide that in half. Then perform five sets of that number of push-ups, resting 60 seconds between each set. For example, if you did six push-ups in the test, you'll do five sets of three push-ups -- for a total of 15 push-ups. Each workout (do it every four days), deduct five seconds from the rest interval. In theory, after 12 workouts, you'll be down to zero rest between sets -- and able to do 15 push-ups in a row. (It won't necessarily work perfectly, but you'll no doubt be above 10.) At first, it'll seem too easy to be effective. But give it a shot, and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Note: If you can't complete at last two standard pushups, then do the same routine, but with your hands on a raised surface -- such as a bench or step -- instead of the floor. This reduces the amount of your body weight you have to lift. (When it comes to your overall fitness, mobility is as important as strength: Check out The Best “Stretch” You’re Not Doing.)
If you want a super-fast muscle-blast ...
Grab a stopwatch and try this routine. It's designed to quickly improve your upper-body endurance. Time how long it takes you do as many push-ups as you can. Then rest for the same time period, and repeat the process until you can't complete one push-up. So if you do 20 push-ups in 25 seconds, you'll rest 25 seconds, and repeat. Let's say on your next round you complete 12 push-ups in 16 seconds. You'd then rest for 16 seconds before your next set. You can apply this technique to any variation of the exercise you want. (For more variations of this classic exercise, check out 14 Smart Pushup Improvements.)
If you’re ready to take the Men’s Health Push-up Challenge ...
Then take a shot at this very cool ladder workout from fitness expert David Jack. How high can you go? After you find out, try to do better the next time you perform the challenge.
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