By Steve Green STACK.com
Need a challenge for your upper body? Make it a goal to perform 100 consecutive Push-Ups within the next 30 days. That may seem like a lot, but the goal is completely attainable if you follow a training program. It won’t happen overnight, but there are a few things you can do to make progress and eventually reach, and even surpass, your goal.
The first thing you need is an honest assessment. Complete as many consecutive Push-Ups as possible with perfect form. When you do this initial assessment, don’t cheat yourself. As soon as your form breaks down or you are too tired to continue, you will know your exact starting point. In the training that follows, you won’t any fewer than your initial assessment. For example, if your starting max is 25 consecutive Push-Ups, you will always do sets of at least 25 from there on out.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like any other lift, Push-Ups are a skill. The only way to improve a skill is to practice continually. If you’re working toward 100 consecutive Push-Ups, you need to perform multiple sets each day. A good rule of thumb is to do twice the number of Push-Ups today as you did yesterday. Aim for 200 per day, in as many sets as you need. If you start off maxing out at 25, you’ll have to do a minimum of 8 sets of 25 throughout the day. Gradually make progress by adding a few Push-Ups to your first set each time. Eventually you’ll be at 100. The goal should be to do more every day.
Don’t Forget Auxiliary Exercises
While working toward your goal, you may be tempted to focus solely on Push-Ups. But you should not forego other exercises or give up your normal workout plan. Stick to your original plan, but incorporate Push-Ups into it. Developing a strong chest is critical for athletes, so you should perform Bench Presses and Flys. Just because you have a Push-Up goal doesn’t mean other exercises can’t help you along the way.
Accepting the 100 Push-Up challenge adds a ton of extra pressing work. To avoid muscle imbalances on the front and back of your body, you also need to add extra back exercises. You can double up on your back work in your workouts, or you can do a high volume complemtary exercise such as Band Face-Pulls.
Work in Exhaustion Sets
At the end of every week, challenge yourself with exhaustion sets. It is a simple concept: perform sets of Push-Ups until you break form. It shouldn’t surprise you if you do fewer reps each set. On the last day of training each week, do five sets to exhaustion with a minute of rest between sets. As the weeks go by, you should see your total increase until you are ready to try 100 Push-Ups.
Each lifter progresses toward 100 consecutive Push-Ups differently. There is no one-size-fits-all plan that works for everyone, but focusing on a goal and working toward it will prove to you that it’s not as intimidating as it may have seemed when you started.