Push ups are often portrayed as the ultimate test of upper body strength and are used in sports such as American Football for just that reason. They are also used by the Armed Forces, and the Emergency services as a true test of fitness.
However, most members of the general public would struggle to manage a single push up! Let alone managing to perform 10 or 20 push ups in a row. The purpose of the 30 Day Challenge Push Ups is to change this situation and get you to outperform 90% of the population.
What is the Push Ups 30 Day Challenge?
The 30 Day Challenge Push Ups is a program that is designed to help you conquer push-ups for good. Push ups can be incredibly hard at first, but with a little practice, you can build up your strength and muscular endurance. Helping you to perform 10, 20, or even 50 reps in a row. The current World record is 10,507 push ups in a row, but 50 seems like a more reasonable target!
No matter what your current fitness levels are, you can certainly expect to experience some benefits from participating in this challenge. In 30 days, you should expect to have established a simple exercise habit. Spending 5-10 minutes per day working on your upper body strength and endurance is a wonderful habit to establish, and once the 30 days are up, you could expand on that.
Both men and women can benefit from this challenge, as can older and younger generations. Hitting your first 10 push ups in a row is a wonderful experience and progressing from there is hugely satisfying.
Benefits of Push Ups
The main benefits of performing push ups is to increase strength and muscular endurance in your chest, shoulders, and triceps. For beginners, you can expect to see big gains in strength, and increases in size (called hypertrophy).
Once you have mastered the perfect push up, you can progress them, learning plyometric push ups, weighted push ups, or even single arm push ups.
There are other benefits to performing push ups, you will see improvements in your bench press (particularly if you are new to lifting). You may also see improvements in your shoulder press, and in tricep exercises such as the tricep pushdown or skull-crushers.
How to Perform the Perfect Push Up
If you are not currently strong or mobile enough to perform a full push up, then don’t worry. The next section will teach you some alternative push up exercises. But if you believe that you can perform a good push up, then just make sure that your push up meets the following criteria:
- Hips are flat throughout
- Chest almost touches the ground
- Performed slowly and with control throughout
- Elbows are at a 45 degree angle to your sides (rather than 90 degree angle)
If you are performing your push ups and all four of the above criteria are met, then you are almost certainly performing a perfect push up.
Here is a how-to guide:
Place both hands flat on the ground with palms spread and your thumbs around shoulder width apart. Push your chest out and bring your shoulders back so that you have a nice straight back. Raise your hips so that they aren’t sagging, but don’t raise them too high.
Ideally, you want a nice straight line from your shoulders down to your heels. Speaking of which, you can either have your heels together or slightly apart, whichever you prefer. This is your starting position.
Initiate the push up by lowering your chest towards the ground, as you do so, ensure that your elbows are at a 45 degree angle from your sides. You don’t want them brushing your sides as you go down (that would be a close-grip push up), but what you want to avoid is having your elbows out wide at a 90 degree angle. This is a common mistake and puts unnecessary strain on your shoulders.
Once your chest is as low as it can be without touching the ground, you want to pause, and then use your arms and chest to drive your body back up to the starting position. Pause, and then repeat the movement.
Check out this YouTube video to see a perfectly performed push up.
If you can’t do this properly yet, then don’t worry. The next section has got you covered. If you complete the full 30 days, you should be able to perform at least one of these perfect push ups by the end.
Can’t Perform a Push Up? What to do Instead
Most people can’t perform a perfect push up straight away. It can take a lot of training to get there. In this section, we will take a look at some easier versions of push ups. There are four variations that you can use instead, find the right one for you.
Wall Push Ups
These are by far the easiest push up variation out there, and an excellent introduction to push ups for beginners. Stand in front of a wall with palms flat and in line with your shoulders. Start with your arms straight and then slowly bend them as you bring your chest to the wall. Pause when your chest is almost touching, and then slowly return.
Eccentric Push Up
The eccentric push up is much more challenging than the wall push up, but still easier than a regular push up. This is ideal if you need to perform 10 reps of perfect push ups but can only currently perform 7 (for example). You could then finish the set off with 3 eccentric push ups.
All you have to do is start in the push up position, and then slowly lower yourself to the ground. But instead of then pushing back up, you just keep lowering yourself until you are lying flat on the ground. This is the end of the movement, you then pick yourself up off the floor, get back into push up position and repeat.
Knee Push Up
This is an excellent alternative to full push ups for beginners. They are performed exactly the same as a traditional push up, but with your knees on the ground and feet up in the air. This takes away some of the resistance, making it easier to lower yourself and push up again.
Box Push Up
After wall push ups, the box push is probably the easiest variation. It is performed exactly the same as the knee push up, but instead of having your feet in the air, they are on the floor. This means that almost all of the resistance is removed, and the push up movement becomes very easy.
Push Ups too Easy? What to do Instead
If you are finding regular push ups way too easy, then you may want to increase difficulty. Before doing so, just ensure that you are actually performing your push ups with perfect form. Check out the above section “How to perform the perfect push up” just to make sure.
If your current push ups are too easy, then you can of course increase the resistance by adding weight. This can be done by getting a partner to place a weighted plate (for barbells) on your back. Or you can do it yourself by wearing a rucksack. You can also purchase a weighted vest, which can be used for push ups, pull ups, and dips.
See video for more details.
Plyometric push ups are another option. These are performed exactly the same as push ups, but instead of just rising up normally, you rise up explosively so that your hands actually leave the ground. Then, when you land back down, you go straight into the next rep.
Plyometric push ups can be made even more challenging by adding in a clap. So, you explosively rise off the ground even higher and clap your hands together in the air before you land.
There are also one-handed push ups, but these don’t easily lend themselves to this 30 day challenge, as you would obviously have to perform the same number of reps on each arm. Also, due to balance issues, these are much harder to achieve, and the difficulty/benefit ratio is well off.
See video for more details.
How Does the Push Ups 30 Day Challenge Work?
The challenge is very simple. You start off with a challenge to perform 10 push ups. You will do this for 5 days in a row. Many people will struggle to perform 10 push ups in a row, and will have to switch between different variations to hit that target.
For example: Day One, challenger manages 2 full push ups, then drops to knees and performs 6 knee push ups, before having to finish off with 2 box push ups.
Then as the days go on, you will find that the number of full push ups you can manage will increase slightly to 3, 4, or 5 push ups before having to switch to knee push ups.
After that, we will increase the number of push ups you perform in a row, from 10 to 15. Someone who can manage 10 full push ups will now have to work harder to hit 15 reps. While someone who can only do 1-2 full push ups, will still be able to switch between easier variations.
This way, people of all abilities can follow this challenge, and provided you work hard, you should see superb gains over the 30 days.
The Push Ups 30 Day Challenge
So there you have it, a 30 day push up challenge that should see you attempting to perform 30 push ups (or a combination of differing push up variations) in a row. Good luck!