Push-up Challenge Update

This is a follow-up to my "1,000,000 Push-ups" post.  Check out that post for the reasoning behind this challenge.

Update on the Numbers

Today is my birthday, which marks the one year mark since I started my 1,000,000 push-up challenge. My goal for the first year was to average 50 push-ups a day, and I ended up averaging a little over 51, finishing the year 455 push-ups ahead of my goal.  You can see all of the numbers on the Google Doc.  That's great, but unfortunately I was taking it easy the first year, and if I want to hit my goal of 1,000,000 push-ups by the age of 50 I have to average 112 push-ups a day for the next 24 years.  As a result I'm setting my daily goal for this year at 100 push-ups - still below where I need to be, but I'm planning on continuing to raise that number in future years, which will allow me to catch up.

Has it Been Hard?

One thing that surprised me about this challenge is that it hasn't been getting any easier.  Every night I have just as much trouble getting through my sets of push-ups, and I don't really feel like I can get into a groove where I knock them out with no trouble.  In hindsight this should have been expected, one key to muscle growth is continually outdoing previous workouts and pushing yourself, and I basically do the same exercise every day.  As a result I might decide to increase my daily goal beyond 100 before the year is up, depending on how things go.

I've also started doing all of my push-ups in two sets instead of three, since I knew that I could keep my spreadsheet green by only doing 50 each day.  I didn't really have any motivation to do extra push-ups, since I set such a conservative goal for the first year.  This is another reason why bumping the number makes sense - it will require me to challenge myself a little more and spend a bit more time working out each day.


If you look at the doc, you will see that I pretty much stopped doing "perfect pushups" a short way into the challenge.  To be honest, the main reason for this was that they are more difficult, and I got lazy.  Calling the ones I do "normal" is a bit of a misnomer though, since when I am home I always use the perfect pushup handles so I can get a deeper push-up, I just don't rotate them.  I also find that using the handles helps keep my wrists from getting sore, which is a big plus as well.  I plan on continuing to use them going forward.

Closing Thoughts

Weekends have been the most challenging time to get my push-ups done, as you might imagine.  Since I do them in the evening, there are nights when I'm out late with Steph or my friends, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is exercise.  Those situations typically result in the occasional 0-days that you see on the doc.  I don't think this is a big problem, since I still ended up ahead of my goal, but it's a reminder that if I want to avoid skipping days I have to do my push-ups early in the day on Fridays/Saturdays.

Overall the challenge has been fun, although the prospect of doing this for another 24 years is still intimidating.  I'm contemplating ramping up my numbers more quickly, and trying to finish much sooner.  I figure I'll play it by ear and see how things go with my new daily goal over the next few months.  Whatever happens, I'll be posting about it here!


  1. John, here's a good article on pushups, technique, and variations. I'm sure as a master push up...er, you're already familiar with these, but a lot of people butcher pushups and there are some good cues in here.

    1. Thanks Neal, there's a lot of good stuff in that article. I definitely focus on doing them correctly - maybe I'll post a video for my next update and you can make sure I'm not slacking!


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