The Navy has its own way of performing pushups.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
The pushup is a classic and efficient body-weight exercise that strengthens your chest, shoulders and upper arms. Additionally, your quads and several core muscles engage as stabilizers. It's no wonder, therefore, that pushups are included in most military physical fitness tests. Military pushups aren't much different from standard pushups, but you must learn those differences to pass a military fitness test, or if you simply want to train like one of the troops.
Understand the Standard Pushup
You'll find plenty of small variations in pushup technique, even among experts, so one person's standard pushup can be a bit different than another exerciser's. According to the American Council on Exercise, you begin a standard pushup from a plank-type position with your body straight from the top of your head to the bottom of your heels. No matter which type of pushup you perform - a standard pushup or one of the military styles - you must maintain this alignment throughout the exercise. Balance on your palms and toes with your arms straight, your hands below your shoulders and your feet close together. Begin the exercise by flexing your elbows and lowering your torso, under control. Stop when either your chin or chest brushes the floor and then push yourself up to the starting position.
Try Army-Style Pushups
You can assume the starting position in any way you choose when you perform standard pushups. If you take an Army fitness test, however, you assume the starting position when the instructor says, вЂњget set.вЂќ When you take that position you may spread your feet a bit wider than in a standard pushup, but under Army rules your feet may not be more than 12 inches apart. You also have the option of setting your fists on the floor, rather than your palms. Instead of stopping your descent when you touch the floor, you may stop when your upper arms are parallel with the floor.
Consider the Navy's Version of a Pushup
If you do a Navy fitness test, you'll assume a preliminary position flat on the floor with your thumbs below your shoulders - so your hands are a bit wider than in a standard pushup. You then rise to the starting position, in which your heels must touch each other, which is another small difference between Navy and standard pushups. Lower yourself until your elbows form angles of less than 90 degrees. Unlike standard pushups, you may not touch the floor with any body part, other than your hands and toes, during the exercise.
Include Air Force Pushups
The differences between standard and Air Force pushups have several similarities to those of Army and Navy pushups. To pass the Air Force fitness test you must spread your hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, similar to Navy pushups. Like the Army test, your feet may be spread 12 inches apart. Lower your torso until your upper arms are at least parallel to the floor, with the elbows bent at 90 degrees or less; you don't have to touch the floor with your chest or chin.