100 Pushups a Day for 30 Days

by | Jan 13, 2023 | 0 comments |

Jeremy Ethier is a kinesiologist and fitness trainer, co-founder of Built With Science. His YouTube channel has over 4 million subscribers and he delivers clear information with sound background research.  He’s also one of our favorite youtubers and influencers on fitness

Have you heard about this challenge – 100 push-ups a day for 30 days? Find out what happens to your body if you do that.

Jeremy asks these questions:

But … what really happens to your body if you do 100 pushups a day for 30 days?

  • Will 100 pushups a day do anything?
  • What muscles will grow and by how much?
  • How much will your strength improve?
  • Are there any side effects you should know about?
  • What happens after the 30 days are over?
  • Is it even worth your time and effort?

The push-up is one of the best bodyweight exercises for your upper body – it is great for building strength in your chest and triceps especially. But some people take it to the extreme and perform 100 push-ups a day for a full month. Jeremy Ethier talked about the effects and side effects of doing that.

What muscles will grow, and by how much? How much will your strength improve? Are there any side effects you need to be aware of? Is it even worth doing it? Provided that your form is in check, what kind of growth can you expect from doing 100 pushups a day?

Backed by science

To answer that, let’s take a look at this 2015 paper where researchers measured muscle activity levels during the push-up. The highest activated muscles were the:

  • Chest
  • Triceps
  • Front of the shoulders
  • Core, and
  • Serratus anterior
Muscle groups that will grow from doing 100 pushups a day

These are likely where you’ll experience most of the improvements in terms of size and definition.

As for how much of an improvement to expect in these muscles? Although we’ll dive into the specifics later on in this article, Jeremy highlights a 2017 study published in the Journal of Exercise and Fitness that shows just how effective push-ups can be.

The researchers measured muscle size and strength in two groups of untrained subjects:

  • Group 1: Used only pushups during their workouts
  • Group 2: Used only benchpress during their workouts

After 8 weeks, the authors found similar size and strength increases in both groups’ chest and triceps muscles. This suggests that, at least for beginners, pushups can be just as effective as the bench press.

100 Push-Ups a Day for 30 Days

The most noticeable effect you will experience during the first week is called DOMS which stands for delayed onset muscle soreness – the tenderness and soreness you’ll experience in your muscles one to two days after exercise.

Since you’re not used to doing 100 push-ups a day, you will experience the highest amount of soreness in your chest, shoulders and arms during the first few days, but it should die down after the first week. If you feel soreness on your traps or lower back, it means your push-up form is not correct.

In general, our muscles tend to fully recover after 48 hours of rest. So if you are doing 100 push-ups a day, the muscles are not getting enough time to recover and you will feel more fatigued during weeks 3 and 4. And it is during the recovery process that muscles grow bigger and stronger.

By the time week 4 hits, you will have overtrained your frontal muscles of the chest, arms and core, but not your back. That can lead to a hunched-over position with the shoulder rounded forward. To prevent that, you need to work your back and shoulders.

You might also feel discomfort first on your wrists if you are performing push-ups on the floor. If possible, use anything that you can grip to perform the push-up (like a pair of dumbbells or paralletes) so you don’t have to place your hands on the floor.

Do you get results?

So, in the pushup study Jeremy mentioned at the beginning, the subjects weren’t doing anywhere near 100 pushups a day. Instead, they were assigned 3 sets of pushups to failure twice a week.

The max number of push-ups they could do in a row was around 30 reps, which would equate to about 90 push-ups being done each session. A total of roughly 180 push-ups per week. Although this sounds like nothing compared to 100 push-ups a day, they still experienced significant growth.

Over the course of 8 weeks, they experienced the following:

  • Chest growth: 18.3% increase in the muscle thickness, equating to about a 3 mm increase in thickness
  • Triceps growth: 9.5% increase in growth, equating to about a 3 mm increase in thickness

The researchers mentioned that this rate of growth is similar to other past studies.

So, if you halve these numbers, you can get a rough sense of the kind of growth you can experience after a month of doing pushups just twice a week.

If you were to do 100 pushups a day, would you experience more growth?

Well, you would expect it to be similar or perhaps even less because you’re not giving your body adequate time to recover and grow. In addition, keep in mind that after these 30 days, if your body gets stronger, it will need more of a challenge to continue growing.

Eventually, standard pushups just won’t be enough, and you’ll have to start incorporating bands or added weight.

Bottom Line: Is Doing 100 Pushups A Day Good Or Worth It?

Now as for whether this is all worth it or not, honestly, I would not recommend the standard approach of doing 100 pushups a day for 30 days, every day without rest. It just causes too many recovery issues and lacks the progression you need to continue seeing results past 30 days.

One benefit it does provide however is it gets you in the habit of exercising. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door and build momentum.

That said, this routine can definitely be made far better.

With a few tweaks, it has the ability to provide even more growth with less effort and less strain on your body. I will be working on an article that shows you a “better” way to execute the 100 pushups a day challenge, though, and I’ll provide a link once it’s done. Keep your eyes peeled for it!

See the full article on builtwithscience.com:  https://builtwithscience.com/workouts/100-pushups-a-day-for-30-days-results/

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