100 Pushup Fail

If you remember about 7 weeks ago (I know, that was like an entire year ago) I wrote about my 100 pushup challenge.  The basic premise of the challenge was to increase my upper body and core strength through a 6 week program designed to get you to 100 pushups.

pushupsIf you’re the type who skims posts, I’ll give save you the trouble and give you the short and not so sweet version:  I failed.

For those of you still reading, here’s what happened.

I started the challenge out with realistic expectations.  I had very little upper body strength and wanted to do something about it.  So I downloaded this 100 Pushup app and set on my merry way.  I did a fitness test before starting the challenge to see what level I should start on. I was able to do 10 good form (boy) pushups which meant starting on level 2 (there’s only three levels).  The program has you doing pushups 3 days a week and uses a rep/rest pattern.


This was the day I quit on. At first glance it seems harmless until you realize that you do 14 pushups, rest 45 seconds, 14 more, rest 45, 15 pushups, rest, and so on & so forth. The final tally is 150 pushups for the day.

Week one went by and yes, it was challenging but doable.  The first day I had to do 25 pushups and by the end of the week 1 (day 3) I was up to 42 pushups.  Week 2 came and I found myself still trucking along at a total of 60 good form pushups at the end of week 2 (day 3).

Week 3 (day 1)  started with 72 pushups and the last day ended with 88 pushups and a fitness test.  Apparently I failed my fitness test because I actually got knocked down to level 1.  I’m not going to lie, I was pretty happy to be demoted.  Also, during week three I wrote a brief update on my dislike for the program; I hadn’t yet been demoted.

The gratitude of being demoted didn’t last long because I soon found level one kicking my tail.  Week 4 came and went and then I made it through my first set of 100 pushups on week 5, day 2.  I thought I was going to die.  I managed to do all of them the regular “boy” way but found myself with a whole slew of problems during the last few reps.  My wrists and palms started hurting really badly, I developed a shoulder ache in my left shoulder and I was having trouble breathing. Not to mention I’m pretty sure I altered my form to help ease some of the issues I was having.

This is exactly how I felt.  Like someone cut my arms off and then beat me with them.

This is exactly how I felt. Like someone cut my arms off and then beat me with them.

Week 5, day 3….120 pushups.  Oy, what was I doing?! Week 6, day 1….130 pushups.  This was where I quit.  I made it almost all the way, I only had two more days left and I would have finished the program.  However, those 130 pushups killed me.  In fact, around 100 I had to stop doing ‘good form’ and finish with the girl ones.  I found myself almost in tears after finishing those stupid 130 pushups.  Tears from both pain and frustration.  I’m not one to quit but I knew there was no way I was going to be able to complete the 150 pushups week 6 day 2 had scheduled or the 170 pushups week 6 day 3 was prepared to heap on me.

So what did I learn from this?  First to forgive myself; I’m not a failure.  It’s ok to draw boundaries and acknowledge what I’m capable of.  I was not physically capable of finishing the last two days.  Does it irritate the snot out of me that I didn’t finish something? YES! But do I feel bad about it? Nope.  I did notice an increase in my strength; mainly my core, shoulders and back.  I was really hoping to increase the muscle tone in my arms but as you can see from the before/after shots, that didn’t happen. Oh well.

Before (100 pushup challenge) edited


I was trying so hard not to laugh while taking this picture.

Would I tell people about this app? As much as I hated it, I probably would.  Would I give it a glowing endorsement? Definitely not.  I really think this program should be stretched out to 8 weeks.  The intensity of going from only doing 10 pushups in a day to 130 (170 if I had finished it) is just way too much for me personally to handle – at this time.  To end on a positive note, I will at least say I enjoyed the structure of program.   And I did manage to do a total of 1,049 pushups during my 5 weeks and 1 day.

So there you have, the good (what there was of it), the bad and the ugly. And I guess I’m a masochist, I’m actually considering trying it again.  I hate that something got the best of me.

Question: Have you ever reached a physical or mental breaking point? What did you do to overcome it?

42 thoughts on “100 Pushup Fail

  1. Gina, you did AMAZING!! I decided to start a Level 1 (next week maybe?) because it looked like it was progressing too fast. You made it to 100 push-ups?! That is freaking AWESOME!!! I’m so envious of you! 🙂

    • Oooooh, good luck, Jen!! Hopefully I didn’t discourage you with my post, you can totally do this. And thanks, even though I made it past 100 pushups they weren’t consecutive or anything like that. I’m still proud, though. 🙂

  2. Ha I can only laugh at doing 100 pushups. I can’t even do like 2. So good for you for trying to get there even if it didn’t work out! I still think you’re pretty awesome for doing as many as you did! 130 pushups is crazyyyy. Great job, girl. You’re not a failure at all!

    • Thanks, Sarah! I know I complained a lot in this post but, despite quitting, I’m still happy with the progress I did make. No use crying over not finishing the last two days when I still did more than I started with. 🙂

  3. Wow. That’s a lot of push ups. Congrats for the ones you DID do!! Awesome!!! That is an insane amount of push ups….Happy Friday! Tara xo

    • Thanks Phaedra, I don’t see it but I definitely feel the difference. Maybe round two will produce some more visible results.

      PS – I think being able to do 15 pushups is FANTASTIC!! xoxo

  4. that is ALOT of pushups! I think in a typical yoga class I only do about 50…If you want more toned arm, pick up some free weights! Do bicep curls and tricep raises above your head in addition to pushups! Most of my arm toning has come from yoga, but swimming and free weights complement it!

    • Thanks, Nicole! I love how you say ‘only do about 50’ like that’s not a crazy amount of pushups. lol. I want toned arms but the reason I did this challenge was to increase strength to help me be a more well-rounded runner. We’ll see what happens with round 2. Since you swim, have you ever ventured into the tri world?

  5. Wow. Just wow. I like to think I’m somewhat strong, but pushups always give me trouble; I can’t imagine doing 130 in one day! Even though you didn’t finish the program, I know you kicked some serious butt. Happy Friday! 🙂

  6. oiiyyy! pushups are no fun at all! pretty sure that i cheat every time i do them! hahaha. i like your review of this though! keep on keeping on, my love!!! you’ll get that strength!! xo

  7. Good Evening

    I really enjoy the reading on your blog and I thought it was pretty kewl and some times this is what I am looking for. I read your comment from Lizforaday and I thought you have a great ideas on how to stay with it.

    thank you for motivating me

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! I just found Liz’s blog but I already think it’s fabulous. She had some awesome pointers for reaching goals, too. It’s all about knowing what you can and can’t do and then forgiving yourself when you take on too much (like I did with this pushup challenge). Happy weekend to you and feel free to stop by any time! 🙂

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