Paul Wade’s Advice for Advanced Push Ups

In Progressive Calisthenics, Push up Training, Uncategorizedby Matt

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Hey gang! I’ve got a treat for you strait from Paul Wade himself, the author of Convict Conditioning, regarding advancing your push ups.

In the Convict Conditioning manuals, Coach Paul makes a lot of use of hand positions where the hands are more under the body and along the center line. It occurred to me that I would need to get comfortable doing this if I was ever to really advance my push up techniques.

So for the past month or two I’ve been doing push ups almost exclusively with my hands in close and tight. This has been getting me stronger, but I’ve noticed some tenderness in my wrists and elbows. So I wrote the man himself to see if he had any tips and this is what he wrote back:


Push Up Tips from Paul Wade:

-I bet you’re used to shoulder-width exercises, like the old dips. These bulk up the torso but do less for the elbows, wrists and forearms. It’ll take time for em to catch up.

-Go careful. We’re dealing with leverage, so even a slight inwards movement of the hands during a one-arm press will exponentially increase the forces thrown on the wrist. (Think of the forces Slim the Hammerman generated! It’s small movements, but nearly superhuman joint strength.)

-I always use an oblique hand position–fingers pointing to my opposite shoulder. That allows me to push thru my palm, with less torque on the wrist joints. Experiment!

-Progression, progression, progression. An inch, a half inch, each week, or weeks. The tendons adapt slowly, slower than muscles, you bodybuilder.

-It’s worth it. Once your wrists and forearms can accommodate such powerful close movements, you can kiss forearms and elbow pain goodbye–and it’ll allow you to express much greater strength in the shoulder-width stuff (like dips).

Many thanks to Paul Wade for the valuable advice. Since taking his ideas to heart I’ve backed off my hand position slightly and my joints now feel fine and I can tell they are slowly getting used to more close handed techniques.

The future of my push ups is looking up!