Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Doing the Hundred: Review of the 100 Push-ups Program

If you've been checking up on my weekly workouts/training, you may have noticed that compared to past training, I had been doing a lot of what I have been calling "strength" training several times each week.
I have purposely been vague about the details of this training for a reason. And that reason, my friends, is the classic FoF ("fear of failure").  I was secretive about this training to everyone, except my boyfriend who gets to hear about everything, and my little sister and cat who watched me crank 'em out at home.

Long story short, after my last marathon, I wanted to take on the hundred-pushups program. The specific reasons for this are unclear but influenced by two main things:

1) I maxed out at 36 pushups in a duathlon I did in 2009. Had I been able to crank out a few more, I would have done much better than I had.

2) Since I've switched gyms in July, no more FitMoves classes have made me worry about my overall fitness beyond running. The first time I did that class (for 30 min), I was nearly as sore as I get after marathons or really long runs.

A hundred pushups is a heavy endeavor, but not as heavy as this HUGE egg sandwich I came across one day.

End random food appearance. :P

So, I made the commitment to invest 3 days/week for 6 weeks...  And no, there were no push-ups done on my knees throughout this entire program. ;)  Here was how I progressed.

FINAL TEST-TRY 1: 65 (repeated Week 6 before Try #2)
FINAL TEST-TRY 2: 50 -- uhhh, massive fail?? groggy morning after a PM run?? (did not repeat Week 6)

I decided to repeat Week 6 of the push-ups because I FAILED (65/100) :(. Weeks 1-4 had been pretty manageable, but Week 5 increases the number of sets, and Week 6 increases the sets to NINE.

This two-hundred situps program seemed to fit well with the push-ups, so I committed to that, as well. Combined, doing these two programs takes about 30 minutes per session. I always did the push-ups first, because I needed my abs to hold that plank position.

WEEK 2-END TEST: 48 (:D)
WEEK 4-END TEST: 100 (Week 4 was when I was starting to get serious, apparently)

The sit-ups referred to in this program are NOT as pictured. I was doing them that way for the first couple of weeks until I re-read the program. The proper way to go through this program is to do it "crunch" style, raising the upper body to 35 degrees. I adjusted and was thankful for that.

The sites have printable booklets for convenience. Look at how cool they are -- they fold up into small booklets!

At the end of 6 weeks (more like 7, since I slacked off during the holidays), here is how the booklets looked.  As a note, I actually carried them around with me in my purse to make sure I always had them around.


I started training more for my upcoming marathon on March 20, so finding that this program was so mentally tough, I decided to can my ambition for 100 pushups for a while. :(

Looking back, this was a tough set of programs. I still try to do 100 sit-ups a few times a week to retain some of the benefits of this program that calls for hundreds of reps each time. I know sit-ups alone aren't the best thing for abs, so I make sure to exercise my obliques and back to balance things out.

As for the push-ups, I plan on doing 100 each time I strength train (4 sets of 25, mind you!). Doing 100 at one time is TOUGH, and the training often made me feel like I've been in a car wreck. Combined with marathon training, I can't say it is a winning combination.

Another side-effect of these programs are muscle tone. I have definitely noticed more definition in my abs and upper body -- moreso the upper body than abs. ;)  While I'd love to post before/after photos, I can't seem to get my act together and get in the same clothes and angle in front of the mirror.  But trust me, my triceps got really cut from this....


  1. push ups and sit ups.... no fun! I did a boot camp before and was shocked at how poor peoples form were during push ups. It's 'easy' to do crappy push ups but much hard to do it in proper form.

  2. Wow, that's awesome! I LOVE push-ups!! I'll have to challenge myself to this post-baby!

  3. Nice work! So...where are the obligatory ab and arm-muscle-photos showing the results? :p just kidding.

  4. I think you did a great job with the challenge, even if you've put it on hold. Sometimes you just need to change up your goals, even midway through. Those are the toughest decisions but the most important!

  5. This serves as a great reminder that I should try to do some other strength training exercises that would benefit my running. I just run, that's it!

    That egg salad sandwich looks great!