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Jul 28, 2008

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One Hundred Push Ups

It has been three weeks since I started the one hundred push ups training program, which is the halfway point. Here's an update on my progress and what I think so far.

Strength Check

Before beginning week three, I did as the site advised and peformed an exhaustion test — essentially a repeat of the initial test where you do as many push ups as possible before you can't do another rep.

I maxed out at a measly 14.

I was disappointed to have not progressed further. But, it was five more than my initial nine. Plus, I've been seeing a personal trainer for the past month and my muscles are generally taxed period.

Week Two Revisited

Unfortunately, the 14 count meant that I had to repeat the week two regimen for my actual week three. This time, though, I followed the maximum rep schedule (column three).

Now, having completed my third week, I am maxing out at 16 reps, which qualifies me to move on to the week three regimen next week (my actual week four). I'll be following the lowest repetition schedule (column one).

Thoughts on the Program

Regardless of my slower–than–I–would–prefer progress, I like this program. As I originally said, it is simple and requires nothing except a time commitment (aided by reminders I set up in my Google calendar).

Wrist Strain

Since starting, though, I've been feeling some strain in my wrists. I even had my chiropractor adjust both of them twice, which didn't seem to help.

Then Gryffyn commented about using barbells, so I gave that a shot. It actually helped with the wrist strain, but the pressure on my hands was uncomfortable and the form was slightly awkward. Still, with what appears to be reduced wrist strain, I'm not ready to give up on this approach quite yet.

In the same comment thread, Ian posted that he used Perfect Pushups. I, personally, can't speak to these, but the site says they help reduce joint strain. So, I may buy some of these if the wrist strain gets worse and/or I don't acclimate to the barbells.

Back Strain

I have had chronic lower back problems for years and with this program I occasionally feel some strain in my lower back. Most of the time, this just means focusing more on my form and keeping my core muscles engaged during the push ups.

I also find that following each set of push ups with back stretches on my exercise ball helps.

Two Thumbs Up

Other than those minor issues, I recommend this program. It is working. I can feel the muscle development and the increase in reps shows my increased muscle endurance.

I'm not entirely confident I'll actually get to 100 in six weeks, but I will get to 100 at some point. That is good enough for me.

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Share the Love

Gryffyn's Gravatar

Gryffyn opines:


Great work, Emily!  I’m pretty sure when I originally started working out, my pushups started in the teens.  I think I have some residual muscles from back then, still lingering.

re: Barbells - if they’re uncomfortable to you, then the Perfect Pushup is going to be as well.  Barbells don’t rotate automatically, but you can use them at any angle you find ergonomic.  A 45 degree angle may be right for no forearm twisting (give or take), as opposed to being parallel with your body.

re: Back muscles - Remember that nearly ever movement your body makes ends up involving your back at some point.  It’s a spider web of many muscle groups.  Strengthen your back muscles and other exercise may become easier.  Conversely, doing random other exercises, like pushups, may help strengthen your back muscles.

re: Pushups - I know you’re working on this program, but if you want to change things up a little, see how it affects your pushups to have your hands closer to your body or further away.  You work slightly different muscles.  You might find it easier in different positions.

Also, don’t be too discouraged by slow progress.  Everyone’s body is wired differently for muscle building.  You’ll get it eventually, no doubt. But genetics can be a bitch sometimes.  You’re making good progress, though, so I’m thinking your genes are just fine.

DJ's Gravatar

DJ opines:


Way to stick to the program!  I can’t ever do something on my own like that.

Emily's Gravatar

Emily responds:


Thanks guys!

And I’m pleased to report that at the end of this week, I had hit 20 reps. So, I made some decent progress this past week (added four more reps to my max count) ... at least compared to previous weeks.

Not to mention, my back was pretty fucked up all week. Which could be why I was able to do more reps, because I didn’t see my trainer at all so I didn’t have any sore muscles.

Greg's Gravatar

Greg opines:


So far I know of 3 NM Bloggers that are doing the 100 Push Ups Challenge.

My progress is here. http://www.fivezerofive.com/main/index.php?itemid=1461

Laura Brandon is also doing the challenge I believe http://www.thepursuitofhealthyness.com/

I’m still stuck on getting started with week 5 due to my hectic schedule, lack of sleep, and just plain being tired from running and biking.

Emily's Gravatar

Emily responds:


@Greg - Thanks for those links. Nice to see some other local folks doing the program. I, personally, am really enjoying it.

I did an exhaustion test this past Sunday, and hit 33. Super psyched about that.

I’m now on week five, and I have a suspicion I’ll have to repeat it.

But it is working, so I’m happy regardless of how long it takes me to get to the final goal.

Good luck on your efforts!

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Emily Lewis

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I'm a freelance web designer of the standardista variety, which means I get excited about things like valid POSH, microformats and accessibility. I ply my trade from my one-person design studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106 USA.

A Blog Not Limited is my personal blog where I pontificate about web design, web standards, semantics and whatever else strikes my fancy. Head on over to Emily Lewis Design if you'd like to see my work or, even better, hire me.


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