Why would I do something like this to myself? The answer to your query is: Why not?
- Pushups are free.
- You can do them anywhere.
- They are a fundamental pressing movement for upper body strength.
- They are quantifiable, meaning you can easily measure your progress and strength gains.
- I have moobs (man-boobs) and I want to eradicate them.
- Having a nice-looking chest feels good, not that I would know.
- It’s a challenge… I like challenges!
Step-by-step, from June 15, 2019 through July 14, 2019, this is what I did:
- I did 100 pushups a day, every day, for 30 days… period. End of story.
Other things to consider if you want to join this challenge:
- Give yourself plenty of time between sets. You do not have to do all 100 in one session. In fact, I recommend spreading them out to avoid fatigue, injury, and to rest and recover.
- Embrace assisted pushups if necessary. Everyone has to begin somewhere. I did assisted pushups for a long time before I could do enough regular pushups to consider doing this challenge. It doesn’t matter. Just begin and do your best. As you will see, strength gains can come pretty quick.
- Track your progress using 1 KPI (Key Performance Indicator). Only go to failure on your first set of the day. Write that number down. If you can do more pushups on the 1st set each day, you are getting stronger.
- Here is a FREE Excel spreadsheet I made that you can download and use to keep track of your own progress. It’s identical to the one I used, just with my own data removed.
- Use proper form to avoid injury! Performing pushups with proper form is safer and promotes more engagement in the desired muscle group, the chest. Besides, the challenge is over if you get hurt. Don’t risk it.
- I have seen so many people in the gym and on YouTube basically dry humping the ground and claiming it’s a pushup. This is not good enough for me. It should not be good enough for you.
- To ensure proper form, watch these two YouTube videos by Jeff Cavaliere of ATHLEAN-X. Watch them often.
- Video 1: PUSHUPS – Perfect Form Every Single Time!!
- Video 2: The Official Push-Up Checklist (AVOID MISTAKES!)
- Record yourself doing pushups and compare your form to these videos. It is better to do fewer proper-form pushups than 1,000 “floor-f%@#&!$”.
- Give yourself a small reward after each successful day of 100 pushups. I reward myself by putting a smiley face sticker on a cheap calendar I bought.
- Do not underestimate the power of rewards on habit development. Seeing these smiley faces every day provides me with an immense source of satisfaction, pride and motivation. I happen to really like smiley faces. Choose your own reward.
On Day 12 of my challenge I had a minor surgery to remove a somewhat large lipoma (basically a fatty bump) on the middle of my back. The surgery took 20-25 minutes and it went perfectly fine.
Unfortunately, the doctors and nurses all said that I should not even think about doing pushups for at least a week, if not 2 weeks.
Doctors be damned… on Day 13 I attempted, and succeeded in, completing all 100 of my pushups without ripping my stitches.
BEFORE YOU OBJECT: I respect doctors. I took their recommendations seriously. I was fully prepared to postpone this challenge were it necessary. Fortunately, it was not necessary and I did not hurt myself. I did stop going to the gym and did as little as possible physically as I recovered. It gave me time to focus more on my diet. So, the results of this challenge come from only 100 pushups a day, focusing on my diet, and not exercising or moving at all otherwise.
Now, to the part that everyone has been anxiously awaiting…
The Results After Month 1
- Pushups on 1st Set Day 1: 17
- Pushups on 1st Set Day 30: 28
- That’s a strength increase of 64.7%!
- Weight Day 1: 198 lbs. (90 kgs.)
- Weight Day 30: 184.8 lbs. (84 kgs.)
- Weight decreased by 13.2 lbs. (6 kgs.)
- I grew to really enjoy doing pushups.
- Additionally, I learned about blog writing, storytelling, movie making, video editing, the benefits of rewards on positive habit formation, diet and nutrition, and so much more. Not bad for a pushup challenge.
- Most importantly… I had fun!
What Was the Hardest Part?
I found Days 2 and 3 to be the most difficult.
The novelty of Day 1 had already worn off, and my shoulders and chest were on fire. Performing the pushups were much more unpleasant. I had to move from motivation and novelty as my fuel to sheer determination and persistence until about Day 6. By Day 6, however, it became easier and strength increases were beginning to show. This made it more enjoyable.
The back surgery was also a tricky moment. I was fully prepared to stop the challenge and begin again after recovering fully. I am glad that I chose to do the pushups and finish the challenge, and that I did not hurt myself in the process.
Well, I enjoyed doing this challenge so much that I am going to push it (yes, pun intended) to 60 days and document the results.
My back surgery limited my physical activity this month. This gave me an opportunity to focus more on my diet, which is so important. During Month 2, I will return to the gym and have a more complete exercise routine to compliment the pushups. I also plan to take some protein and creatine again to see if they will impact my performance. I suspect that they will, but I won’t know until I complete the challenge and review the data.
Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? It is more commonly known as the 80/20 Rule, and it claims that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts.
This principle is found in all aspects of our lives including: nature, reproduction, distribution of wealth, geography, economics and finance, business, and so on.
Some people even claim that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time!
I wanted to see if it would apply to me and my wardrobe, so… I itemized every article of clothing I own and tracked its usage throughout an entire month.
I spent over a month working on this challenge. I did not believe that I would come even close to an 80/20 distribution. If you are curious to know my results, click HERE to read the blog post I wrote about it. You can also watch the YouTube video I made documenting the experience.
I’m not a doctor. I am not a physical trainer. I’m just a guy who performed 3,002 (I miscounted on the first day… whoops!) pushups over the last month. I cannot claim that you will see the same results that I experienced. I have no idea if this experiment will have long-term benefits or consequences to my health or to yours if you choose to take it on. Consult your doctor before doing any physical challenge. At the very least, take it seriously. Do it safely, responsibly, and use proper form. The goal is permanent personal change and a nicer chest, not a trip to the hospital.
- Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of this challenge.
- Consider doing this challenge yourself.
- Download this FREE Excel spreadsheet to begin tracking your results.
- Once finished, post your results below.