Why do a 30 day push-up challenge? Let me first ask you this.
What’s a better way to push yourself out of your comfort zone than a push-up challenge? It’s in the freaking name.
There’s something beautiful about getting in the push-up stance, putting your chest to the ground, and grunting to get the extra energy to go up and down again.
The push-up is old-school. It’s gritty. And it works like a masterpiece to use all of your body weight to get stronger.
You don’t need any machines, free weights, or a trainer. It’s just the ground and your body in rhythm.
Plus, you don’t need any special skills. All the push-up requires from you is consistent hard work—and there’s something to be appreciated about that.
Can you feel my love for this exercise? I want you to feel the same way about push-ups and to join me in this 30 Day Push-Up Challenge.
Push-Ups Are The Perfect Exercise
I dig push-ups. Their unique ability to transform an entire body and core makes them the perfect exercise in my book.
So what are the specific qualities of doing push-ups? Here you go:
Build a fuller chest – What do you do when you first meet someone? After looking at their eyes or teeth, you next consciously or subconsciously scope out their chest (for both guys and girls). Since your chest is front and center below your face, doing push-ups will build a chest that gives off an immediate good impression of you.
Get defined arms – The wider your hands are in push-up stance, the more you’re working out your chest. The closer your hands are, the more you’re working out your triceps. Anyway you do it, the push-up breaks down and then grows your tricep muscles. Stick with push-ups, and you guys will have triceps busting out of your shirt. And you girls will have defined arms in a dress or sleeveless top.
Create chiseled abs – Maybe surprising to you, the push-up requires hardcore abdominal activation. When gravity is pushing down on your hips and your core during this exercise, your abs are getting much stronger compared to some other weak abs exercise. Got a six-pack on your mind? Start doing more push-ups to get there quicker. (And eat for energy.)
Grow boulder shoulders – Each time you do a push-up, you work out your deltoids—the rounded muscles over your shoulders. That’s why someone who regularly does push-ups is over time going to grow boulder shoulders. It’s a healthy, sexy look in my opinion.
Accessible anywhere – Besides the muscular toning, my favorite quality of the push-up is you can do it anywhere. Literally anywhere! At the office, on the beach, and everywhere on Earth that has gravity and a floor is open to get your push-ups in. This accessibility is the most important when traveling. It’s hard to find a gym on the road, so utilize the push-up to build your chest, core, and shoulders.
Less injury risk than bench press – A push-up is a natural exercise for the body. With proper form, there’s essentially no injury risk. However, bench press puts a heavy strain on the shoulders and pectoral. That’s why there’s a term named bench-presser’s shoulders. And if you seriously overdo bench press (doing way more weight than your body can handle), you could tear your pectoral. Push-ups don’t have the same injury risk.
Raise your metabolism – Push-ups are a quick, easy way to put your body into burn fat mode and boost your metabolism. Feeling lazy on the couch while watching a commercial you’d rather not? Get on the floor and give yourself 20 push-ups. Make a deal with yourself (temptation bundling) to do this during each commercial and you just did a solid workout in your family room.
Feel good – Exerting your body strength is going to release endorphins in your brain. These endorphins will improve your mood and energy for the rest of your day. When you don’t have time to go to the gym on a busy day, you can avoid feeling guilty by spending 10 minutes doing push-ups.
30 Day Push-Up Challenge Rules
Every legitimate challenge needs rules. Otherwise it’s “everything goes” and the challenge breaks down before it has a chance to get started.
So here are the official rules for this push-up challenge.
1. Start day one doing as many clean push-ups as you reasonably can in one set. For me, I’m going to do start with 40 push-ups. Could I do more? Yes, but my form would start to deteriorate and that’s not the goal. As you’ll see in the section below, it’s all about good form.
2. Add one push-up for each day going forward. For me, this looks like: Day 1 – 40 push-ups, Day 2 – 41 push-ups, Day 3 – 42 push-ups, and so on.
(If you find yourself in the middle of the challenge not being able to do your push-up number in one set, feel free to do it in two sets. The goal is that you keep getting stronger so one day you can do all your push-ups in one set.)
3. Take every fourth day off. Your muscles need rest to properly repair and perform at their best. So this schedule means you would do three days of push-ups, rest, then three days of push-ups, rest and so on.
For example, I’m starting at 40 push-ups on Day 1 so my 30-day schedule looks like this:
What’s Proper Push-Up Form?
From gym class to middle school sports, I’m sure you’ve done push-ups before. But you probably got away with weak form and continued to use that same form going forward.
The problem with not doing a clean push-up is you won’t get all the muscle benefits and you can risk an injury.
So what is good push-up form?
- Place your hands on the ground slightly outside your shoulders, on the same horizontal plane as your chest.
- Keep your body in a straight line at all times, including your head, torso, hips, butt, and feet.
- Look slightly forward, not at the ground or your chin tucked in touching your chest.
- Lock your arms out at the top, and bend them at a 45 degree angle when you’re an inch from the ground.
- Tighten your abs and your butt as you do your push-ups.
- Go at a steady pace, not too fast or too slow.
If you can’t do a regular push-up, do all the steps above except have your knees on the ground as you do them. This will be good strength training until you’re ready to do a regular push-up.
That’s all there is to a perfect push-up. See? Not so bad.
You could wait until the New Year to take your fitness serious. But who says that you’re not going to make another excuse then to push off getting in better shape?
So start this challenge now, today. Do as many clean push-ups as you can. And start building positive momentum.
Once you get over the hardest hurdle of beginning, you’re going to enjoy get stronger. You’re going to love filling out your clothes better. And you’re going to appreciate gaining confidence in how you look.
These benefits all come from getting in a push-up stance and getting after it. Let’s go!
Related: Other Brian’s Challenges on waking up early, eliminating sugar, being positive, reading, and more.