Let me start by saying this is a tough post to write. Ideally this blog post will be:
â€¢ Answer tons of questions
â€¢ Make perfect sense regardless of your skill/fitness level
â€¢ Adequately prepare you for the next 28 days of pushups.
Please read the entire post before starting anything.
A Word of Caution
The goal of this challenge is fitness, not injury. You need to listen to your body. Pain (usually sharp) is your body telling you something is wrong; itâ€™s a warning signal. Stiffness and pain are different incidentally. Youâ€™ll probably have stiffness.
We would encourage you at no point should you go to total, complete exhaustion. If 100% is complete exhaustion, try to stop at around 75-85%. How do you know where that is? Frankly thatâ€™s hard to say, and it varies for each person. Listen to your body. Pushing yourself is good, doing pushups when youâ€™re tired is good, but knowing when to take a break is critical.
Anything I should know before starting?
Most fitness professionals will encourage you to warm up. A quick Google search on â€œhow to warm up exerciseâ€ will provide a plethora of information. As Maxwells, we donâ€™t do a lot of stretching because there is increasing evidence that static stretching causes problems. But, to warm your muscles up for 3-5 minutes or so is a good thing.
Step 1- Where are you at?
Letâ€™s find a starting point. How many pushups can you do unbroken? Unbroken? Meaning, without having to take a break. I just hit the floor and tested mine, 31. My face is flushed, and Iâ€™m breathing heavier than I was a few minutes ago. To restate from a previous post, this is not a competition; itâ€™s fine wherever youâ€™re at. Melanieâ€™s is 16 (beginner type). Please comment on this blog post with your first name, last name initial, and your number of unbroken pushups. It would be great if families posted together in the same comment.
Step 2 â€“ Start at the correct level.
We have attempted to put forth three levels that take into account where you are at and build from there. Will everyone fit into one of these perfectly? No. More on that below. This table provides suggestions on when/how to increase. You do pushups each day, for Levels 2 and 3, the number increases daily. For Level 1, it increases every other day. If in doubt, choose Level 1.
|Column 2||Column 3||Column 4||Column 5|
|Initial Unbroken||Feb 1 Starting Number||Days to Increment||IncrementÂ by Number|
Let’s look at the above table closer. Column 2 helps you place yourself in a Level. Column 3 shows how many pushups we suggest you begin with on February 1. Column 4 shows when you increase your pushups â€“ Level 1 every other day, Levels 2 and 3 every day. The final column shows how many pushups we are suggesting you increase by.
Any caveats on the schedule?
Yes, Sundays. We Maxwells have made a decision to set Sunday apart. Part of that involves not exercising on Sundays. For this pushup challenge, we don’t count Sunday as a day. Numbers don’t go up, and no pushups are done.
Level 1 What if Level 1 looks too hard? Or, what if I can’t do a normal pushup?
Use what we will call beginner pushups. If you have trouble doing regular pushups, why don’t you pushup, pivoting at the knee instead? My wife Melanie will be doing beginner pushups. If you start the month doing beginner pushups, I’d suggest you stay with that movement through the duration of the month. To change styles mid-way will make progress hard to measure. Instead, wait till the end of the month, and then see how many regular pushups you can do. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Level 3 What if it looks too easy for me?
Great!! Let’s figure out how to make it more challenging. You can do what I do, and briefly bring your hands off the floor. Here’s how that works, start at the top of a pushup, drop down to the bottom. While body is against floor, briefly pull hands off floor, hands back on floor, and push back to the top.
Or, why not insert some clapping pushups? Maybe make your first 5-10 clapping. Or, make every other pushup clapping.
What if I can’t do all the pushups at once? Can I take breaks?
Sure. That’s a good idea. The goal of this is to build strength. That means your arms need to be tired. If you have to do 20 pushups, and it takes you 30 minutes, you’re either doing too many or stretching things out to far. You can break things up in a way that works for you. Here are a few suggestions. Divide your total number for the day by 2, 3 or 4, and take a 15-30 second break between sets. For example, you are planning to do 24 pushups and want to break them into three sets. You’d do 8 pushups, rest 15-30 seconds, do 8 pushups, rest again, and then the final 8. Or, try to complete 30-50% unbroken, and break the remaining up into 2-4 sets.
By month end will I be able to do (Level 1 – 15, Level 2 â€“ 28, Level 3 – 56) unbroken pushups?
Maybe not. The goal is for the numbers to increase quicker than your unbroken number does. As your quantity keeps going up, hopefully your unbroken count will trail it, but it won’t keep up.
Also, as an aside, those that consider themselves fit will see less progress. Hopefully you’ll still see progress, but muscles that are already strengthened build slower, it’s just the way it is.
What is proper form?
Here’s what we suggest. Body stays straight, bottom of the pushup has the chest and waist touching, or almost touching, the floor. Top is arms locked out/straight. Here are some pictures to demonstrate. If you want to do them differently, that is fine.
Continue reading to the bottom.
Where do we go from here?
To restate, please respond to this post with your first name, last initial, and quantity unbroken right away. Please one post per family listing all who are participating. Beyond that, weâ€™ll put a post up on Feb 10th asking for some information as to where youâ€™re at. That post will have all the needed details. We begin on February 1st.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Godâ€™s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20