The good ol’ push-up. We’ve all had experiences with push-ups, some may be better than others. My experience with push-ups goes back to my elementary days. I remember being in gym class and desperately trying to do more push-ups than the boys (I’m sad to say I was rarely successful). Today, the push-up is still considered one of the best, most functional ways to build upper body and core strength.
During a push-up, you’re largely using muscles in your upper body and core. The primary muscles being used in your upper body include pectoralis major and minor, anterior and medial deltoid, and triceps brachii. You’re also using your rectus abdominis to stabilize your body and maintain a neutral spine.
Push-ups are also a versatile exercise. A traditional push-up can be done almost anywhere and requires no additional equipment. The push-up can also be modified to suit any fitness level. For example, from easiest to hardest: push-ups can be performed standing pushing against a wall, on the floor with knees bent, on the floor in plank position (traditional), on the floor with your feet elevated, or on stability equipment such as a BOSU or stability ball.
Just like any other exercise, good form is key when performing the perfect push-up to avoid injury and maximize performance. Check out this video to learn the proper shoulder, elbow, and hand positioning. It is also important to remember to keep your core engaged by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. This includes engaging your glutes (butt) and quadriceps (front thigh, group of 3 muscles) to maintain a neutral spine and rigid form.
Now, on to the challenge … The 100 Push-up Challenge is a six-week training program designed to help you build functional strength. To find out what your current push-up max is, you’ll want to perform this initial test to establish your baseline. Basically, this test involves you performing as many pushups as possible with proper form. After you establish your baseline, follow the six-week program:
Once you’ve completed the sixth week, you’re ready to take the final test, which is performing 100 consecutive push-ups!
If you decide to take on this challenge, keep us updated. Comment on this post and let us know how you’re doing. GOOD LUCK!
As with any exercise program, it is recommended that you talk to your health care provider prior to completing this challenge. If you’re not sure if you need physician’s clearance, check out this Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q). If you answer ‘yes’ to any one question, you should obtain physician’s clearance prior to starting an exercise program.