I'm a HUGE advocate of "Quality vs Quantity" in many aspects of fitness (and in life) and today I want to address the QUALITY of a repetition vs the Quantity.
Quite often, the quality of a repetition can be lost when a trainee does not connect "mind and muscle". Hoisting a weight up and down will equate to some benefit and more than likely, stroke one's ego but given an ooportunity to truly feel the muscle through the entire movement will produce greater gains in muscular and cardiovascular stimulation, reduce shearing forces on the joints and soft tissue and produce one helluva pump. Yes, your weights will need to be reduced or you may only get a percentage of the reps you achieved before, but performing the exercise properly and with intent will go far beyond the numbers you tell your buddies you just lifted.
Try this next time you do pushups:
Start in the bottom position of the pushup. Make sure your entire body is "tight", now with great intent, slowly start to press your body up using a 3 second count to achieve the positive portion of the rep - the whole time trying to adduct your hands together on the floor (which, of course, won't happen but will yield an incredible contraction int he pectorals). Pause at the top, but keep the elbows slightly bent and briefly hold that contraction, now lower your self down in 3 seconds (as with the start position, don't rush through and just drop down) and when you get to the bottom position pause for a brief second (again, body fully tight) and hover over the floor for a moment then squeeze out of the bottom again. Let me know how you feel after 10 of these reps......and remember, think QUALITY!!!!!