About a month ago I decided to do a 30 day push up challenge to shake things up in my strength training routine. My goal was to do 30 push ups, each day for 30 days. I chose this number because I knew it was going to be a challenge to work up to, but I felt confident that I could accomplish this by the end. If you decide to do this challenge as well, pick a number that is right for you. It could be more, it could be less. Just make it achievable. If you don't know where to even start, try some regular pushups or pushups on your knees. Do as many as you can, and when you fail, take that number of completed reps and add 5-10. This will just serve as a general number of reps to work up to.
Day 1 for me was pretty good, I was able to do 15 full push-ups and then switched and did 15 knee push-ups. A pretty good start overall!
From there moving forward, I would try to add at least 1 more full push-up each day as my body felt up to it. Some days I would be sore from my lift and do more knee push ups just to make sure I was able to complete them with good form!
Form and control is more important than anything when strength training. Good form and control means a less likelihood of getting injured. If you can't do a full push up with good form then please please please do knee push ups! There is nothing wrong with modifying an exercise until you are strong enough to advance to a harder variation of the movement.
During the challenge I also incorporated different push-up variations into my strength workouts to help make progress as well.
In one case, I used a resistance band loop from THERABAND and put it around my arms above my elbows and a little bit lower than my shoulders and did a regular push-up. The resistance band helps at the bottom of the push-up to give you a small boost upwards, see here:
Another variation below is with a medicine ball. I used this 10lb ball from Amazon. Here you are going to do 3 different push-ups that count for 1 rep. One with the right hand on the ball, one with both hands on the ball, and one with the left hand on the ball. Shown here, this one is more difficult, so I did a lot of reps on my knees to allow myself to get good form!
The last 3 variations are all body weight based, no equipment needed. There is the decline push-up (hardest variation in my opinion), the incline push-up, and the explosive wall push-up, all shown below.
Day 14 was the first day I did all 30 full push-ups. I did rest at times, but I was pretty pleased after 2 weeks! I was able to get all 30 full push-ups complete in a decent amount of time.
From here, I tried to continue my progress and complete my 30 full push-ups faster and with fewer breaks. Some days I still did knee push-ups when I was sore or just extra tired, but I still did it.
Now I can't sit here and tell you everyday was easy, because it wasn't. Some days I didn't want to do my push-ups. Some days I forgot until 10pm, but I did them and just completing the challenge each day was a real success. Here is the last day of the challenge, finishing strong with my fastest time of the whole challenge.
Below is a before and after picture! Not only did I feel like I looked better, but I felt better, and I felt stronger! Keep in mind I was doing strength and cardio workouts on top of the push-up challenge, so this is an overall healthier period of time for me with consistent workouts, running, and pretty decent eating habits. Before on the left, after on the right:
Interested in trying the challenge? Why wait! Give it a try and see how much you can improve over 30 days! Pick a challenging amount for you and put your mind to completing it everyday!