July 01, 2014

The 100 push-ups training program

Luka was just a pup in 2009
Five years ago I first came across the hundred push-ups training program. I decided to start it; my initial test of eight push-ups put me in column two. After writing one blogpost about it, I did not pursue the challenge -- I cannot remember if I even finished the first week.

But I thought of it again last month as I worked on a piece of my writing that will be published in an anthology later this year. In this piece I am citing Nicholas Thompson, who wrote in The New Yorker, “For someone who doesn’t run, the difference between a 4-hour marathon and a 2:50-something may seem inconsequential, and easy to confuse. But for someone who does run seriously, it’s immense. To make an analogy ..., it’s like the difference between doing 25 push-ups (not bad!) and 100 (holy smokes!).”

I couldn't help but think that doing 100 push-ups sounded a lot easier than running a 2:50-something marathon. Regardless, I wanted to work on improving my strength, and decided to make this push-up challenge part of it.

This time an initial test was not needed: I knew from recent efforts that I could barely make it to five push-ups. So I started in the first column of the six-week program.

Day 1 had five sets of push-ups, doing 2, 3, 2, 2, and then at least 3 (I managed 4). It was challenging but I did it.

Each week has three days of training, with a day of rest in between. The third, and final, day of the first week felt so hard that I doubted I would be able to move on to the second week: I did 4, 5, 4, 4, and the minimum of 5 for the final set and was absolutely spent.

But I managed Day 1 of the second week, and the next, all the way until today -- Day 2 of the fourth week of this program. To my surprise, I managed a total of 72 push-ups over five sets: 14, 16, 12, 12, and 18. Amazing. It was not easy but I did them (I had Tim check my form). You do not always understand what your body is capable of, and how quickly it can progress.

Clearly, this training program works. Check it out here. Whether I will be able to crank out 100 push-ups after finishing the sixth week is almost irrelevant to me because the improvements I have made so far are already completely worth it.