Pushups: One set at a time

Inspired by both Viper and Crossfit, I’ve been working on my pushups lately. Remember last summer, when I could crank out 100 full body pushups in both the morning and evening, in less than three minutes each time? Gosh, that was amazing – thank you to the Insanity program for making me able to accomplish such a feat. Unfortunately, one year later, my strength has dwindled, and I can’t even crank out one set of ten full body pushups. Nothing to do but work on it!

A few weeks ago, I found this traveling WOD, which is very simple: 150 pushups, for time. (Obviously, you break it up into smaller sets and don’t just do 150 pushups, unless you’re insanely strong like this woman who broke the med ball pushup record.) I originally intended to modify the WOD to be 150 pushups from my knees (like the weak little girl I have apparently become), but when I started reaching failure doing sets of five and I was only in the 60s, I decided to modify it still further. Forget 150 full body pushups for time; I would now be doing 100 pushups from my knees for time.

But that’s the thing I have come to really like about Crossfit – no matter what your ability, you can modify the workouts and still see/quantify the progress that you are making. The first day I tried this, it took me 6:08 to finish all 100 (three sets of 10, eight sets of 5, and then just a few at a time till I finished). When I tried again five days later, I got down to 5:31 (four sets of 10, six sets of 5, and then 3-5 reps at a time until done). And yesterday, I did 4:24 (five sets of 10, eight sets of 5, and then 3-5 reps at a time until done). It’s cool to see my progress, and I love that it takes only five minutes to get ‘er done!

In a week or two, I’ll probably try to make the jump from knee pushups to full body plank-style. I am already a little nervous about making that switch, because I know I’m going to get discouraged about having to go back to smaller sets (i.e., I’ll probably start with sets of 5 instead of sets of 10) and taking much longer to finish (can I even finish 100 full body under 10 minutes? We’ll see). But, ultimately, I know that it’s major progress to be able to do full body pushups – and I’ll try to keep that in mind to cheer myself up. Because when I can once again do 100 full body pushups under three minutes? I will be DAMN proud.

Comments

  1. 100 pushups in the morning and at night? That’s crazy. I started working on my pushups when I realized I could do about 3 on my feet. I followed the 100 Pushup Challenge and I made it all the way to 50 consecutive pushups, but it took me A LOT longer then the 6 weeks it’s supposed – more like 4 months, but I made it to 50! Now I can probably only do 35…guess I should start working on it again.

    Also, can you post more WODs that don’t require equipment? I really want to start doing more circuits, intervals, and crossfit type workouts. Yesterday, I did 200 walking lunges. After I knocked out the first 70 without stopping in 3 mins, I smuggly thought it was a piece of cake. The next 130 took 11 more mins and required four breaks. I was humbled, but also knew I am going to crush that next time.

  2. So, I just watched the video for a Crossfit Standard for the pushup and my chin does not touch the ground. I’m pretty proud of my form, but compared to The Standard, I’m failing miserably…

  3. I am horrible at pushups! Gotta do better :) How did Heels and Hills go?! Yes let me know whenever you are up for a run, or a spin class! I am teaching over at 24 Hour Fitness in Irving now if you ever fancy an early morning jaunt on the bike :)

  4. Alanna, I get all my no equipment WODs from The Traveling Wod; they are pretty awesome! And yeah, the standard is tough :-/ In my workouts with Crossfit Dallas Central, they tell us to take our hands off the ground at the bottom so that we are chest to ground, ensuring that you go all the way down. I’m sticking with chin right now!

    Chelsea, Heels and Hills was great, and we LOVEEEEE Irving. Race report to come soon!

  5. you were able to do 100 full body push-ups? DAYUM. I started on the push up challenge (and got my whole team on it) but then we all fell by the wayside after about week 3. Plus my shoulder made this weird noise after I did about 20 …

  6. I would do them in sets of 10. Some days I would spread them out over the course of an entire getting ready routine (e.g., brush teeth, do 10 pushups, put makeup on, do 10 more, etc), but some days (especially right before bed) I’d just bang them out with a few seconds rest in between each set of 10. I want to get back to that – it was awesome!

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