Just how DO you train to do 100 pushups?

Confession time. Even though I could do 30 pushups last week, I decided to start my official Week 1 this week at just 20. The iPhone app scared me into it. But that's the end of the story. I'll start at the beginning.

Some of us who have entertained this madness of striving to do 100 pushups in one sitting -- well, consecutively without stopping...no sitting -- looked at hundredpushups.com and dreaded the thought of having to use a computer every day to find the appropriate spot on these charts. How could that rigamarole be fit into a crazy busy life? (Yeah, yeah -- if that isn't first-class whining, nothing is.)

And yet. It was an obstacle to getting started. Not all of us have a Jon Stewart or Ali Edwards in house to organize us first thing in the morning and get us pumped to knock out 20 or 30 or 40 pushups. In our office, we work staggered schedules, we have to dress up, nobody wants to get sweaty, yadda yadda yadda.

Then Marilyn Hull at LiveWell Lawrence said she'd downloaded the app. So did Mark Howarter at Chiropractic Experience. (Mark even married his with inspirational pushups tunes.) They swore by it.

Indeed -- there they are, right there on the hundredpushups site. Apps for iPhone, Android and Windows 7. (For those not digitally inclined, there's also a book.) So there's just no excuse.

The iPhone app has a four-star rating. In reading through the reviews, one stood out: "WARNING! START SLOW!" noted Lewis D. Wheeler on May 4, 2011.

"As instructed, I did 'as many' pushups as I could to start my initial number. Bad idea! First day has 4 sets -- I was so sore it took me a week to recover! Had to re-start day one 3 times! If you're not in super shape -- but like me in pretty good shape tho not ideal - I suggest doing as many pushups as you can, then divide that number in HALF and start there! Otherwise, good app!

So, I began at 20. (10 seemed too wimpy.) The schedule on the first day, Monday, of Week 1 was to do 4 sets totaling 45 pushups. Today was day two of Week 1, with 50 pushups. So far this week, I've done 95 pushups. On Friday, I'll do 4 sets totaling 57 pushups, with a total of 142 for the week. The site advises a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, with two days off (Saturday and Sunday) between weeks. It's not bad. I'm tired after the sets, but not shaking too badly. The app's great -- it automatically counts down the time between sets. I can schedule reminders for the next session. And it graphs my progress.

So, those you who are using apps, feel free to load the image of your progress in a separate post on this 100 Pushups group. (You can't load a photo from your computer in the comments for a post.)

For those of you who are using the pushups logger on hundredpushups.com, take a screen shot and load it. Let me know if you need assistance.

How's everyone else doing this week? Megan from the Lied Center? Chiropractic Experience? Heartland? LiveWell? Kris Adair? Ross Weber from Tonganoxie?

Tagged: pushups


AnnaUndercover 7 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for posting this! I'll test myself later this week when I'm not exhausted from ballet/dance.

I need to finally cave and get an iPhone so I can load these flashy apps.

AnnaUndercover 7 years, 3 months ago

Then again, tired from dance is kind of the norm. Proceeding with the test!

manfred 7 years, 3 months ago

Just for the record, you don't need an iphone (or ipod touch, or ipad) to do this program. They have a free website (just google "one hundred pushups").

AnnaUndercover 7 years, 3 months ago

Hm. I see. :)

But! It would be very nice to have an iPhone to load it on. :) I still want one.

Vrbl66044 7 years, 3 months ago

Well, I certainly applaud anyone wanting to do a hundred pushups, but take it from this old gym rat, I've spent my entire adult life in the gym, and a program like this one can do more harm than good.

If you only train one part of your body (and that's all a single exercise like pushups is going to do for you), you're setting yourself up for injuries down the road. I've seen it a hundred times.

It's like putting a powerful engine in a stock Toyota Tercel. What will you accomplish? You'll blow out the drive train, the clutch, the transmission, etc., because those factory parts aren't designed to handle the power of an engine much more powerful than the factory installed engine.

Push-ups basically only train the chest muscles and to some extent, the triceps. What you really want to do is train your entire body, all the major muscle groups (chest, back, abdomen, legs, shoulders and arms) at the same time, over the course of a workout. And don't forget your cardiovascular work!

I'm proud of you guys wanting to do this. Three cheers! Falling in love with exercise, eating right, etc., is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. And you WILL fall in love with it if you can just force yourself to stick with it a year or two and experience the amazing progress you'll make.

But do it right, okay?

My advice, find a good gym, with qualified trainers who will design your programs for you (especially in the beginning, until you get the hang of it yourself) and guide you in your quest for physical fitness. Thirty to 45 minutes a day, three days a week, is all you'll ever need to do (I refuse to believe anyone is so busy that he or she cannot make time for that, especially considering how important it is).

And don't worry about being embarrassed or not being in shape the first time you walk into the gym. You have to start somewhere and almost every one of us were there ourselves at one time. So no one will say anything to you and very, very quickly you will progress way beyond that stage anyway.

Now get out there and do it! :-)

jestevens 7 years, 3 months ago

This is great advice, vrbl66044. I wouldn't be attempting this 100 pushups goal without already working out regularly.

Ali Edwards 7 years, 3 months ago

Great advice! It's easy to get ritualistic about only exercising one part of the body. However, I've noticed that after doing a day's worth of push-ups, my arms, back, chest and abs, especially the abs, are sore.

While I completely agree that it's necessary to exercise other parts of the body, push-ups seem to train more than just my chest and arms.

And hooray for exercises that are NOT crunches!

del888 7 years, 3 months ago

I can't believe that it's come to this point. We can't even exercise without an Iphone app. Do we really need an app for this? Good luck.

Ali Edwards 7 years, 3 months ago

I guess we're not as techy at HCHC. Our method for keeping track of push-ups is the pocketmod, a piece of paper brilliantly folded into a small book. I keep the pocketmod on my desk, and it never fails that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it's the first thing that my eye catches.

The HCHC team is struggling. While we still get together and do push-ups every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the clinic is filled with quiet grumbles instead of excited pep-talks. Instead of the former hopping around, stretching out, we trudge in bleary-eyed saying, "Did you see how many push-ups we have to do today? This sucks."

But here's the thing: we're still doing it. We still gather in the clinic at 8:30 every other day, drop to our stomachs and do push-ups until our arms give out. Yesterday morning, a couple of us had a meeting outside the building so we were unable to do our push-ups with the rest of the group. However, when we got back, three of us went into the conference room and completed that day's training. I know for a fact that if it had only been me doing push-ups, I would have simply skipped that day's training. Before yesterday's training, Jon, sensing our decreased enthusiasm, gave a short talk about the importance of team, of being each others' support, of not letting each other give up.

Sure, these might just be push-ups. This might be a seemingly silly routine that takes about 45 minutes out of our week, but we think it's a lot more than that. We think it's about strengthening our team more than strengthening our muscles. We think it's about building a culture of health, a community actively and honestly interested in well-being. We think that it's about connecting with other people. The truth is, people need other people. However strange it may seem, I love hating push-ups. I love being able to complain about them to my teammates, and I love that my teammates can relate.

We will finish our six-week push-up program, and we will hate it the entire time. By the end, though, our team (and muscles) will be stronger. I think it's worth it.

Kris Adair 7 years, 3 months ago

I just use the website. It took a bit of getting used to but now I have it figured out. I printed the plan and circled my stuff for the week. This is my second week but I am following week one again as I only made one day last week. I have the same problem with not having a motivator PLUS I have little feet stepping on my fingers while I try to complete sets. It has been cute watching the girls try to do push ups with me. I will try to get a picture soon to share. Erin Brown of FitMamaTraining.com showed me a cool Spider Man push up that I am doing now that involves a wide foot position. The girls look really cute with their feet spread, bobbing their heads.

seancailteux 7 years, 3 months ago

Report on The Chiropractic Experience: Last week, Dr. Mark completed week 6, and claims that he feels able to drop down and rep out the required 100 push-ups. Admittedly, he has not yet attempted this feat. However, when he returns next week from his family vacation, he will be put to the test with video to follow. I (Dr. Sean) am in week 3 with my 1-handed challenge. I've improved my max from approx. 10 push- ups to 18. I hope to achieve a max of 25 within the next couple of weeks. And "when" I get there, we will video that and send proof. (I really don't see myself being able to climb higher than 25). The rest of the girls continue to work on it, and I will make mention of their progress next time. Good luck to all of the other participants! We enjoy reading about all of your progress!

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