A couple of months ago I noticed a few people starting the Hundred Pushups Challenge. I kind of half wanted to try it, but kept putting it off for two reasons: one, as the meme of it gained momentum, I dreaded getting all bandwagony about it; two, well… to be honest, I didn’t really believe I could do it.
You see, I have no upper body strength. Now, I know you’re thinking that that’s normal for women. But you don’t get it— I have no upper body strength whatsoever. If I need to move something, even something relatively light like the coffee table, I have to sit down on the floor and push it with my feet. If I tried to push it using my arms or shoulders, it wouldn’t go anywhere, and I’d be sore for a week.
On the other hand, I have freakishly strong legs. When I used to work out at a gym, the men would comment that after I used the leg press, they’d have to take the weight stack down to about half of what I was lifting. I have the strongest legs of anyone I know, male or female. But on the bench press machine, I struggle to press 10kg. Even 5kg gives me trouble if I try to do more than one set of ten reps. I have no idea why my two halves are so mismatched, but it has always been this way for as long as I can remember, even as a small child.
Pushups— no way. I can’t even do a single one, not even close. Not even a girl one. I can’t imagine a situation where I could lift even half my own weight using my arms and chest. I made the mistake one time of trying to do an inclined pushup (which I was told would be easier), and nearly smashed my nose into a million pieces when my arms collapsed on the first rep and I crashed face-first into the apparatus.
I have to admit that this hundred pushups thing is especially intriguing for me. The claim is that anyone can do it if they just follow the six-week program, which only requires a few minutes, three days a week. I don’t particularly expect that I’d be able to do a hundred pushups within six weeks, since I can’t even get close to doing a single one now, but I do wonder just how far I’d get, and if maybe I could hit the goal within twelve or eighteen weeks (they encourage you to repeat training weeks as many times as you need to if you feel you’re not ready to move up to the next level).
So I’ve decided to try this after all, mostly because I’m curious. I am the ultimate test of whether or not this program really can work for everyone. I’ve never met anyone with a weaker upper body than mine, and that’s including young children. If you have a pre-school daughter in your home, my guess is she can lift more than I can. I’m serious.
You’re supposed to begin this program by doing an initial test to determine your starting upper body fitness level. Boy, that didn’t take long. Number of completed pushups: zero. And you should have seen the strain— veins popping out on my neck, the whole nine yards. It’s not like I didn’t give it my very best shot. Girl (knee) pushups: same result. So it appears that for the first week at least, I’ll be doing the wall pushups as recommended. Hopefully I’ll be able to graduate to regular pushups at some point, though it’s difficult at the moment to imagine how that’s going to happen.
I’m very much approaching this as a science experiment rather than as a fitness goal. I’m curious to see if I can do it, of course, but I’m not going to beat myself up if it doesn’t happen in six weeks or even twelve. Quite a few of my blogger friends have taken this challenge before me, and unanimously the results have been amazing. I’ve also seen a couple of personal friends go from being able to do only a few pushups to being able to do fifty or more. If I could do even five standard pushups after six weeks, I would call that a phenomenal success.
So we’ll see. I’m starting tomorrow (Monday, 25 August— it’s a M-W-F sort of deal), so if anyone wants to start with me, please do comment or send me an e-mail and we’ll be pushup buddies. I’ll make an effort to track progress here, whether there is any progress or not. Feel free to gloat as you sail on past me… I have no illusions about my abilities. I’d be happy to make you feel better about your own measly progress.
Emirhan says that if I do the hundred, he’ll buy me the t-shirt. Hmm. Link