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Push-up challenge = FAIL

by DaniGirl on May 31, 2010 · 11 comments

in It IS all about me

So DaniGirl, how’s that push-up challenge going?

*sound of crickets*

Yeah. I totally fell off the wagon on this one. Aside from doing two sets of 15 push-ups at the gym on Saturday, I haven’t done a single set in the last week or two. Push-up fail. Mind you, I’m still pretty damn impressed with myself that I can do 30 push-ups in three minutes, which is 30 more than I could do at the beginning of last month!

I made it to Week 4 Day 2, I think, before I missed a day that stretched into two or three, and then I thought maybe I ought to backtrack a few days, just to get caught up, but didn’t, and then, well, life kinda happened and suddenly it was two weeks later.


I’m waffling on whether to start up again. I figure I can start back on Week 4 Day 1 and just push (snicker) on for the final two weeks of the program and be done with it. One must finish what one starts, right? For the principle of it, if nothing else. But, did you look at the last two weeks of the program? Whimper. It looks (warning, whine ahead) haaaarrrrd.

Of course, the lazy part of me that is not overly keen on the whole physical exertion thing is pretty damn pleased with the progress to date and willing to call the push-up thing conquered once and for all. I mean, the original goal was to be able to do “some” push-ups at some unspecified future date. 30 in three minutes definitely qualifies as a reasonably impressive definition of “some” especially when compared to the previous standard of “none.”

Nobody seemed to notice that I didn’t even blog about the push-up challenge last week — does that mean that y’all have fallen off the wagon, too? I know Liisa mentioned on twitter that she has, um, stumbled recently, too. Solidarity, sista! πŸ˜‰

Okay, bloggy peeps, whaddya think? Have I proven myself on this one, or do I have to face this down to the end?


Maybe it’s because I had to call a do-over for week 3, or maybe it’s because I’m starting to build up some actual upper body strength, but you know what? The push-ups weren’t so hard last week. In fact, on Day 2 of Week 3, I just about breezed through my sets, cranking out 52 of them, and then went on to crank out 57 on Day 3. Woot! More than half way to the goal of 100 push-ups!

Just when I was feeling all full of myself and my newly discovered awesomeness, I got knocked down a peg or two at the gym. I’d dropped down on the mat and pulled off what I considered a completely excellent 20 push-ups in a single set (!) when I looked over at a guy in the corner. He had a heavy ball that he was rolling back and forth from hand to hand in between each push-up. As I watched, he did more than 20 without pausing, and I have no idea how long he’d been doing them before I noticed him. So I waited until he’d gone, got my own ball and tried it out — and I think I still have the bruise on my sternum from where I fell on the ball. I think I’ll stick to the regular push-ups and try not to get cocky from here on in.

How are y’all doing?


Oops. I kind of dropped the ball on the 100 push-up challenge last week. First, the exhaustion test tired me out so efficiently on Monday that I didn’t do Day 1 until Tuesday — and after that, I was so off kilter that I completely forgot to do Day 2 until Saturday at the gym, and by then I’d pretty much given up on Week 3 entirely.

I call for a do-over!

Besides, is it me or is the jump from Week 2 intensity to Week 3 intensity a little harsh? From the end of Week 2 to the beginning of Week 3 the darn thing demands an extra ten or a dozen push-ups. Yeesh!

And hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you — what exactly is the definition of “rest time” between sets? I can sit and stare at my iPod counting down the 60 seconds between sets on Day 1, but the 120 seconds on Day 3 seems like an awfully long pause. Am I allowed to do anything except wish I were naturally muscular doing the rest period? I’ve taken to tidying between sets. Five sets with two minutes between each = 10 minutes of cleaning, which is more than I do on most days. (Not really. But every little bit helps!)

Or am I allowed to do some other exercise that doesn’t tax my already shaky arms? Leg lifts, maybe? What do you think? Or should I just lie on the floor in the child position and wait for the universe to send me more energy so I can get through the next set?

Week 3, here I come! Again.


Okay, bloggy peeps — time to check in with your push-up progress! I’m so tickled to see another handful of brave souls have joined the challenge. *waves to Liisa and Shannon and Ingrid and Andrea and Brenda and maybe Lynn, too*

So here’s my confession for the week: I only barely made it to Week 3. I didn’t realize until this week that there’s a test (a test!) every two weeks, and if you can’t make the minimum threshold then you are supposed to go back and re-do the previous week or two. I’ve been using the iPod app to track my progress, and when I switched it on to begin Week 3 last night, it told me I should do an exhaustion test — that is, do as many push-ups in a row as I could.

On the one hand, I was pretty pleased that I could do 16 good-form push-ups in a row. (Remember, less than a month ago I could do only one!) On the other hand, I only barely made it into Week 3 — the app and the web site both suggest that you progress with Week 3 only if you can do more than 15 push-ups in your exhaustion test.

And exhausted is right! As soon as I finished the exhaustion test and figured out where I was supposed to be, I tried to go ahead with the Week 3 Day 1 program of 10, 12, 7, 7 and 9 push-ups and could barely squeak out a set of 8 before collapsing in a quivering heap on the carpet. So I’m officially starting Week 3 tonight with a fresh run at it.

How are y’all doing? Making progress? I took a peek ahead, and I may be stuck in Weeks 3 and 4 for quite some time — you’re supposed to be able to do a minimum of 30 in a row (!!) before you progress to Week 5. This may be a longer six weeks than I thought!!


Well, this push-up thing has taken on a life of its own — as seems to be the case in an alarming number of things in my life! What started out as a poorly formed idea to be able to do *some* proper, full-body push-ups, with perhaps the capability to do some unspecified amount of *more* push-ups by some date three or four months in the future has now migrated into a formal challenge where a bunch of us are going to try to do 100 push-ups. In SIX WEEKS!

Yeesh, that peer pressure thing never really does go away, does it? So far, I know Finola and Nat and Christy and Barbi are playing along — did I miss anyone?

And you know what the really funny part is? I’m already a quarter of the way to the goal! Yep, yesterday, for Day 1 of Week 2, I managed to do 26 push-ups. Remember, it’s only been three weeks since I first tried and could not do a single push-up, and now I can do 26. Yay!

Here’s the secret — it’s not 26 all in a row. This site has an amazing program where you start out doing two push-ups, then rest for 60 seconds, then churn out three, then rest — it’s almost too easy that way. And it increases incrementally, so yesterday I did five sets of 4, 6, 4, 4 and 8 push-ups with 60 second rest-periods in between — 26 push-ups in five minutes. On the site, they have a tracker so you can log your progress, and if you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, there’s an app for that!

So I knew that I’d probably improve the muscle tone and shape of my arms and shoulders (hello sleeveless season!) but what I didn’t expect is that between the push-ups and the rowing machine I’m suddenly starting to see a lot of definition in my abs. Mind you, it’s definition with about 3/4 of an inch of belly fat, but definition none-the-less. After five pregnancies and three 10 lbs babies, I’m now working on my first-ever six pack — who would have guessed it!!

So there you go, I’m officially more than 1/4 of the way to the ludicrous and accidental goal of being able to to 100 push-ups. Ain’t serendipity grand?


The push-up challenge

by DaniGirl on April 11, 2010 · 33 comments

in It IS all about me

I like to think of myself as strong. Not just emotionally, but physically strong, too. I’ve got a pretty good constitution, and I know my legs are strong because I regularly set the weight machines at the gym to about double where I find them at. I can easily do a dozen or more leg extensions and curls at 100 lbs, and I’m finding the lower back extension thingee a little too easy at 160 lbs lately.

What I lack, though, is upper body strength. It drove me crazy that even after carrying around my ginormous babies who turned into ginormous toddlers, and even after religiously following a weekly strength-training routine at the gym for at least the past five years, I still couldn’t do a single proper from-the-toes push-up. I’d been doing a dozen push-ups from my knees for a while now, but each time I tried to push up from my toes with my body straight, I’d collapse in a quivering heap.

Last weekend, with sleeveless season on the horizon and my 41st birthday not far behind, I decided I needed to challenge myself. I was going to learn how to do a proper push-up once and for all. I’d start with one, if that’s all I could achieve, and add one or two more each week during my sacred Saturday morning visit to the gym.

Because it was a long weekend, I managed three trips to the gym last week instead of the usual one. My first visit, on the Friday, I managed one whole push-up. I doubled that on Saturday, and made it all the way to five push-ups on the Monday. (And then, I couldn’t raise my arms above my head on Tuesday or Wednesday.)

This past Saturday, I was actually looking forward all through my workout to the matwork I usually save for the end. I figured I’d squeeze out six, maybe even seven push-ups, and I was absolutely delighted with myself when I quavered out a tremulous TEN of them. Never mind the fact that I could barely work my arms enough to drive the car on the way home.

So proud of myself was I, and so in need of an explanation as to why my arms wavered in the breeze like overcooked spaghetti, that I bragged to Beloved about my accomplishment. Tristan, listening from the kitchen, scoffed, “Ten? Sheesh, that’s nothing, I could do ten push-ups.”

Without thinking about his easy prowess on the monkey bars, I told him to go ahead, showoff, and show me your stuff. Which he did. Easily. I figure he might have gotten to 20 or more before he broke a sweat, but I stopped him before he could show me up too badly. And then to add insult to injury, Beloved, who is let us say not as fond of the gym as me, also dropped and showed me 10 in fine form.

Lesson learned: it’s good to be strong, but sometimes strong and silent is a harder skill to learn!

Okay, bloggy peeps, ‘fess up. Can you do push-ups the hard way, with your back straight from your shoulders to your heels? I’m aiming for 25 by my birthday, but I may have to cut down on my blog posts because a day and a half after achieving those glorious 10 I can still barely move my arms to type this!


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