Push-ups are freaking hard for me. I've been doing CrossFit for over a year and still, when there are push-ups in the WOD (workout of the day), I really struggle. One message I get from my coaches is that if something is hard for you, it means you need to work on it more. I took that advice to heart.
I committed to doing 50 push-ups a day for two weeks. I was both excited and nervous to start this challenge. Doing 50 push-ups seemed so daunting, so I made some rules:
- Do all 50 at once. I could break them up into sets, or do them one at a time, but I had to do all 50 as quick as possible (in CrossFit we just call this AQAP).
- Do them with straight legs. I knew if I wanted to strengthen my upper body and core enough to do push-ups this way, I had to do push-ups without my knees on the floor. I did as many as I could parallel to the floor, then when my upper body got tired, I elevated my hands on a bench, stair, or balancing between two chairs or yoga blocks.
If you do a daily push-up challenge like this, here are some thing to keep in mind:
You'll Be Insanely Sore at First
Holy crap was I sore after that first day! I wasn't sure I'd even be able to do 50 that second day. Just be prepared to not be able to take your sports bra off without any help. Know that the soreness goes away and only lasts the first few days.
It'll Get Easier!
I could barely do 10 push-ups at once, but after a few days, I was able to do 11, then 12. Every day, I felt a little stronger, not just in my shoulders and upper back, but in my core as well. This strength carried through to other areas of my life — in my workouts, with my family, and with work. I saw everyday challenges in a different way, as something that I could get through with persistence and determination.
So although doing 50 push-ups may feel fricking hard, it won't feel like that for long. Don't get me wrong. I still can't whip through 50 reps without stopping, but I have to stop and take breaks less often than on that first day, and I say that's a BIG win.
I Stopped Hating Push-Ups
I sucked at push-ups, so I rolled my eyes any time I had to do them at CrossFit. But just like when I challenged myself to do 100 burpees for two weeks, getting better at push-ups made me hate them less. I was shocked — I actually started liking them! Every day, I'd be psyched to see how fast I could whip through 50.
It Was the Last Thing on My Mind
I can't tell you how many times I'd turn off the lights, pull the covers over my head, close my eyes, and then pop my eyes open in a panic, and think, "Sh*t! I forgot to do my push-ups!" I learned after the fifth day of forgetting to make a point to do them right when I came home from my morning workout. While the kids ate their breakfast, I'd have them count for me. It was super motivating! So if you sign yourself up for this push-up challenge, you might want to set a reminder on your phone or designate a specific time, like before you get in the shower, to get them done.
In my daily calendar, I wrote down the time it took me to get through 50 push-ups. The first day, it took me five minutes. Then, as the days progressed, I shaved seconds off my time — I was so proud! Keeping track gave me something tangible to work toward; more than just completing the challenge, it gave me a way to improve every day.
Get Ready For Some Major Motivation
This challenge has totally fired me up not only for push-ups (I'll definitely try to keep this up so I don't lose my strength), but for other exercises that are challenging for me like pull-ups and handstand holds. If you're excited to get stronger, physically and mentally, here are some other daily challenges you can try:
- 4-Week Burpee Challenge
- Daily Plank Challenge
- Daily Burpee Challenge
- 2-Week Crunch Challenge
- 30-Day Squat Challenge
- 21-Day Arm Challenge
- 30-Day Six-Pack Abs Challenge
- 2-Week Plank Challenge
- 4-Week Bodyweight Workout Challenge