Why The 100 Pushup Challenge Will Ruin Your Posture, And How To Avoid That
Doing 100 push ups at once sounds like a big deal, especially to those who are not particularly athletic. And it is a big deal. doing 100 push ups in one set is something that 98% of the population cannot do. It’s impressive, and generally doing push ups is better than not doing push ups.
However, these types of challenges where the participant is expected to hit a certain number of reps in a given amount of days (100 push ups in 30 days, etc.) is dangerous and counter productive. Fitness is not a sprint, it is a marathon (unless you are a sprinter…) What that means is that your fitness is a long term, slow process where you progress at a slow and healthy level and you maintain your gains for a long time. Healthy fitness is not about getting to a certain level as quickly as possible. If you attempt to speed through your fitness journey you are likely to injure yourself.
Should You Try To Do 100 Push Ups?
It depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to be able to do 100 push ups because that is an impressive number of push ups, then, sure, go for it. If your goal is to get stronger, than there are better programs you can do. If you are attempting to lose weight and/or gain muscle then there are much better ways of doing it than doing 100 push ups in a row.
If you are going to either do 100 push ups or not do any sort of workout, then definitely do the push ups. Doing a lot of push ups is much better than doing nothing. But there are other workouts and programs that will make your stronger.
The Bad Aspects Of 100 Push Ups
Allow me to go into more detail about why I have never done a 100 push up challenge and why you probably shouldn’t either.
100 push ups is impressive, and there were times in my life when I thought about doing such a challenge. However, I never did.
The first and biggest problem with this type of challenge is that it sets a time limit for when to do the 100 push ups. Usually it is a month. Not everyone is going to progress at the same speed, and those who are slower at increasing their push up numbers are going to feel pressure to speed up their gains. This pressure to speed up gains is likely to lead to injury. This can happen due to a few factors.
If you are rushed to make progress you will push your body beyond its limits. An experienced athlete knows how to listen to his or her body and knows how hard to push before the risk of over training sets in. Pushing too hard can lead to too much strain on the tendons, muscles, joints and other parts of the body. This leads to tears, strains and other forms of injury. Once you get injured, you end up being able to do 0 push ups. All the work you put in to reaching 100 becomes meaningless because you hurt your body. Hopefully the injury is only temporary, but it can certainly be a lifelong injury where your joints ache from certain movements.
These types of injuries are common at any time that someone is pushing their body beyond its limits. If you are doing a 100 push up challenge and you start to lag on the timeline set by the person who wrote the challenge, don’t worry. Slow down your pace and go at a speed that is comfortable to you. Make progress at your own pace and you are going to be less likely to injure yourself.
It’s not just the pace that you need to be concerned with. 100 repetitions of any exercise is a lot. This is a lot of wear and tear on the muscles involved. Consider what you really are hoping to achieve by doing the 100 push ups. being able to do 50 push ups in a row is also pretty impressive, and less taxing on your joints. Or even better, doing a well rounded workout routine is going to make sure no single part of your body gets over worked.
Finally, make certain you are doing push ups with correct form. Don’t keep doing push ups once you realize you are too tired to keep your form correct. Bad form is the best way to get injured. The best way to know good form is to go on Youtube and watch some push up form videos. After you understand what good push up form looks like, take your phone and video tape yourself doing push ups. You should be able to tell from the video if your form is correct.
Not The Best For Strength Gains
Doing 100 push ups will make you stronger. This is especially true if you can only do 10 push ups today. But it will not make you 10 times stronger. The more reps you add the higher the diminishing returns are. Going from 10 push ups to 25 push ups is a big deal. Going from 50 push ups to 100 push ups will less of a strength builder and more of an endurance builder. If you want strength, the best thing to do is to lift heavy weights for low repetitions. Doing a heavy bench press with 5-10 repetitions is going to build you your strength much more than doing 100 push ups.
100 push ups is also not that good for losing weight. Again, it’s better than sitting on your couch, but losing weight is really largely dependent on your diet. 100 push ups simply are not going to burn enough calories to make it an effective weight loss program.
Your Posture Might Suck
This is somewhat related to the potential injuries that you can suffer from doing 100 push ups.
If you are not participating in a balanced fitness program, push ups can ruin your posture.
In the bodybuilding world there is a very important concept of keeping your muscles balanced. This means that when you work out muscles that do pushing actions, you also want to work out the corresponding pulling action muscles. Otherwise one set of muscles will be stronger than the other, leading to unhealthy pressures on your body. Imagine in your biceps are a lot stronger than your triceps. This can lead to unhealthy pressure on your elbow and cause injury.
If you are doing a ton of push ups and no corresponding pull exercise then your chest is going to become way stronger than your back. This will lead your chest muscles to pull your shoulders forward and you will walk around looking like a hunchback.
The best solution for this is to balance your muscles. If you are doing a 100 push up program, then be sure to include a lot of pulling exercises to make your back just as strong as your chest. Get a pull up bar and do a bunch of pull ups. The pull up bar is the single best piece of fitness equipment I ever bought. If you are attempting to do 100 push ups, why not also attempt to do 50 pull ups?
Add Other Exercises
100 push ups is good. What is even better is 100 push ups combined with an appropriate number of pull ups, squats, and planks. This will help you get a full body exercise. Push ups alone only work a few of your muscles.
Want to level up even more? Join a gym and start lifting weights. If not a gym, then there are a ton of great body weight routines on the Internet that will give you a healthier, more well rounded routine than a 100 push up challenge. The only real reason to try to do 100 push ups is if you want to do 100 push ups. For any other fitness goal you might have, there is a better program.