"Drop and Give Me 100!" Push-up Challenge
My husband, always looking for fitness inspiration and apparently I am not enough, found this book "7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups" by Steve Speirs on Amazon and suggested I join him in the quest to 100. After the visions of no-nonsense gym teachers and surly drill sergeants subsided I decided to take a look at the book, which at first glance, was pretty convincing. You would think that I would be satisfied exercise-wise, what, with doing all the yoga and skating, but alas a new challenge! Push-ups are a "multi-joint, multi-muscle" movement that have more positives then negatives and if 7 weeks is really all it takes to do 100 NON STOP PUSH-UPS sign me up! Fortunately, for the last few months, in addition to some modest weight training, I had already been doing "modified"aka "girls" push-ups regularly. Unbeknownst to me this "pre-training" regime would prime me for the challenge ahead. And even though I had never done more than 10 full push-ups continuously, and wasn't completely convinced I'd make it to 100, I knew I'd be stronger for the effort.
Muscle Loss/Bone Loss, A Package Deal
After the age of 25, and certainly more apparent in the early 40's, muscle mass is on the decline. Muscle mass leads to less physical strength, more saggy body parts, less calories burned per day, and in most cases, more body fat gained. In addition muscle loss (sarcopenia) and bone density loss (osteopenia, osteoperosis) often go hand in hand. So, while you are getting physically weaker and flabbier because of lack of muscle mass, your bones are also affected which can eventually lead to ostepenia ( bone mineral density that is less than normal) or to the more detrimental opsteperosis ( decrease in density and strength of bone leading to fragility). While weight training and weight bearing exercises such as running, skating and even some yoga postures can help to keep bones hearty and healthy, it seems prudent to up the ante with some added bone loss prevention!. And although I am a fan of Sally Fields, Boniva in my golden years, even if it is only "once a month" is something I can do without.
The 100 Push-up Challenge
The book instructs you to start with a test to complete as many full push-ups (with proper form) as possible until exhaustion. This number of push-ups will then put you in the proper category for your 7 week program. If you are unable to even do one full push-up there is an alternative training program that includes wall push-ups and modified push-ups.
Full Push Up "Ending Position"
For my 'test" I managed a total of 20 push ups (the weeks of modified push ups clearly paid off!) and I ended up in the "Intermediate 2" category. To test yourself and find the appropriate program check out the 100 Push-ups Website At this time I am in week 3 of the program and I am struggling to complete 16 push ups on my final and 5th set. How I'll make 100 four and a half weeks from now, I don't know? I'll post again after week 4 with an update. Meanwhile, why not start your own push up challenge? Come on you can do it. "Drop and give me 100!"