I chose to follow this program following positive results from 7 weeks to 50 pullups, which took me from 12 to 25 pull ups. The similarly named 7 weeks to 100 pushups also shares a lot of the same structure and layout.
So as to cater to all ability levels, there are actually six different programs. The entry requirement for the Beginner 1 plan is as little as one pushup, while the Advanced 2 plan requires at least 26 pushups.
- 1-3 reps: Beginner 1 plan
- 4-6 reps: Beginner 2 plan
- 7-12 reps: Intermediate 1 plan
- 13-20 reps: Intermediate 2 plan
- 21-25 reps: Advanced 1 plan
- 26+ reps: Advanced 2 plan
To find out which program you qualify for, simply take the initial test. I created a spreadsheet that details all six programs, as well as other supporting information.
Before performing the initial pushup test, first complete the warm up. I created videos of both that and the cool down protocol, mainly for my own benefit, but you may find it useful to follow along.
Having completed sets of 15-20 pushups as part of circuit training, I was confident I could qualify for the Advanced 2 Plan. Following a metronome* of 50 beats per minute I completed 29 pushups.
*In a Huberman Lab podcast with Andy Galpin, it was mentioned that muscular endurance tests should be conducted with a set tempo and no breaks
Advanced 2 Plan
The full program is visible below. If you want to see the exact sets and reps I managed then please visit my pushup training log. Here are the main points:
- There are three sessions each week with a full day of rest e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday
- Each session starts with the same warm up and ends with the same cool down
- The rest period between sets is at least 60 seconds (I found 2 1/2 minutes was best)
- The final set is always to failure. The number represents the target reps but the goal is to keep going until your form starts to break down. For example, where it says 19+ you should aim to do at least 19 pushups but ideally more.
In the first three weeks I used only 90 seconds rest which meant my final sets were under 30 reps. I was also doing some other upper body exercises like incline dumbbell press in a separate workout.
From week 4 the reps were more challenging and I extended the rest period and stopped all other upper body pushing exercises. I started failing to achieve the target reps in the final set and needed multiple attempts to reach the target.
The volume in week 7 was too much for me and I felt fatigued the whole time. I also had intense tightness across my bicep and traps which required additional stretching.
The final session was on a Tuesday and I took four full days rest before retesting on the Sunday. For consistency I tested at the same time of day and using the same metronome of 50 bpm, completing 58 pushups.
I was impressed with the results, especially since I wasn’t following the program in an optimal way. If I was to go through it again I would start with 2.5 minutes rest between sets and drop all other upper body exercises. The metronome was useful to stop me overthinking whether my pace was optimal and avoid rushing the early stages. I would suggest using a metronome even if you don’t follow it strictly in all sets.
I gained 2.3kg (1.7kg muscle) during this program, but the majority of that was likely due to my lower body training. I did find the mind-muscle connection to my chest was improved but I didn’t notice any other visible gains. Additionally, I tested my 1 rep max in bench press before and after and it remained the same at 110kg.
Can I do 100 pushups? No. Will this program deliver 100 pushups eventually? I have no doubt it will. I would imagine a 2-3 week break to maintain my current gains and then restarting the Advanced 2 plan will deliver the 100 total reps.
If you are keen to try out this program for yourself, I would suggest reading through the spreadsheet I made.