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Physical Test Preparation: 2-Minute Push Up Test

January 1, 2014
Updated May 15, 2020

The Max Strict Push Up Test is used as the foundation of almost all military physical exams as well as loads of sports and therapeutic testing. This is a true basis of how well you can hold your own bodyweight and how much control you have over your body.

When you are performing Push Ups, you are really trying to keep in full balance, utilizing your entire body. Before you try to take on this challenge, here are the rules as well as how to perform a strict Push Up.

How to Do a Strict Push Up

  • Begin in the Plank position with your arms straight and your hands under the shoulders with your core engaged and held tight.
  • Keep your feet together (or as close as you can).
  • The arms should be rotated so that the crease of the elbow faces forward.
  • Keep the back straight and lower the torso to within about 2-4 inches of the ground (about the size of a clenched fist) while keeping the elbows close to the body.
  • Extend at the elbows to return to the original position while maintaining a plank position throughout the entire movement.

The 2-Minute Max Strict Push Up Test

  • Begin in the starting position of the Strict Push Up.
  • Start the timer before the first rep (it would be best to have a partner start/stop the timer and count the reps).
  • For a rep to count, you must go all the way down to within 2-4 inches of the ground and lock the elbows at the top.
  • You can stop and rest any time during the 2 minutes, but only completely Strict Push Ups count towards your reps.
  • Stop counting when the 2 minutes have elapsed.

How to Prepare for the Strict Push Up Test

  • Begin by performing 5 sets of 10 Push Ups at least 4 times a week if you are a beginner, and 20 Push Ups if you are intermediate/advanced.
  • At the end of the first week, perform the 2-Minute Max Strict Push Up Test.
  • After the first week, begin performing the Push Up Test instead of the reps (start by substituting one of the rep days with a test day).
  • The goal should be to perform the Push Up Test at least 3 times a week, while doing at least 5 sets of 20 Push Ups on the other days.
  • 100 Push Ups goal in 2 minutes should be your goal (this is a standard for elite soldiers).
Anthony Eisenhower has over 20 years of experience studying, practicing and teaching martial arts including Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Coju-jitsu, Capoeira, Kenpo Karate, Gung Fu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Pankration. Anthony holds Blackbelts in Coju-jitsu, Tae Kwon Do as well as Muay Thai Level 2 Khru. Anthony studied gymnastics at L.A. Valley College and dance at Loyola Marymount University with the purpose of increasing flexibility and endurance for competition. He competed in full contact Kickboxing, Pankration and MMA. Anthony also performs stunt and fight choreography for music videos, commercials and various film and television projects; past projects include Alias, Birds of Prey, Dark Angel and Power Rangers in Space. Anthony is also the creator of the Brood 9 Stunt System, which is one of the few Stunt Certification classes taught for Physical stunt work. He has a DVD with the basics of this program through My Mad Methods Productions, and is a contributor to the My Mad Methods Magazine as well as other Fitness and MMA forums.
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