- March 12, 2023 at 10:55 am #12488
Following what I felt was a successful 7 weeks to 50 pull ups, I wanted to try a similarly named program aimed at push ups.
I also wanted to open it up so others can complete the challenge themselves. I wrote everything up in a spreadsheet and the introductory video can be found below.
Initial Test – 29 Push Ups
The subject of tempo came up a few times while I was reading and I decided to remove all uncertainty and literally use a metronome to pace my push ups. I chose 50 bpm, which strikes a balance between being too slow early on and not leaving me enough time when I’m fatigued. I only needed 26 to qualify for the highest level program and I actually lost count very early on and hoped what I was dong was enough.
It’s likely that the best results will be from exclusively doing push ups but I’ll be doing other upper body training as part of my sprint training at the same time. To best align the two types of training I’ll be putting push ups on my conditioning days, starting Friday 17th March. That means my final session will be 3rd May and allowing for a decent amount of rest I can re-test in the week commencing 8th May.March 21, 2023 at 9:11 pm #12520
Weight – 69.1kg, 16% body fat
Measurements: Bicep tensed (36cm), Chest (101cm), Waist (79cm)
Bench Press – 1 x 90,95,100,105,110kg
Very close to failing 110kg, it was a real grind. Only ever been consistently able to 1RM 115kg so pleased to have most of that strength despite not fully focusing on bench press this year.
Push ups – 13,15,10,10,22
Tougher than I thought it would be, and I can imagine finishing every workout with a set to failure will mean recovery is hard to come by.
Push ups – 13,15,11,11,20
Fully expecting a lower final set here given the muscle soreness. It doesn’t help that I’m doing a pretty intense opening week of sprint training but once I get through this week and rest I should be fine.
Push ups – 14,16,12,12,19
Only a little tired here. I had hoped to have a little more breathing room between the minimum reps in the final set, which in this case was 16, and my total. The end of week two involves a minimum target of 20 reps so I’m already a bit apprehensive. Hopefully a few days rest will do me good.March 28, 2023 at 7:00 pm #12522
Push ups – 12,15,12,12,22
I had a poor night of sleep but physically was feeling quite fresh. I’m not concerned that my final set hasn’t progressed from 22 as I can tell that the first 4 sets produce quite a bit of fatigue.
Push ups – 14,17,13,13,22
I strained my neck on the evening of the 24th doing overhead press so this was very uncomfortable to complete.
Push ups – 16,19,14,14,21
I only just squeezed past the target 20 reps. I have two tricks up my sleeve, longer rest and palmer cooling.
For the first six sessions I’ve used 75 seconds rest between sets, with a slightly longer 90 seconds before the final set. Even extending this out by 15-30 seconds will make enough of a difference that I should get through week 3.
Palmer cooling is a concept I picked up from the Andrew Huberman podcast, and it’s ideal for muscular endurance. The main reason our bodies fail at high rep is due to local overheating of the specific muscles used for the exercise. A solution is to cool the body via the palms of the hands (or soles of the feet if you wish), which has been shown to make very significant improvements to fatigue management in repeat sets. I don’t want to deploy this until a) I really need to and b) I’m confident that I can gauge how many reps my body can do without the cooling, so I can assess the effectiveness of cooling my palms.April 6, 2023 at 7:35 pm #12525
Push ups – 12,15,10,10,27
Having spent the first two weeks at 75 seconds rest and 90 seconds before the final set, I’m now using 90 seconds rest and 2 minutes for the final set. That was probably the main factor in my final setting extending out to 27.
Push ups – 14,17,12,12,28
Rather than feeling less fatigued at e.g. rep number 12, I just seem to be able to extend the number of reps I can do with tired arms. It’s nice to get higher numbers but it doesn’t help with confidence to still feel shaky by the 15th rep – especially with a lofty goal of 100 pushups. This workout immediately preceded a longer conditioning session so there was no specific cool down straight after.
Push ups – 16,20,14,14,26
Looking ahead, in particular to week 4 day 5 (23,27,21,21,30+) I don’t feel I can achieve that right now. I’m going to implement palmer cooling with a portable fan, as well as possibly extending the rest out further by 15-30 seconds. I want to try just the palmer cooling so I know how much of my improvements can be attributed to just that.April 13, 2023 at 7:53 pm #12548
Push ups – 15,19,15,15,24
I tried “palmer cooling” but if anything felt worse. I may have made my hands too cold, and on top of that I had to hold them still for the 90 seconds rest whereas getting the blood flowing and shaking the arms out tends to help recovery between sets.
Push ups – 21,23,16,16,22+4
I moved the tempo from 50bpm to 52bpm, though the former was still training time under tension so has still been helpful up to this point. I should note that I was tired before I started. Again palmer cooling and feeling worse than I otherwise would, only able to hit 22 of the required 26 pushups before taking a 15 second rest and finishing the set.
Push ups – 23,27,21,21,26+4
I pushed my rest out to 2 mins between sets and 3 mins before the final set and scrapped the palmer cooling (for now). I felt better here and in sets 1-4 I could have gone on to 30 reps, but the cumulative fatigue meant I struggled in the final set. I could potentially keep increasing the rest periods but I feel some of the training effect comes from submaximal recovery if the goal is 100 consecutive reps.
The next two weeks includes an extension to 7 sets on some days, but otherwise (excluding the final set) the max reps I’ll be asked to do is 28 so it’s not hugely intimidating. When following the pull up version of this program I found the final set to also be unachievable, as those numbers are ramping up by 2-4 reps every session which would be crazy progress.
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