There are lots of exciting 30-day fitness challenges, including the 100 push-ups a day challenge.
But are there benefits of doing 100 push-ups a day? What are the expected push-up challenge before-and-after results?
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of doing the 100 push-ups a day challenge, tips for how to actually do 100 push-ups a day, and corrections for common push-up form mistakes.
We will cover the following:
- What Is the 100 Push-Ups a Day Challenge?
- Benefits of the 100 Push-Ups a Day Challenge
- Risks of the 100 Push-Ups a Day Challenge
- 100 Push-Ups a Day Results
- Tips for the 100 Push-Ups a Day Challenge
Let’s jump in!
What Is the 100 Push-Ups a Day Challenge?
As the name describes, the 100 Push-ups a Day Challenge involves performing 100 push-ups per day.
The 100 push-ups per day challenge typically lasts 30 days, but some people find that they love how their body feels doing 100 push-ups a day, and the physique changes may encourage them to continue beyond 30 days with no definitive end day in sight.
Benefits of the 100 Push-Ups a Day Challenge
So, why would you want to do this particular challenge? What are the benefits of doing 100 push-ups a day?
The push-up is an excellent bodyweight exercise that can strengthen most of the major muscles in the upper body.
EMG studies that have looked at the muscle activity while performing push-ups have found that push-ups activate the pectoralis major and minor muscles in the chest, the triceps in the upper arms, the anterior deltoid in the shoulder, the core muscles, and the serratus anterior muscle which wraps around the side of the trunk into the back.
Furthermore, push-ups not only strengthen the aforementioned muscles, but research studies have also found that the push-up exercise can be essentially as effective at building muscle as the bench press, particularly for beginners.
Therefore, taking on this challenge is a great way to increase strength, muscle size, and definition in the chest, upper arms, shoulders, upper back, and core muscles.
Risks of the 100 Push-Ups a Day Challenge
It is important to note that while there are benefits to doing 100 push-ups a day or taking on such an aggressive push-up challenge, there can also be risks and drawbacks.
The primary concern with the 100 push-ups a day challenge is overtraining the muscles worked by push-ups, muscle imbalances, significant muscle soreness, also known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and increased risk of injuries
The first three risks of this challenge can be grouped together: overtraining, muscle imbalances, and muscle soreness.
Injuries and overtraining or muscle imbalance can occur because you are overworking or training the muscles worked by push-ups every single day for at least 30 days without giving your body time to rest.
Studies suggest that muscles may need up to 48 hours or so between workouts to fully recover, so if you are doing 100 push-ups every day for 30 days or more, you are not giving your body more than 24 hours of recovery in between each push-up workout.
This can contribute to excessive muscle soreness, incomplete recovery, and the breakdown of the muscle without fully allowing the reparative process of muscle protein synthesis to take place before stressing the muscle again with 100 push-ups the next day.
Fitness challenges inherently encourage avoiding any signals from your body that you need to rest or recover.
Rather than listening to your body and adding variety to your workouts or recovery days if you’re tired when you are taking on most fitness challenges, the challenge involves exercising every day.
In this case, doing 100 push-ups every day may cause incomplete recovery and breakdown in your pectoralis muscles and triceps.
This can actually make these push-ups harder in weeks two and three of the push-up challenge than during the first week simply because your muscles are not getting enough rest.
To this end, the 100 push-ups a day challenge can lead to muscle imbalances depending on the other workouts you are doing.
In terms of injuries, doing 100 push-ups a day can overstress the muscles involved in push-ups, and if incomplete recovery occurs, the muscle tissue can break down, and you can develop strains in the tendons or microscopic tearing in muscles.
Additionally, push-ups can be stressful on your joints, especially your wrists and shoulders. If you are not using proper form, you may also cause excessive torque on your elbows.
In terms of minimizing the risk of wrist discomfort, you can use push-up handles, which allow you to use a neutral grip with your push-ups (palms facing one another).
100 Push-Ups a Day Results
There isn’t data from studies regarding the specific 100 push-ups a day challenge results. However, there are a bunch of anecdotal accounts from individual people who have documented their own personal 100 push-ups a day challenge and before-and-after results.
Most people note changes in overall body composition, including a lower overall body fat percentage and higher lean body mass, which results in better muscle definition in the chest, arms, shoulders, upper back, and core.
Some people also lose weight in addition to losing body fat.
Another frequently-cited 100 push-ups a day result is improved push-up performance and endurance.
For example, some beginners may only be able to do 10 to 15 push-ups in a row to start. This means that they will need to do upwards of 8 to 10 sets of push-ups a day in order to do 100 push-ups per day.
As the 100 push-ups a day challenge progresses and they consistently perform push-ups, they are able to string together longer sets of push-ups without rest, working up to 25 to 30 push-ups or more without stopping.
Advanced athletes may eventually be able to do all 100 push-ups in a row during the 100 push-ups a day challenge.
Tips for the 100 Push-Ups a Day Challenge
Doing 100 push-ups a day, or any push-up challenge for that matter, can be extremely difficult, especially for beginners.
Here are some 100 push-ups a day challenge tips:
#1: Start Small
Start with sets of just 10 push-ups at a time.
Space out your 10 sets throughout the day, possibly setting an alarm to remind you to drop down and bang out a set of 10 push-ups every hour.
As you get stronger, build up to 15 push-ups, then 20 push-ups, then 25 push-ups until you are able to do 100 push-ups a day in just 2 to 4 sets.
#2: Modify Push-Ups
There are no specific rules governing how you have to do the push-ups in the 100 push-ups a day challenge.
Newbies who are interested in doing the 100 push-ups a day challenge for beginners can simply start by doing 100 push-ups a day from their knees or even up against the wall.
After you have completed the entire 30 days of 100 push-ups a day, take a week off and then try progressing to doing push-ups on your feet.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you are an advanced weightlifter, you can make the 100 push-ups a day more challenging by adding difficult progressions of push-ups such as clapping push-ups, decline push-ups, push-ups on an unstable surface such as chaos push-ups, push-ups with a weighted vest, or even one-handed push-ups.
#3: Work On Your Form
If you are going to be doing 100 push-ups a day or any sort of push-up challenge, using proper push-up form and technique is essential to prevent injuries and maximize the benefits of push-ups.
There are several common form mistakes seen with push-ups, including the following:
Sticking your butt too high up in the air rather than in line with your body.
Allowing your butt to sag or your hips to drop rather than being in line with the rest of your body.
Not going deep enough or doing the full range of motion. Bend your elbows to at least 90 degrees.
Allowing your elbows to flare too far out to the side.
Placing your hands in front of your shoulders. Your wrists, elbows, and shoulders should be stacked under one another.
#4: Work Opposing Muscles
Push-ups work the pushing muscles: the chest and triceps.
It is important to include exercises for the antagonist muscles, those involved in the pulling motion such as the latissimus dorsi, biceps, traps, rhomboids, and posterior deltoids, to help balance the strength and hypertrophy gains from constantly doing push-ups.
Interested in tackling a different fitness challenge? Check out our selection of 30-day fitness challenges here. Which one will you try?