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J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Mar;32(3):651-659. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002345.

Effect of Progressive Calisthenic Push-up Training on Muscle Strength and Thickness.

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Muscle, Metabolism, and Ergogenics Laboratory, Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota.
Department of Athletics, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota.


Kotarsky, CJ, Christensen, BK, Miller, JS, and Hackney, KJ. Effect of progressive calisthenic push-up training on muscle strength and thickness. J Strength Cond Res 32(3): 651-659, 2018-Calisthenics, a form of resistance training, continue to increase in popularity; however, few studies have examined their effectiveness for muscle strength improvement. The purpose of this study was to determine whether progressive calisthenic push-up training (PUSH) is comparable with traditional bench press training (BENCH) as a technique for increasing muscle strength and thickness. Twenty-three healthy, moderately trained men (mean ± SD: age 23 ± 6.8 years) completed the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to PUSH (n = 14) and BENCH (n = 9) groups and were trained 3 days per week for 4 weeks. Muscle thickness (MT), seated medicine ball put (MBP), 1 repetition maximum (1RM) bench press, and push-up progression (PUP) were measured before and after training. Results revealed significant increases in 1RM (p < 0.001) and PUP (p < 0.001) for both groups after training. The increase in PUP was significantly greater for PUSH (p < 0.001). No significant differences were found within groups for MT and MBP (p > 0.05). This study is the first to demonstrate that calisthenics, using different progressive variations to maintain strength training programming variables, can improve upper-body muscle strength.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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