During basic military training, various exercises are done to ensure that you are physically fit and prepared for the physically (and mentally) demanding tasks that you may be assigned once you are deployed. I think we can all agree that among these exercises, push-ups and sit-ups are two of the most important. Here’s how you can do them like a pro.

How to Be A Push-Up Champ

CAPE MAY, N.J. (Sept. 24, 2005) Seaman recruit Mitchell Tucker, from Delta Company 172, screams while doing push-ups one week before graduating from Coast Guard basic training at Training Center Cape May. USCG photo by PAC Tom Sperduto.

No question, you’re going to perform lots of push-ups throughout your basic training, so unless you want to catch your muscles off-guard with sets of push-ups which could result in extremely sore muscles, you might want to practice ahead.

A quick and easy routine to maximize and increase your push-up count (and maybe impress the drill sergeant, not guaranteed, though) is first, warming up your body. Do 25 to 30 jumping jacks first, and perhaps some stretching if you please. After that, you will have to do diamond push-ups to exhaustion. That means doing it until you literally couldn’t push your body up anymore. If you’re not familiar, the diamond push-up is when your hands are on the ground and form a diamond shape with them. It should look like this:

Once done, rest for 30 seconds and do a regular push-up with your hands shoulder-width apart. Again, you’ll have to do this to exhaustion.

Once you’re finished with your normal push-up, rest for another 30 seconds before you do your wide-grip push-ups. This time, your hands should be placed wider than your shoulder width. That completes your one set of push-up exercises.

Do three sets of this every other day, and if you feel like it’s getting easier (which also translates to you getting stronger), add one more set and then another.

It’s also important that you take rest days to give time for your muscles to recover and grow.