Push Ups to Failure

Calculator created by Jeff Burmann, NSCA-CPT. Questions? Email Jeff

Men Complete Push Up from Feet

Women Complete Push Up from Knees

Modified Push Up


The Push Ups to Failure Test is used to measure upper body push muscle endurance.

For accurate results, you must:

  • Use a strict 1/0/1/0 tempo at 40 BPM (20 reps per minute), one beat down, one beat up, with no transition time between eccentric or concentric muscle actions. Movement should be smooth and controlled at all times and using precise 40 bpm tempo. Use a metronome!
  • Complete as many reps as possible (AMRAP) until you stop or fail. True muscular failure is best being unable to maintain proper form or tempo to complete another rep. Record total passing reps to see where you rank compared to others around your age and sex.
  • Try to repeat as many variables to the test as possible, like:
    • Time of testing
    • Pre-exercise nutrition
      • Drink plenty of water prior to testing
      • Don’t drink alcohol or smoke prior to testing, note if you do
      • Eat 200-300 calories (50-75 grams) of carbohydrates 30-60 minutes prior to testing to fill muscle glycogen reserves and increase blood glucose levels for optimal energy and recovery during rest periods.
    • Warm-ups
      • A moderate intensity cardiovascular warm-up should be completed before any workout to prevent injury and improve performance, especially before any exercise based fitness testing.
    • Order of all tests of day
    • Rest periods between exercises and sets
      • Recover fully before attempting any maximum intensity fitness test. 3-5 minutes of rest is recommended for optimal recovery. The more fit you are, the more rest you’ll need since you’re working at a much higher intensity and doing more work than a beginner.