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This 50 Push-Up Challenge Will Transform Your Body in 30 Days

This 50 Push-Up Challenge Will Transform Your Body in 30 Days

Yes, 50 push-up-challenge are possible! Try our 30-day challenge.

Although it’s been nearly two decades since Demi Moore starred in G.I. Jane, the moment in which Moore (as Jordan O’Neill) hammers out push-up after push-up has stayed with me. That’s something I’ve always wished for.

Why? The basic push-up is a near-perfect workout because it works various muscular groups in the arms, chest, back, and core while increasing general functional strength. But, to be honest, my upper body has never been my best friend. I could only do about eight push-ups on a good day, and they weren’t attractive. I still have a long way to go—or should I say, had a long way to go.

I decided to see how far I could go last summer. I contacted Master Trainer Shaun Zetlin, a well-known push-up expert in New York City. He published the Push-up Progression ($16, amazon.com) earlier this year, a book dedicated to this body-altering move (and its numerous variations). Zetlin set a goal of 50 reps in a month (gulp) and laid out a 30-day strategy below. He vowed, as I fought a giggle, “This is totally achievable.”

This 50 Push-Up Challenge Will Transform Your Body in 30 Days

Zetlin, on the other hand, was completely correct. What transpired in the following four weeks is detailed below.

Week one { 50 push-up-challenge}

push-up-challenge I appreciated the moderate warm-up since it allowed me to concentrate on my form. I’d start each workout in a straight-arm plank and go over Zetlin’s advice in my head: Make sure your spine is in a neutral position, with your shoulder blades aligned with your upper back and glutes. Make use of your glutes. Bring your abs in. Keep elbows from flaring past wrists and hips from sliding up. And, most importantly, remember to breathe.

The push-up is described as a “movable plank” by Zetlin, which was a helpful visual as I lowered myself down. I did my reps as thoughtfully as possible for the entire week, until the exercise began to seem natural.

Week two {50 push-up-challenge}

I can’t say I ever considered push-up-challenge fun in the past. (“Torturous” and “depressing” are better words.) But during week two, I began to enjoy the challenge. Hitting my target each time was surprisingly motivating. And knowing the jump from one workout to the next was never more than 2 or 3 reps made the process feel feasible.

Week two is also when I realised how convenient this old-school move is: it can be done anywhere, at any time, and in almost any attire. And, as the mother of an 18-month-old, I’m all about cramming exercise into as little time as possible. That usually meant doing my reps in my pyjamas after my little one had finally fallen asleep—or in my work clothes right before he awoke.

Week three Push-Up Challenge

 

·It becomes a little intimidating in the third week,” Zetlin had cautioned me. He was also correct in that regard. I was in a great rhythm until I attempted to descend and give myself 20. After 15 push-ups, I had to take a break (read: slump on the floor), and then I fought my way through the final 5. I ended up dividing each workout into two (often three) sets over the week. I emailed Zetlin to see if breathers were a huge deal:

· He said, “It’s always better to hit your target number without pausing,” because the longer muscles remain under strain, the harder they work. Plus, staying active has certain cardio benefits. But if I needed to relax, he explained, I may do so as long as each pause was under a minute.

Week four Push-Up Challenge

As the rep counts increased, I discovered that the time of day made a difference: it was simpler for me to do the reps in the morning than in the evening, when my muscles were already exhausted. I noticed that my breathing had now become important.

“As you go down, take a deep breath, and then exhale as you push away from the floor,” Zetlin had said. “It’s through breathing that your power emerges.” That appeared to be the case whenever I felt as if I had run out of options. And concentrating on my breathing enabled me to forget about the burning in my arms.

The last two days {push-up-challenge}

I’m not going to lie: increasing from 42 to 50 reps in three days was difficult. I completed the push-up-challenge with two sets of 25 push-ups, the final of which required a lot of groaning. But I was quite pleased with myself. Fifty push-ups in a row! Three times in a row! I honestly didn’t believe I’d be able to pull it off.

In addition to bragging rights, I’ve improved my posture. Because of muscle memory, Zetlin expected that this would also happen: “If you learn how to find the neutral spinal posture in your workout, you’ll start doing it in your daily life,” he stated. Indeed, I’ll catch myself elevating my head, drawing in my abs, and straightening my pelvis while waiting in line or on the metro until my body feels exactly aligned. I have undergone a complete transformation.

It’s now your turn. Put yourself and your buddies to the test. I’m confident that if I can do 50 push-ups in 30 days, so can you!

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