Remember when I did that Army PFT thing? My personal push-up best, at that time, was 30 pushups. That’s 30 on-your-toes push-ups. In 2 minutes.
I came across this article about how most people in the U.S. can’t do what’s considered a healthy amount of push-ups. A healthy amount of push-ups is not even that high of a number. But it is considered the “ultimate barometer” of physical fitness because it engages so much of your body. If you need the point driven home, if you can do push-ups, the chances you can a) catch yourself and b) right yourself if you fall improve dramatically. As you get older, falls are more and more likely and your need to mitigate that risk is greater and greater.
The push-up calculator at ExRx.net gives you an idea of what’s average, good, and excellent (and fair, and poor) for your gender and age. For a woman my age (that’s 30 years old, thank you very much), 13-32 push-ups is average. 33-43 is good. Over 43 is excellent.
(Does 13-32 seem awfully broad for an average range to you? Yeah, me too.)
So Missy and I have been doing push-ups most nights for the last few weeks. The
girl female subject variation.* We both started off around 18 or 19 in our first exhaustion test. Our most recent bests are 42 for me and I think 45 for her. That would be the total for the first set. We then do a second set to exhaustion. This count is more variable. I can do 25-40 on the second set.
*I have no qualms about this whatsoever. Apparently, it’s a feat to do as many as we’re doing. Besides, men and women have different centers of gravity. Actually I’m sure that has nothing to do with it. Never mind.
So then last week Twitter revealed to me this one hundred push-ups thing. I thought, “Hey! We’re already doing that! Kinda.” You know how I like numbers and charts and I can never run without a training plan/schedule. I thought this would be a good way to give us some structure and a goal and, most importantly, an endpoint to this push-up thing. Missy did not want to go on, but of course as soon as I said I was doing it anyway she wanted to do it, too. We started last week. In compromise, we started on the second week of the program.
At the end of the second week you do another exhaustion test to determine which set of reps you use for the next two weeks. Sorry to report that we struggled mightily through our exhaustion test and both ended up with 40. Missy speculated that the shorter sets don’t actually help you build up any endurance. I’m inclined to agree. They probably do fine for building strength when you don’t have much of it as the program expects you don’t in the first two weeks.
Anyway, at least we’re doing them. Give it a whirl. You will most definitely suck at first, but you will improve quickly. I promise. *flex*