Thursday, May 26, 2011

100 pushup challenge

As part of my Summer Fitness Goals (original post here), I want to do a modified 100 push-up challenge so I can work on my 'guns'!

Just kidding. Pushups are really great full body exercises, strengthening the arms, chest, back, and abs. I really don't know why I want to be able to do 100 of them, but it seems like a challenging goal. Actually, a few weeks ago in (this) Bodyrock workout, I did about 80 pushups, only 10 on my knees. I think I'm really close, but I definitely have to work to achieve this goal.

I noted in the original fitness goal post that this will be a modified challenge. I will not even be trying to do 100 pushups in a row, and I feel that I should tell you why. I have had two cycling accidents while living in Iowa.
The first one occurred 4 years ago, and it was really stupid and completely my fault. I was biking the 0.25 miles from my apartment to the pool (why I didn't just walk, I am still lamenting!) and my shoulder bag fell into the spokes on the front of my bike. I went over the handlebars and tore up the ligament that connects my clavicle to my shoulder blade. It healed pretty quickly in terms of daily activities, but anything where I bear my bodyweight on my shoulders (i.e. pushups, dips) feels weird like it could tear anytime.

A year later, I was biking to work at 8:30 in the morning. I had recently moved across town and was excited to live on a bike trail that took me directly to work. That trail intersected roads several times along the route, and at one particular crossing, a woman stopped at a red light, looked right at me, and turned right on the red light directly into my bike. I flew into the crossing and landed on my head and my right shoulder - the same one that had suffered from the previous fall. I was lucky in that I must have instinctively braced myself for the fall, because the next day revealed how sore the muscles in my arms were. I was back to square 1 on pushups, and I was just recently able to do a dip without feeling like I am going to tear my clavicle out of my body - my first one in 4 years!

I feel lucky that I can even do pushups and dips and that I didn't damage myself to the point of losing my active lifestyle, but I can't put too much pressure on my shoulders. I don't believe it would be smart for me to try to stay in the pushup position for 100 reps. Some day I will be able to do it, but I have to work with what I can do right now.

This is my plan for the 100 pushup challenge. Feel free to follow along OR modify it to make your own goal.

1) 1 day per week will be devoted to the 100 pushup challenge. This doesn't mean that I will only do pushups 1x per week, but it leaves me the freedom to swim, do yoga, Group Power (like Body Pump), or Bodyrock on other days.

2) I will do the pushups in reps of 10, it will be like an extended burpee or squat thrust. I will go down on the ground, do 10 pushups, jump my legs in, and jump up. Repeat.

3) When I can no longer do my push-ups on my toes, I'll drop to my knees and continue.

4) Every week, I'll report the toe-pushups and the knee-pushups. I hope to improve the ratio to the point where I'm doing my pushups on my toes every week.

5) God forbid this becomes to easy, I will move to reps of 20, and so on.

All right, I know you can't resist....who wants to do the 100 pushup challenge with me?


  1. Woah, that's some intense accidents there! I'm glad that you're okay and that you can still do push-ups :)

    Just curious... for a broken collar bone, would they put that in a cast? Or would they just try and keep your arm secure?

  2. I think they just try to keep it stable...I was in a sling for a while for the ligaments to heal back together, but it didn't set completely correctly. One of my students actually had a similar accident a year later and he reports that the same sensations (i.e. feeling like your collarbone is going to pop out of your skin/body) and the same misalignment when it heals.

  3. dude. I had no idea you had shoulder injuries. me too! only mine isn't nearly as BA. i separated my shoulder. playing no-contact flag football. competitive much? it was 3 and a half years ago, and I have avoided push ups like the plague. you are inspiring me to build my shoulder strength back up so I can try this challenge!