How to Improve Pushup Endurance

Man doing pushups

Pushups require strong upper arms, chest and core muscles, and use your body weight to provide resistance. To build your pushup endurance, you must build all the necessary muscle groups equally so they can work in harmony during your pushup routine. Alternate a pushup workout with focused resistance training to help increase your endurance, and increase the number of pushups you can perform in each set. Focusing on proper form is key to preventing injuries and building your muscles correctly.

Perform the maximum number of pushups you can in one set, and record the number.

Alternate workouts each day: One day, perform pushups; the next day, target the necessary muscle groups with resistance training.

Train the muscles needed for pushups. Perform planks by assuming the lifted pushup position and holding it for 30 seconds, building your core. Increase the length until you can hold it for three minutes. Do bench presses with a weight light enough to allow you to perform a high number of repetitions; this builds endurance rather than bulky muscle. Shoot for nine sets of three or four repetitions using about 40 percent of your body weight. Triceps kickbacks can also help build the backs of your arms. Lean forward with your hand beside your chest, then press back to extend your arms behind you. Start with 5-pound dumbbells or lighter, then increase the repetitions before increasing the weight. Work up to three sets of 10.

Do pushups to exhaustion every other day, on days when you're not doing targeted muscle building. Do one set of 10, rest for 30 seconds and perform another set of 10. Continue until you can't perform any more pushups, but try to finish the last set by moving the pushups to your knees instead of the balls of your feet.

To build your endurance, add a weight plate to your back while performing pushups. You can secure the plate in a weight vest, making sure it can hold a plate at shoulder-blade level rather than on your lower back. Or have a spotter steady the weight as you exercise. Perform sets of 10 until you reach muscle exhaustion.

Vary your pushup position to build the muscles of your arms and chest equally. Moving your hands to the center of your chest focuses more on your triceps. Spreading your hands in a wider stance moves the focus to your biceps and outer chest. Lifting the move by placing your hands on kettlebells allows you to sink lower at the bottom of the pushup, building your shoulders and upper chest. You can also lift your feet onto a step or an exercise ball to work your shoulders.