In early/mid 2008, my friend Steve Speirs started a website to help people do 100 consecutive pushups. If you ever visited a fitness blog around that time then you undoubtedly saw people making the attempt using Steve’s training schedules (many of whom succeeded, I might add.)
Fast forward a year, and in June of 2009 Steve published his first book, 7 Weeks to 100 Pushups.
It’s a very quick read, and the programs offered in it seem even more accessible than the ones on the website. You should be able to read it in one or two sittings without any trouble.
The first thing that you’ll notice about the book is that it is 7″x9″, which was not what I was expecting when I ordered the book. It has more of the feel of a training log than a book that you would sit down and read.
The advantage, of course, comes from the book staying open on the floor in front of you on the page with that day’s workout, so that you can easily see how many pushups you should be doing for each set. (Unless your cat is wanting to play and keeps closing it on you, anyway.)
7 Weeks to 100 Pushups is divided into 4 parts:
Part 1 is an overview, which explains a little about the history of the pushup and why it is such a good exercise to take part in. There are a couple dozen success stories from folks that have used Steve’s program and some beginner’s tips frequently asked questions. Trivia about the pushup is sprinkled throughout this section.
Part 2 is made up of the 6 different schedules. The number of pushups you can currently do in your initial test determines which schedule you should start on. The 2 beginner programs are each 10 weeks long, while the intermediate and advanced programs are each 7 weeks long. All of the workouts are between 5 and 8 sets.
Part 3 contains 15 variations on the pushup that you can use to further challenge yourself, including different positions that you can use and different props that can change how the angle you work out at or the stability of your body while doing the pushup. There are large pictures and step by step instructions for each variation.
The Appendix is split into 4 parts:
- The Warm-Up Routine
- The Post-Workout Stretching Routine
- The Preliminary Program
(for those not strong enough to do a pushup)
- A Training Log for recording your workouts
The appendix seems rather strange to me, as the preliminary program would make more sense near the start of the book rather than at the end, and the warm up routine and stretching routine should bookend the actual pushup programs.
Of course, if all of those sections were placed earlier in the book, then the pushup routines would not fall near the center of the book and it wouldn’t stay open to the page you want it at when you are working out, which I assume is the reason that they were pushed off to the back.
I enjoyed reading through the book when I first got it, but I am interested in little trivia items related to fitness. If your only interest is in the pushup schedules themselves, I’d still recommend picking up the book.
Will you be able to do 100 consecutive pushups within 7 weeks? That depends upon you and how strong you are at the start of the program and how well you improve throughout. You will certainly be stronger at the end of the program than you were at the start, and if you don’t make it to 100 pushups the first time through then you can always move on to the next advanced program.
How well did the program work for me?
Before I answer that, I’ll go briefly into my own pushup history.
In 2006, I was in relatively good shape. Pushups were a part of my lifting program, but certainly weren’t the bulk of it. One day, I randomly tried to see how many pushups I could do and managed 46 before stopping.
In August of 2008, I hurt my hip pretty bad during a road race and stopped lifting weights for about the next 10 or 11 months. When this book was published, I picked up a copy and decided that I’d use it to get back into shape. On June 29th, I did 23 pushups in my initial test, which isn’t too bad for having not done any lifting most of the past year and for cutting the test short a little when my wife had me giggling while I was trying to do the pushups. A week later I started the Advanced 1 program in the book.
Over the next 8 weeks (as life got in the way and I took an extra day of rest now and again) I managed to complete every workout, and did at least a few extra pushups at the end of the last set each day. For the most part, I kept going until I was uncomfortable and not until failure, but it was always past the minimum I needed to do so I was happy with it.
The only exceptions were in my last few workouts of the last week, where it was a bit of a struggle to reach the full number of pushups. The only workout I actually failed to complete was the very last one, where I was supposed to do at least 60 pushups in the last set and I got noodly-armed after 57 pushups and could only get about halfway back up on the 58th. Having done 179 pushups in the previous 7 sets before starting that last set, I expect that when I start the Advanced 2 program next week that I’ll be able to do quite a few more pushups in my final set and will get into the high 70s or low 80s (if not higher).
Now that I’ve been through the program once, I definitely notice a difference in my body. My muscles are a little more defined, and I definitely feel stronger.
I broke my foot halfway through the program and haven’t been able to run for the past 4 weeks or so, and I’ve managed to only lose about 3 pounds in that span of time. (When I stop running, I normally shed weight at 2-3 pounds per week unless I’m sick, in which case I might lose more.)
Have you done the 100 pushups challenge? Have you read the book? Share your experiences or thoughts below if you have. If you are interested in purchasing the book, you can buy the book at Amazon.