Do 100 pushups

June 2009

During the last few months, I switched things up and started doing some workouts that focused on a fixed amount of rest between sets, such as 90 seconds or 60 seconds. I'm not sure how long I had been resting between sets up until now, but likely it was around 3 minutes, perhaps longer.

I was shocked at how difficult it was to limit rest even to 90 seconds. Wow. It was a bit discouraging, actually!

After doing this style of workout for a couple of months, I decided it was time to talk to a personal trainer. Well, actually, I had a "free workout" from CLHC, so that's what triggered me to explore this avenue now rather than later.

I now have a workout plan which is 4 days a week, but I have yet to really start this plan... between the birth of Eli, the 100 mile diet, planning and doing some training for a potential cross-Canada trip, and then feeling quite under the weather for a couple of weeks, I fell off the bandwagon of doing my 2-4 days a week of pushup workouts.

So hopefully soon I'll get back into this! My max set this winter topped out around 55 pushups. This has turned out to be a surprisingly challenging goal to accomplish :)

February 21, 2009

Wow, it has been a long time since I've made a post. Things have been going reasonably well... my max weekly set is now at 51, but the "buffer" of leftover strength after my max set has quickly deteriorated to almost nothing.

It's time to put together a new plan. A few weeks ago I made use of a free personal training session, and since then I've contacted him about putting together a plan to keep me progressing on this goal. Personal training is extremely expensive, so I would likely limit it to a few times a year.

We recently purchased an HD video camera for the pending arrival of Littlehamberg, so I thought I would, for the first time, see how many pushups I'm truly capable of and record it.

53 pushups

September 7, 2008

This was a fun week because Tuesday was my first day back in the gym. I'm at the spot in my schedule where I start doing bench presses one day a week. Last year I really enjoyed that aspect of my training.

I'm amazed as I was last year how weak I am: Three sets of 90 lbs wasn't as easy as I thought it would be!

As for the pushups, my max reps are at 27 and will increase to 40 by the end of November. Slow but sure.

May 2008

This time around, I'm doing a set of exercises together rather than just pushups. They are:

Roll-ups (like sit-ups)
Back arches (face down, arch back)
Dips (from a stair)
Lat row (20 lbs)

The idea is to do the same number of sets and reps for these exercises as for my pushups. (Except for planks, for which I multiple the reps for the set by two to get the number of seconds. So for example, 12 reps is instead 24 seconds)

So far I'm really liking this strategy, and my back/shoulders feel fairly well balanced out. It's fun to do some abdominal work, because I've never really progressed in this area before!

April 2008

I've given my shoulder oodles of time to recover, so it's about time I got going again! Because I had so much fun last year starting easy and progressing in a slow but sure manner, I'm going to go for the exact same strategy this year, to the T. On Monday I'll re-begin the plan I made up last March 3rd.

Let's hope I hit my goal this time!

Pushup schedule

February 2008

The night after trying snowboarding for the first time, I headed to bed early -- I was pretty zonked. I woke up in the middle of the night with a very very sore shoulder. Where it came from I don't know, but when I got up in the morning I couldn't even hold my left arm in front of my body. Something was very wrong. I visited my chiropractor on Monday and he was baffled too, but over the next two weeks it has gotten much better and I now have most of my range of motion back. The shoulder is still weak and a little sore when I hold my arm up and to the side, but hopefully it will be back to 100% soon. When it's back in action, I think I'll slowly start back into the pushups.

Jan21-08: Not so fast

What a discouraging couple of weeks. I figured since my hand was good to go I could get right back into my plan, but it hasn't worked out that way. For starters, my upper back and chest have been really tight and achey, like they have felt in the past. My shoulders don't feel like they're "sitting" right when I'm at work during the day and I'm constantly fidgeting, arching my back and rolling my shoulders, trying to make them feel normal. I have also felt the dreaded tightness / mild soreness in my left pec. And then there's my lower back, which has been feeling funny and getting worse. Now I'm getting some tinglies. I don't know how much of it has to do with the cold virus I'm fighting, but regardless, I'm in no shape to dive into a pushup regimen at this point. I feel just like I did a couple of years ago when I gave up for the time being. I may need to lay low for a while, get back into my chiro excercises, and start over.

On the road again

It has been 24 days since I hurt my hand and it is mostly back to normal... I've been typing at full speed for a week now and slowly reintroducing some physical activity. Yesterday at the gym I tried the chest press machine and only had a little discomfort. Just for fun I wanted to see how much weight I could do on the machine (it's only the second time I've tried it) and I was amused that I got it all the way up to 220 lbs. I have to wonder how close the machine's resistance matches that of an actual bench press (obviously not that closely), but it was encouraging nonetheless. As for push ups, I've done a few sets of 10 here and there this week, and tried a set of 30 today. I'm amazed at how quickly strength degenerates... I could feel muscle fibers on both sides starting to tighten after about 27, whereas before I hurt my hand I could do 51 without that sensation. Oh well!

Hand go boom

I've said it before, I'll say it again: Injuries suck. On Dec 13th I was playing basketball with some friends when I caught my finger on a guy as I was running past him and my ring finger got bent back past 90 degrees until it made a significant "pop". What I ended up with is basically a sprained hand and a useless finger... it took a week before I was able to type with my left hand, but it's looking like it will be another couple of weeks before I'm able to use my hand for any kind of exercise.

So after many months of steady progress towards reaching my goal of 100 pushups (reaching a set of 51), this will be a significant set back. I wonder how much progress I'll lose over these three weeks and how quickly I'll be able to get back into it.

October 25, 2007

About a month ago, I got Meredith to take a picture of me so that I could see what my form was like... overall ok, but the one thing that really stuck out is that my neck and head aren't anywhere close to being parallel with my body... they are arched forward toward the ground. I think the reason that I have been doing this that I use the proximity of my face to the floor as my means for knowing when I'm low enough to start coming back up... but this turns out to be a cheat since it means your chest doesn't have to come all of the way down. Shoot. The other observation is that my hands are waaay further apart than shoulder width, but I'm not really concerned about that. Anyway, I tried doing my pushups today with my head held in line with my body and focusing on making sure my chest comes to within about an inch of the ground, and man oh man did that make a world of difference... it was a struggle getting to 33, whereas I can do 43 "fairly easily" using my more practiced technique. Bummer! I guess I'm not as far along as I thought.

So here's the thing: Do I drop my sets back by 10-15 reps and adopt the new technique cold turkey? I'm not going to do that for two reasons:

1)Even doing 60% as many reps a week using a different technique might lead to injury and/or plateau, since my body hasn't been allowed to build up and adapt to it from a base level.

2)While my current technique isn't perfect, it is still an excellent exercise. It represents a different yet still valuable mix of muscle fibers / pattern of nerve firings.

What I'm going to do is keep my existing plan and start augmenting it with a better technique that works its way up from a very easy base level of 5 pushups. Here's my game plan for the next few weeks:

OT = Old Technique
NT = Good Technique

October 22 - October 28

M/T/Th/S: 4x30 knee-pushups / bench:3x13@115LBS + shpress:3x10@30LBS / NT:2x33 / OT:1x43, NT:1x5

October 28 - November 3

M/T/Th/S: 4x32 knee-pushups + 4x100@20LBS / bench:3x10@120LBS + shpress:3x11@30LBS / OT:2x34 + NT:3x3 / OT:1x44 + NT:6

November 4 - 10

M/T/Th/S: 4x34 knee-pushups + 4x70@40LBS / bench:3x11@120LBS + shpress:3x11@30LBS / OT:2x35 + NT:3x4 / OT:1x45 + NT:7

November 11 - 17

M/T/Th/S: 4x36 knee-pushups + 4x105@20LBS / bench:3x12@120LBS + shpress:3x12@30LBS / OT:2x36 + NT:3x5 / OT:1x46 + NT:8

November 18 - 24

M/T/Th/S: NT:4x4 + 3x38 knee-pushups + 4x73@40LBS / bench:3x13@120LBS, shpress:3x13@30LBS / OT:2x37 + NT:2x7 / OT:1x47 + NT:10

November 25 - December 1

M/T/Th/S: NT:4x4 + 3x40 knee-pushups + 4x110@20LBS / bench:3x10@125LBS, shpress:3x14@30LBS / OT:2x38 + NT:2x8 / OT:1x48 + NT:11

December 2 - December 8

M/T/Th/S: NT:4x5 + 3x42 knee-pushups + 4x76@40LBS / bench:3x11@125LBS, shpress:3x15@30LBS / OT:2x39 + NT:2x9 / OT:1x49 + NT:12

December 8 - December 14

M/T/Th/S: NT:4x6 + 3x44 knee-pushups + 4x115@20LBS / bench:3x12@125LBS, shpress:3x10@35LBS / OT:2x40 + NT:2x10 / OT:1x50 + NT:14

September 8, 2007

Another good week. I realized today that this is the longest daily plan of progression I've ever followed, and it has been a lot of fun so far. I breezed through 38 quick pushups today and finally I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I think this is actually going to work out. It will be curious to see whether the bench press aspect of this continues to progress smoothly, since I'm much closer to the limit of can/can't on that front. A few weeks ago when I was doing 3x12x100 lbs I wasn't quite able to finish the third set, but then here I am now doing 3x11x115 lbs and feeling good. It will be interesting to see this play out.

September 3, 2007

I'm up to 37 and I know I could do quite a few more if I really pushed myself... but I'm really liking thing "slow but steady" strategy for progressing. Bench press is at 3 sets of 10 reps at 115 lbs.

July 18, 2007

These last few weeks my Tuesdays have been at the gym doing bench press... I'm up to 3 sets of 12 x 100 lbs. It's interesting being back in the gym after almost three years away. There's a certain atmosphere there that is hard to put into words... maybe it is that there are lots of people there that are much bigger/stronger so that it puts this subtle feeling of "poor me" into your mind, I'm not sure. But it's nice to be in an environment where people are focused and energized.

Progress continues to go well!

June 1, 2007

When I planned my schedule a couple of months ago, I built in a week off for my half marathon. Well I didn't end up being able to run the half marathon, but I took the week off anyway! It's amazing how quickly your body 'forgets': This Monday when I did my first set of 11 pushups in 7 seven days, there was this feeling of being out of form and a bit weak. Still, in the long run, I think that short breaks like this are good for your body. Increasing reps each week can only go for so long before you plateau, and I get the sense that giving your body a week to rest/adapt now and again, while slowing you down in the short term, may help in the long run.

This week I went the gym for the first time and did 2 sets of 10 reps at 80 pounds. It's been a long time! Even having done such a small amount of weight, I could feel it afterwards. I was reminded how weight lifting can leave you with a very pleasant toned feeling.

So far everything has gone very well on my journey to 100 pushups. I'm still in the easy phase of things -- the real test will be once I get up over 60 reps.

April 20, 2007

Progress continues to go well. I still haven't been successful at getting back into the habit of doing my chiro exercises, or doing my back workouts, though. And I've been plauged this last week with an extremely sore neck. Even my chiro appointment this week didn't seem to do much for it. Any time I am bent over or laying down and I have to support my neck while it is turned even slightly sideways, there is a real sense of tightness/soreness/weakness. I'm not sure what it is that is causing my neck so much discomfort. Thankfully it hasn't kept me from being active, but if it doesn't get better soon it might!

Tomorrow I'm up to 16 pushups. Looking forward in my plan, I'm wondering whether jumping in with 12 sets of 90 lbs on the bench press is such a good idea. It would probably be much smarter to start a few weeks earlier, so I'm going to add the following to my shedule:

Week of May 27 - June 2: Wed: 8 x 80 lbs

Week of June 3 - 9: Wed: 10 x 80 lbs

Week of June 10 - 16: Wed: 12 x 80 lbs

Week of June 17 - 23: Wed: 10 x 90 lbs

April 12, 2007

Has it really been over a month already? Time flies! So far so good... I'm loving this easy pace, slow but sure. I started strong with the core workouts as well as the pushups, but the core stuff petered out because a few weeks ago I was starting to feel very tight in my legs and back and it felt as though the daily core exercise wasn't helping -- ironic given that it was my chiropractor that recommended it! I think I need to give it another try but start slower, perhaps three times a week and work up to five times a week.

March 10, 2007

Tomorrow marks the end of week #1. After an albeit slow start (6 pushups, wow!) I'm happy with the plan I've set out ahead of me. I think the light core workouts every morning are going to be excellent, (they feel great already) and the two back workouts a week will also be a critical part of the plan. Working on this sort of thing is lots of fun!

March 3, 2007

It has been 8 months since I was actively working at this, and I think it's time to get back at it. I've been training for a half marathon these past two months and so I've been feeling healthier / more fit. As I continue to train for the half marathon, I should also be working on my core strength, back, health, etc, and with that in place, there's no reason I can't take a run at this one again! This time around I'm going to start with a game plan. That's one thing I really value about the Running Room: They map out a fourth month plan, which helps keep you consistant and improving at a steady pace.

Game plan

Every morning will consist of a light core body workout. My chiropractor has given me some stretches and strengthening exercies, including some ball exercises.

In balance with strenghthening my chest, I will also focus on strengthening my upper and lower back.


In addition to daily core body workouts:

Sunday: Back
Monday: Focused core workout + chest
Tuesday: Chest
Wednesday: Back
Thursday: Chest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Chest

March 4 - 10

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x2  / 3x3 / 3x4 / 2x6 : TOTAL=39 (done)

March 11 - 17

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x3 / 3x4 / 3x5 / 2x7 : TOTAL=50 (done)

March 18 - 24

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x4 / 3x5 / 3x6 / 2x9 : TOTAL=63 (done)

March 25 - 31

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x5 / 3x7 / 3x6 / 2x11 : TOTAL=76 (done)

April 1 - 7

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x6 / 3x8 / 3x7 / 2x13 : TOTAL=89 (done)

April 8 - 14

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x7 / 3x9 / 3x7 / 2x15 : TOTAL=99 (done)

April 15 - 21

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x8 / 3x10 / 3x8 / 2x16 : TOTAL=110 (done)

April 22 - 28

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x9 / 2x12 / 3x9 / 2x17 : TOTAL=112

April 29 - May 5

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x10 / 2x14 / 3x9 / 2x19 : TOTAL=123

May 6 - 12

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x11 / 2x15 / 3x11 / 1x22 : TOTAL=118

May 13 - May 19

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x12 / 2x16 / 3x12 / 1x23 : TOTAL=126

May 20 - 26


May 27 - June 2

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x11 / 2x15 / 3x11 / 1x22 : TOTAL=118

June 3 - 9

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 3x12 / 2x16 / 3x12 / 1x23 : TOTAL=126

June 10 - 16

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 4x10 / 2x17 / 3x13 / 1x25 : TOTAL=128

June 17 - 23

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 5x10 / 2x18 / 3x14 / 1x27 : TOTAL=155

June 24 - 30

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 6x10 / bench:2x12@90LBS / 3x14 / 1x27 : TOTAL=153

July 1 - 7

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 6x11 / bench:3x12@90LBS / 3x15 / 1x28 : TOTAL=175

July 8 - 14

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 6x11 / bench:3x12@95LBS / 3x16 / 1x30 : TOTAL=180

July 15 - 21

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 6x12 / bench:3x12@100LBS / 3x16 / 1x31 : TOTAL=187

July 22 - 28

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 6x13 / bench:3x12@105LBS, shpress:2x12@20LBS / 3x15 / 1x32 : TOTAL=215

July 29 - August 4 (Light week)

Chest: M/T/Th/S: REST / bench:3x12@105LBS, shpress:2x12@20LBS / REST / 1x32 : TOTAL=92

August 5 - 11

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 6x12 / bench:3x12@110LBS, shpress:2x12@20LBS / 3x14 / 1x33 : TOTAL=207

August 12 - August 18

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 6x13 / bench:3x13@110LBS, shpress:2x13@20LBS / 3x15 / 1x34 : TOTAL=222

August 19 - 25

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 6x14 / bench:3x14@110LBS, shpress:2x14@20LBS / 3x16 / 1x36 : TOTAL=238

August 26 - September 1

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 5x15 / bench:3x10@115LBS, shpress:3x14@20LBS / 2x25 / 1x37 : TOTAL=234

September 2 - 8

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 5x15 / bench:3x11@115LBS, shpress:3x10@25LBS / 2x26 / 1x38 : TOTAL=228

September 9 - 15

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 5x16 / bench:4x18@90LBS, shpress:3x11@25LBS / 2x27 / 1x39 : TOTAL=278

September 16 - 22

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 4x17 / bench:3x11@115LBS, shpress:3x12@25LBS / 2x28 / 1x40 : TOTAL=233

September 23 - 29

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 4x18 / bench:3x12@115LBS, shpress:3x13@25LBS / 2x30 / 1x41 : TOTAL=248

September 30 - October 6

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 4x30 knee-pushups / bench:3x13@115LBS, shpress:3x10@30LBS / 2x31 / 1x42 : TOTAL=293

October 7 - 13

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 4x32 knee-pushups / bench:3x10@120LBS, shpress:3x11@30LBS / 2x32 / 1x43 : TOTAL=295

October 14 - 20

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 4x35 knee-pushups / bench:3x11@120LBS, shpress:3x11@30LBS / 2x33 / 1x44 : TOTAL=316

October 21 - 27

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 4x35 knee-pushups + 4x60@40LBS / bench:3x11@120LBS, shpress:3x11@30LBS / 2x33 / 1x45 : TOTAL=557

October 28 - November 3

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 4x37 knee-pushups + 4x60@40LBS / bench:3x12@120LBS, shpress:3x12@30LBS / 2x35 / 1x46 : TOTAL=576

November 4 - 10

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 4x39 knee-pushups + 4x100@20LBS / bench:3x13@120LBS, shpress:3x13@30LBS / 2x36 / 1x47 : TOTAL=753

November 11 - 17

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 2x40 knee-pushups + 4x70@40LBS / bench:3x14@120LBS, shpress:3x14@30LBS / 2x37 / 1x48 : TOTAL=566

November 18 - 24

Chest: M/T/Th/S: 2x42 knee-pushups + 4x110@20LBS / bench:3x10@125LBS, shpress:3x15@30LBS / 2x38 / 1x49 : TOTAL=724

November 25 - December 1 (Light week)

Chest: M/T/Th/S: REST / 2x30 / 2x40 / 1x50 : TOTAL=190

This gets me to 50 pushups by my birthday, at which point I can make a schedule for reaching 75 pushups.

June 29, 2006

Houston, we have a problem. I'm no longer actively working towards this goal. This last month I've been feeling less and less healthy. It started with back discomfort, due partly I think to no strengthening my back in balance with my chest, and has been exaserbated by inactivity, bad eating habits, etc. Arg.

I had my chiropractic checkup this week and I'm getting myself determined once again to focus on my back health. Dr. Martin is going to rethink what I should be doing in that regard, and give me some activities more geared towards strengthening as opposed to just stretching. I've told him about my goal to strengthen my chest, so he's aware of the need to balance things out.

I go for my report on July 17th. Where to go from here is to start with a general fitness plan. My body should be adequately fit from head to toe before I embark on making any one part of it stronger. Balance.

May 28, 2006

32 pushups. This has been another rough week -- I hurt my lower back being stupid and I've been held up by it... even putting on my left sock hurts! Another reminder that it pays to be smart, else it's easy to hurt yourself.

As for the pushups, a few observations:

1.I noticed today that if I lay on the ground and put my hands above my head, my right arm lies flat against the ground whereas my left hangs above the ground. Silly left pec.

2.I find it amusing how working on one part of your body quickly cascading to other things: Like I talked about in my previous post, I need to start working on my back strength... which now has me thinking more about posture (walking and sitting) and how I haven't been taking very good care of my back.

3.Just for fun I did some knee pushups today. What a strange feeling! It felt like it was working some different parts than regular pushups.

May 22, 2006

30 pushups. I was at the gym the other day and there was a man in his early-to-mid fiftees that was cranking out pushups on a floor matt. I started counting a short while after he started and watched him do 70 in one set. Now that's what I call impressive!

Last week was rough. I'm not sure what it was, but my body was extremely sluggish and weak. I did give blood the day before I noticed this, but I wouldn't think it would have that kind of effect on me. Anyway, I'm starting to feel better. It was a good test of patience to feel like I was sliding backwards -- the immediate response is to get discouraged and lose your spark, but I was able to take it in stride and trust that things would get back to normal.

The last few sets I've done, I've noticed that it's my abs that give out before my chest does, so I'll need to do some planning this week as to what core exercises I'll do to strengthen my abs and back. I'm cautious about strengthening my chest too much while not training my upper back, because I've heard that's not good... you want your chest and back strength to be in synch. So I'll need to include some additional upper back stuff in my core exercises.

This'll be great because my chiropractor gave me some back and neck exercises last year to work on, and after a couple of months I got lazy and stopped doing them. I'll be sure to include some of them in my work outs.

May 13, 2006

26 pushups. I made it to the gym a few days ago -- it felt great! I started with just the oympic bar (45 lbs) and slowly worked my way up to 105 lbs. I noticed that I was fine unless the bar got too close to my chest. That's when I would get the uncomfortable tension on my left side. So I limited the downward motion to about three inches above my chest and all was good.

I'm starting to realize that the "in under two minutes" part of this challenge may not be a factor after all... the slower you do pushups, the quicker you get tired. The "without stopping" clause, however, will make it a bit harder. Pausing at the top of the motion now and again makes it easier to keep going.

May 4, 2006

22 pushups. I've started to shift my focus away from the barbells and towards doing more pushups. I feel myself plateauing a bit which is ok, since I'm still focused on slowly toning my chest muscles and being ever careful not to stress my left pec. A couple of times this past week I've felt it start to tense up -- watch out. Tonight I went for an energizing jog and did a set right after I got back. I was amazed at how energized I felt as I reached 20 -- the mild cardiovascular activity seems to have gotten my body in an ideal state. My chest muscles felt noticeably more flexible and resiliant.

One of these days I'll have to start heading back to the gym to start bench pressing: That will be the key to increasing my overall strength.

I've also noticed my abdominal muscles start to come more into play as I surpass 20 pushups. Core exercises should help in this area... that reminds me of an interesting fitness game I played with some university friends a few years ago. You grab a deck of cards and take turns flipping them over. The idea is that you do the number of pushups on the card. The next day my pecs felt fine, but my abs were horribly sore -- it goes to show how involved the body's core muscles are involved in pushups.

April 22, 2006

So far so good. My training right now consists primarily of benching two thirty pound bar bells while laying on the ground. I've improved quite a bit this last week. Typically I've been doing my sets right before bed and as soon as I get up in the morning. After most workouts I take 20g of whey protein.

As for actually doing pushups, my plan is to start small and very slowly work my way up. The last time I hurt my left pec was from starting with 10 pushups and increasing one a day until I got to 18, so I'll need to be very careful. I've started again this time with 10, but I've only increased it to 13 at this point.

April 14, 2006

Today is Day 1! The goal is to do 100 pushups in under 2 minutes and without stopping. I'll have to be careful because a year ago while I was at the gym with Marty Barons I pushed myself a bit too hard at the bench press, which led to some kind of scar tissue in my left pec. Ever since then if I'm not careful it starts to hurt quite a bit and swell up. I think the real challenge here isn't going to be doing 100 pushups, it will be doing them in under 2 minutes... it will be like running a 200 meter sprint on my hands!