As a cyclist and runner, I have spent thousands of hours working to make my legs stronger. I have dedicated myself to building cardiovascular and respiratory endurance. I’ve done all this while basically neglecting my upper body. On April 17, 2012, I decided to change that. That day I decided to dedicate myself to doing 25 pushups and 25 sit-ups every day. I figured my arms and my abs would thank me eventually. That first day, I couldn’t do 25 consecutive pushups. I did 15 and collapsed, rested a bit then did two sets of five each.
I did my daily sets faithfully for about a week, improving each time. Then I discovered Steve Spiers’ 100 pushups program online. I decided to take the plunge. I was struggling more with the sit-ups at the time so I didn’t immediately jump on the 200 sit-ups challenge.
The first day of the program I did the 45 required pushups in 5 sets - 10, 12, 7, 7, 9. I did fine on the early sets, but the set was painful. That was the pattern nearly every workout followed throughout the program. I’d knock the first few sets out of the park, then grunt and groan through the final sets. There was never a day when I didn’t struggle to complete the assigned number. Twice I was unable to do the minimum on the final set. Pushups, I discovered, are hard work!
The program I was following – and there are many of them – took me from 15 consecutive pushups to 100. The plan was designed to do this in seven weeks, but it took me a little longer. At the end of my seventh week, I set out to do my final test. I started out strong and did 30 pushups with little effort at all. I started to feel a little weakness in the next 10 to 15. I got to 50 and rested a bit without putting my knees down. I did another ten barely, then five more before I collapsed. I knew 65 wasn’t bad, but it was short of the goal. I rested a bit then did 35 more. I decided to redo the last two weeks of the program.
As I was starting my eighth week, Steve Spiers contacted me via his @100pushups Twitter account. He suggested dropping down to the middle column of the fifth and sixth weeks to see if doing less pushups would help. I swallowed my pride and did as he advised. The sets were still hard to do, but I was able to complete each day’s workout with less exhaustion. At the end of these weeks, I dropped to the floor and made my second attempt at 100 consecutive pushups. I read Steve S.'s advice about putting my butt up to rest occasionally, so I kept that in mind as I started. I did 25 then rested for a few seconds. I did another 25 and rested. I did a third 25 with a lot of “give up” screaming in my ear. I rested. I did 10. I rested. I knocked out 15 of the worst pushups ever. It didn’t matter to me. I’d done 100 in a row.
The 100 pushups program is easy to use. On the first visit to the website, you can view video of what a good pushup looks like and begin the program with an initial exhaustion test. From there, you can click over to the first week’s workouts and get started. Each day you are given a number of sets of pushups to do. You do them and then max out on the final set. The three times a week format gives you plenty of rest and recovery.
The app simplifies a few things. Once you’ve selected the workout, it automatically walks you through that day’s sets and times the intervals between sets. The timer is clear and easy to read through sweat-hazed eyes! The app also has several graphic representations to help you see your progress and you can set a reminder so that each day your phone will tell you to drop and do 20! Everything can be exported to a CSV file and emailed to yourself for record keeping or to a friend for bragging rights or accountability. Tips for the day also pop up to keep you on track and motivated. The multi-user function means you and your son or daughter can use the app and keep separate logs of your workouts.
Both platforms are easy to use and I highly recommend them to those who are seeking to tackle the formidable task of 100 consecutive pushups!
A big thank you goes to Steve Speirs, creator of the hundredpushups site, and James Sugrue, the man who coded the app, for making the book and app code giveaways possible. Julie Hess won the autographed copy of Steve Speirs' book, 7 Weeks to 100 Pushups, on Wednesday, September 12. The app codes went to Scott, Thad, Erik, Leslie and Tisha on Monday, September 17. If you didn't win either of these prizes, you can still purchase them at www.hundredpushups.com.