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30-Day Push-Up Challenge

This Push-Up Challenge Will Make You Insanely Strong in 30 Days

If being able to do 50 push-ups is on your fitness bucket list, it's time to make it happen. Just like the 30-Day Squat Challenge, here's a plan to build your upper body and core strength so that by the end of the 30 days, you'll be able to bust out 50 push-ups.

This challenge involves five push-up variations to not only prevent boredom and overuse injuries but to also help sculpt other areas of the body. Here are instructions for the five different variations, followed by a 30-day plan to get you all the way to 50.

Number 1: Basic Push-Up

  • Come into plank position with your arms and legs straight, shoulders above the wrists.
  • Take a breath in, and as you exhale, bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your chest toward the ground. Stop as soon as your shoulders are in line with your elbows. Inhale to straighten the arms. This counts as one rep.
  • If this is too difficult, do this exercise with your knees on the floor.

Number 2: One-Legged Push-Up (Left Leg)

  • Begin in plank position.
  • Extend your left leg straight behind you so it's parallel with the floor. Engage your abs, and try to keep your left heel in line with your hips.
  • With your left leg extended and your right toes on the floor, exhale to bend the elbows, lowering into a push-up. Inhale to straighten your arms.
  • This counts as one rep.
  • If this is too difficult, the photo above shows how to do this push-up variation with your right knee resting on the floor.

Number 3: One-Legged Push-Up (Right Leg)

  • Now switch sides. From plank position, extend your right leg straight behind you so it's parallel with the floor. Engage your abs, and try to keep your right heel in line with your hips.
  • With your right leg extended and your left toes on the floor, exhale to bend the elbows, lowering into a push-up. Inhale to straighten your arms.
  • This counts as one rep. As mentioned above, if this is too difficult, rest your left knee on the floor.

Number 4: T Push-Up

  • Begin in plank position.
  • Take a breath in, and then exhale to bend your elbows, lowering into a push-up.
  • Inhale to straighten your arms, and at the top of your push-up, lift your left arm straight up overhead, rotating your torso to stack your shoulders, and turn your heels to the right, making a T-shape with your body.
  • Exhale to place your left palm back on the ground and lower into a push-up.
  • Inhale to straighten your arms and lift your right arm up overhead, rotating your torso and turning heels to the left.
  • Exhale to place your right hand back on the ground.
  • Doing a T push-up on both sides counts as one rep.

Number 5: Diamond Push-Up

  • Begin in plank position. Place your hands together, directly under your sternum, with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs touching. Your fingers and thumbs should form a diamond or triangle shape.
  • After an inhale, exhale to bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the floor.
  • Inhale to straighten the arms.
  • This counts as one rep.
  • If this is too difficult, try separating your hands a couple inches or widening your feet slightly. Still too hard? Then lower the knees to the ground.

The Plan

Instead of rolling out 50 regular push-ups in a row, you'll work up to doing 10 reps of each. This plan gives your upper body a day of rest every two days, but feel free to strength train other areas of the body on those rest days.

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If you're new to the push-up scene, it's OK to perform these push-ups with your knees resting on the floor if straight legs is too difficult. But keep in mind that unless you practice doing push-ups on your toes with your legs straight, you'll never be able to do them. So do as many reps as you can with proper form with your knees lifted, and lower them when your arms start to fatigue. It's also OK to rest your arms if you need to (in ChIld's Pose or Seated Heart Opener), but as the plan progresses and you build strength and endurance, spend less time on your knees and resting, and more time rocking these push-up variations.

Day of Month Exercise Total Push-Ups
Day 1 1 rep of each 5
Day 2 1 rep of each, repeat 2x 10
Day 3 Rest 0
Day 4 2 reps of each 10
Day 5 1 rep of each, repeat 3x 15
Day 6 Rest 0
Day 7 2 reps of each, repeat 2x 20
Day 8 3 reps of each 15
Day 9 Rest 0
Day 10 2 reps of each, repeat 3x 30
Day 11 4 reps of each 20
Day 12 Rest 0
Day 13 3 reps of each, repeat 2x 30
Day 14 4 reps of each 20
Day 15 Rest 0
Day 16 5 reps of each 25
Day 17 6 reps of each 30
Day 18 Rest 0
Day 19 4 reps of each, repeat 2x 40
Day 20 6 reps of each 30
Day 21 Rest 0
Day 22 7 reps of each 35
Day 23 8 reps of each 40
Day 24 Rest 0
Day 25 8 reps of each 40
Day 26 9 reps of each 45
Day 27 Rest 0
Day 28 9 reps of each 45
Day 29 5 reps of each, repeat 2x 50
Day 30 10 reps of each 50
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
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