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Pushups- Try Reading Here First- Merged Thread

I just did my "update" test on Monday. They used the mat. However, don‘t be suprised if they don‘t use it, or even if they do things that you‘ve never heard discussed. It seems to me that policies regarding everything are subject to change at a moments notice.

The first time I did my test, I found that my hand placement cost me about 10-15 pushups. I was used to doing them with a relatively wide hand placement, where I could do as many as 45 before I‘d get really bad burning. He made me put my hands so close together that my thumbs could just about touch. I was lucky to push out my 30th pushup, It took me about 5 seconds to do it.
My point is, be ready for it to be different than you expect. Possibly a bit harder then when you do it at home.

I‘m sure for some people they exceed what they thought they could do, simply because of the excitement and adrenaline of the situation. I wasn‘t one of those people.

I also think that drinking caffeine in the days leading up to the test also worked against me a little bit. I was feeling groggy and a little agitated, as I often do when in caffiene withdrawl. I passed no problem, but I think I could have done better.

Anyway, just a couple of things from my experience that you can consider if you so choose.
Good luck.
When I did my push ups I asked prior to starting if my hands were placed correctly. I didn‘t want to start them and then be told to begin again because my hands weren‘t placed properly. The person who did my testing did an example of the push up before I began. She did hers on the mat but I asked if I could do it on the bare floor as I did not feel comfortable on the mat. No I wasn‘t whining!!! I just made sure I expressed any concerns prior to the exercise I was about to do so I wouldn‘t mess it up. The order I did my PT test was first the step test, hand grip, push ups and then sit ups. I am not sure if this is the standard or not or if it depends on the person who is testing you.
I am currently trying to get myself in push-up shape. I have a really hard time doing even 1 push up so I've started a more concentrated weight lifting routine to focus on pecs, upper back, shoulders, biceps and triceps (basically entire upper body). I'm in great shape, I exercise regularly. I plan to go to basic training next spring/summer so I want to be in the best shape possible. Before deciding to do my BScN through ROTP, I went to school and worked as a registered massage therapist. I worked full time for 2 years and had to stop because the job was killing me. :'( This is why I suspect that I have so much trouble with push ups - my wrists, elbows and shoulder joints arent in the greatest shape. Besides pumping up my weight lifting, is there anything else that would help me to get past one shaky push up?? Maybe someone else had the same problem........? Anyway, Im open to any and all suggestions!!
Try doing them from your knees for the first little while, to train your muscles.  Then go from your toes till you can't do any more and drop down to your knees. Even starting in the up position and slowly lowering yourself down (called negatives) will help you get better at them if you can't push up at first.
It'll also help if you go to the gym and work on your triceps (with those tricep extension equipment...well, the gym staff will tell you which is good for helping with push ups). 
Try doing a bit of swimming, and some more stretches to loosen your arms and shoulders up. Your stomach muscles play a role in pushups too, so don't forget about them!
Another thing to do is re-visit your weight lifting routine and figuring out whether its
truly effective.  Are you lifting to little weight?  Are you training too long?  Are your
repetitions per set too much?  Are you over-training specific muscle groups? 
Too much rest between sets?  Too many exercises for that muscle group?

By over-training or over-doing exercise can lead to tendonitis of the joints like the wrist, elbow,
and shoulder.  These joints needs a good warm up before weights and its better to cycle
the routine so you don't over-exert.  Stretch the muscles around these joints before, during, and
after exercise.  As mentioned before, cross-training  weights with swimming, floor hockey,
badminton, etc provides recovery  time and maintains flexibility.
Swimming is a great way to build upper body strength but your probably no where near a pool...as mentiond b4 try doing them from your knees first this will help train your muscles to doing push-ups then when you feel comfortable move on to the regular ones b4 you know it you will be doing 30  or 40.
Thanks everyone! One more question.......when doing the push ups, your elbows need to be as close to your body as possible right? Will I fail if my elbows stick out?? ???
I was wondering if anyone here has any tips on how to improve my pushups.  I am trying to join the army and the only test I have left is the fitness and my only weak area is the pushups so if anyone has some tips that would be great thanks.
Just a Sig Op said:
Keep doing them. That's about it.

I agree...that is pretty much the only way to improve.

Do as many as you can, then take a break, and do it again.  Try that several times a day.  Try and break your previous days record.

Dont quote me on that...I am not a physical fitness instructor or anything.  And make sure you dont overdo it, you could end up doing more damage than good.
During the summer, me and the other guys in my tent had a goal of increasing teh number of pushups a day we did by 10. I forgot wat number we started at was, but i think it was aroun 20 or 30. We finished up at about 80 or 90 a night straight.
Fire off 20 or 30 pushups every time you think of it. Like right now, drop and give me 20! But seriously... do it. Everyday, 4 or 5 times or more a day.
Be sure to  use the proper pushup form. Arms along your sides, hands under your shoulders, and do a full range of motion. It makes a big difference!

Your recruiting center should have a little CD you can pick up that has videos of the fitness tests, and shows a proper push up method.
It's free, so pick one up the next time you are there.
We used to play push-up poker as a way to increase our push-ups.

You and a friend (or you can do it alone) take a deck of cards and each draw a card.
You then do the number of pushups that correspond to the face value of the card.

2-10: The face value of the card
J: 11 pushups
Q: 12 pushups
K: 13 pushups
A: 20 pushups

You keep going back and forth until one person quits. It's a nice way to add some fun to push-ups.
and also... if you're even have trouble doing a proper push up, you can start by doing them on your knees.  I know it's the girly way, but it's better to start with something easy and then progress.  You can also try doing them with your hands higher up than your feet, e.g. with your hands on chairs.  It takes a little bit of the weight off.

edit: grammar error
also, you can put your feet up on somthing (i use my bed) and do 20 or so that way. do that for a week then go back to the normal way on a floor and youll find that you can do about 40-50 without a problem, when beofre 20 would have winded you

(my experiance sometime last year, might work for you)
I have been re-doing three reps a day for a week now and I increased my numbers by 5 already.  You could do more reps in a day but overall it's not necessary, your muscle needs time to rest or they won't grow as much.
I don't know if you go the gym much, but if you do, try super setting push ups into your weights routine.  Everytime I go to the gym, I do a set of whatever and then I hit the mat and pund of as many push ups as I can...keep doing that in between sets...don't overwork yourself and of course take the necessary breaks...but you'll find that you'll improve very quickly...

There's tons of different methods...this is just one...