Stealth Push-ups Challenge
When I was a teen in the late 1980’s, I remember reading in a Sports Illustrated article about Herschel Walker, a football player who claimed to never lift weights. Instead, he asserted that hundreds of daily push-ups were the key to his might and success on the field.
Recently, I came upon this snippet in the Strongfirst website: “As great as Walker’s sports career has been, the most astonishing thing is his training regimen. All his training centered around bodyweight exercises in massive amounts of volume. Walker performed several thousand repetitions per day using a variety of exercises, and still claims to do 750-1,500 daily push-ups and sit-ups at 54 years old.”
Why not try something similar? Here is a program for people who “don’t have time to work out”, that is, almost all of us!
Push-ups Step 1
Determine your max. Do as many push-ups as you can can while maintaining proper form. That means keep your body rigid; don’t let your hips sag, don’t stick your butt up in the air, don’t get all shaky and wobbly in the arms. Record the maximum number of quality push-ups that you can do.
Push-ups Step 2
Begin your morning the next day with a set of push-ups. Do half the number of your max reps determined in step one. Every 15 minutes throughout the day, do another set.
Putting it all together
As an example, if you maxed out with 27 reps in step 1, pick a conservative 13 reps as your work set for step 2. In this scenario, you would do 13 push-ups after you roll out of bed, then 13 more every 15 minutes throughout the day. This routine will net you 52 push-ups per hour, or 520 over the course of your 10 hour workout period!
If you are in halfway decent shape, you won’t have much difficulty doing this. Even though the volume is high, the intensity is limited by the fact that you have 15 minute rest periods and that each set is only half of what you could do if you were pushing yourself. (Pardon the pun.)
If you are thinking, “There is no way I can do this! I won’t have time!I have to work!”, think again. A set of 13 push-ups takes 20 seconds. That’s 80 seconds per hour, which works out (Dang! Another pun. Sorry.) to less than 14 minutes over 10 hours. Don’t pretend that you don’t squander 14 minutes worth of time in a normal day!
Do this routine 5 days a week for 2 weeks, then, after 2 days off, test your max again. If it has gone up, begin your next 2 weeks’ workouts with the correspondingly higher number of reps, namely, half of your new max.
Keep at the program for 2 months and see how you feel and look. It’s a sure bet that you will have a more muscular and stronger upper body!
Challenge: You simply can’t do push-ups exactly every 15 minutes.
Solution: Do the best you can. If you have to squeeze in 2 sets with only a 2 minute rest in between and then wait 1/2 hour before you get another chance; that’s OK.
Challenge: You don’t have complete privacy and are embarrassed to be seen doing push-ups all the time.
Solution: Find space and time to sneakily do your sets. That’s why it’s called the “Stealth Push-ups Challenge”. Every time you are in a bathroom you can do a set or 2 of push-ups. Yeah, it’s gross to put your hands on the bathroom floor, but there’s a sink and soap readily available, right? If you work in an office, hide behind your desk. If you work in a truck, do push-ups in the back of your vehicle. Be creative!
Another approach is to just embrace it. Tell your friends and co-workers what you are doing and invite them to join you. How cool would it be to see 4 guys in suits drop simultaneously and do a set of push-ups together?
Challenge: You do your first few sets and then keep forgetting.
Solution: Program your phone to remind you. Duh.
Challenge: It’s too hard. You get sore.
Solution: Take a day off whenever you feel it’s necessary. Drop your work sets down to 1/3 of your max reps. And, oh yeah, don’t be a sissy!
Challenge: It’s too easy. You don’t get sore.
Solution: Do push-ups for 12 hours instead of 10. Increase the number of reps in your work sets. Do them every 10 minutes instead of 15. Also, remember that the Stealth Push-ups Challenge is not supposed to be brutally difficult. It is meant to be a sustainable habit. If you want more difficulty, try a Power Run!
Give the Stealth Push-ups Challenge a try and leave some comments below about your progress and results!