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).