The “100 pushups a day” challenge has been published on social media in recent years. But is it really such a good idea? Will you see improvements in your muscle growth and strength, or will you get injured?

 

Today Annabel and the teams at Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwickPymbleBalmainNeutral Bay, Coburg – Melbourne, and Barrie, Ontario – Canada will discuss the positive and negative consequences of this challenge.

Pushups are one of the most effective exercises to increase strength and build up upper body muscles like the chest, shoulders, and triceps. When done with proper form, they can also strengthen the lower back and core by engaging (pulling in) the abdominal muscles. Before you begin this challenge, though, to maximize your gains and minimize injury from doing 100 pushups a day, it’s important to make sure you do them with proper form. Doing 100 push ups per day for 30 days is the same logic that drives someone to avoid diets for years, only to suddenly decide that they are going to completely cut out an entire food group. It’s simpler and it seems like it “can’t fail.”

 

“Before you begin this challenge, though, to maximise your gains and minimize injury from doing 100 pushups a day, it’s important to make sure you do them with proper form”

 

Completing only push ups in your exercise routine, does not offer a complete, well-rounded training. This type of training won’t offer much for your legs, it doesn’t provide any strength gains in the transverse (rotational) plane, and there are no pulling movements. Additionally, using only a portion of your own bodyweight as stimulus, you won’t be able to trigger significant muscle damage or neural drive. There are caveats to this though. Performing hundreds of push ups tends to invite bad form. If you are performing push ups with a sagging waist and retracted shoulder blades, then you are seriously minimising the potential benefits and may even be doing harm. Likewise, if you use a truncated range of motion or a bouncing movement… that isn’t good!

 

 

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology show that normal values for males that rank “fair” in their physical fitness can average 15 – 20 push ups in a row which is quite a fair way off the 100 mark. In the first few days or weeks of this challenge, it may even seem that you are not able to do 100 push ups due to a lack of strength in the muscle groups required. Neural adaptations can assist the body as they will kick in eventually to increase strength over time. This is when over time our brain will have improved its ability to recruit the right muscles required in the push up movement and your push-up strength should improve quite rapidly.

 

“Neural adaptions can assist the body as they will kick in eventually to increase strength over time.”

 

In addition, the most noticeable effect you’ll experience in week 1 is DOMS, which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This refers to the tenderness and soreness you’ll experience in your muscles 1-2 days after exercise. Since in this case your body isn’t used to doing 100 pushups a day, week 1 is when you’ll experience the highest amount of soreness in your chest, shoulders, and arms. This is normal and should ease down towards the end of week 1. However, if you’re feeling it in your traps and low back, that’s a sign that your form may be off.

 

 

Over the course of the 8 weeks or 100 days of this challenges, the studies have shown that participants experienced chest and triceps muscle growth. Chest growth increased by 18.3% in the muscle thickness, equating to about a 3 mm increase in thickness. The participant’s triceps also grew by 9.5%, equating to about a 3 mm increase in thickness. Although there are some improvements in muscular growth of the chest and triceps, completing 100 push ups a day for 30 days without rest is not recommended. It just causes too many recovery issues and lacks the progression you need to continue seeing results past 30 days. One benefit it does provide, however, is it gets you in the habit of exercising. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door and build momentum. That said, this routine can made far better.

 

“It causes too many recovery issues and lacks the progression you need to continue seeing results past 30 days.”

 

If you want to take part in a challenge like this, it is important to see a health professional who will ensure you have proper form to prevent injury.

If this sounds like you, give Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwickPymbleBalmainNeutral Bay, Coburg – Melbourne, and Barrie, Ontario – Canada a call on 1300 964 002 today!

 

Written by Annabel Bergman

 

References:

Ethier, J., 2022. What happens if you do 100 pushups a day for 30 days? (is it truly worth your time?). Built with Science. Available at: https://builtwithscience.com/workouts/100-pushups-a-day-for-30-days-results/ [Accessed September 21, 2022].
Madbarz, What happens if you do a 100 push ups every day. Madbarz. Available at: https://www.madbarz.com/blog/162-what-happens-if-you-do-a-100-push-ups-every-d [Accessed September 21, 2022].
Chertoff, J., 2020. Should you do pushups every day? Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/pushups-everyday [Accessed September 21, 2022].