At the beginning of this year, I had no idea if I’d have the credibility to write a post on how to achieve 500 pushups a day, let alone 1000 pushups. Now that the end is just days away, I have my answer.
Achieving 1000 pushups a day during 2020 was one of my New Year’s Resolutions. By mid-August, I thought I had a lock on it. From there, however, my 42-year-old muscles began trying to tell me something.
As did people who care deeply about me. So this post is as much about embracing my physical limits as it is about expanding them.
It all began with 500 pushups a day…
Shortly after being married in the spring of 2003, I decided to try knocking out 500 pushups a day. Because I’d always been relatively fit and could complete 120 pushups without stopping, I thought 500 would be no problem.
I completed my goal – but was so sore for the next few days that I cringed whenever my wife touched my chest or arms. BIG problem! Years later, we were still laughing occasionally about that experience.
Fast forward to when my oldest son turned 15 and started doing pushups every morning. Just six months into his routine, he was doing 250 pushups a day non-stop.
And one day, he was able to complete 500 pushups a day with absolutely no soreness afterward.
Because he’d been smart enough to work his way up to that goal for over half a year! I confess to having had mixed feelings about his achievement: a Dad’s pride in his son’s dedication and shame at the fact he’d surpassed me.
But I also felt inspired to give him some competition and began training again for my old 500-a-day goal. Maybe, I thought, I’ll even outshine him and let him know I’m still the boss.
Having already become 100-percent plant-based, I was confident my body would recover more quickly, with much less inflammation. So by the end of 2019, I’d decided on a New Year’s Resolution.
I’d increase my number of daily pushups each month and complete 1000 pushups per day by December. After developing a routine I called MESH ( more on that tomorrow), I began the new regimen on January 1, 2020.
No detours on the way to 1000 pushups a day?
During January, I did “just 100” daily pushups. After adding another 100 per day for each of the next three months, the figure was up to 500 pushups a day on May 1. It remained there for the next 30 days.
That included May 6, my 42nd birthday! I’d learned that constant repetition was the key – no weekend, birthday, or other special-occasion breaks. Just my daily routine through thick and thin!
By August, I’d reached the 800-daily mark and was on track to hit 1000 pushups well before December. Believing accomplishing my goal was now inevitable, I decided to take Sundays off.
Another mistake, but not the last one.
Doing 1000 pushups a day: the mind says “Go!” but …
Taking a Sunday break made the Monday pushups a real battle. During late August, staying consistent was a struggle.
I began September with renewed enthusiasm. But soon, it was a different story. Earlier in the month, my wife had warned me about over-exerting myself.
She even wondered out loud if “death-by-pushups” is a real thing. And she wasn’t alone. One of my brothers-in-law was concerned I’d injure myself. But did I listen?
Nope! I responded to both of them with laughter, saying I wasn’t worried.
And at the time I said it, I believed it. Before getting started back in January, I’d researched the proper form to protect me from injury as I reached my 1000 pushups a day goal.
I’d also read about people who’ve held the world’s record for pushups in a day. Like this guy, they were all way ahead of me:
“The most pushups completed in 24 hours was 46,001 by Charles Servizio (USA) in Fontana, California, USA, on 24-25 April 1993.”
So I plowed forward – and during the last week of September, crashed head-on into my physical limits. Without going into detail, I closed out the month flat on my back, in bed.
Not about to give up, I finally accepted that I needed a two-month hiatus to recover. And before my second round of training, I created a spreadsheet.
On November 23, I did 210 pushups. The goal since then has been to increase my previous day’s number by at least 20. And…
Today’s the first day I’ve ever done 1000 pushups!
Having arrived at this milestone, I’m just a little sore. But I’m also a lot better off for the lessons I’ve learned – and will share tomorrow.
And my oldest son, who just turned 17? While he’s joined some of my 2020 pushup sessions, he’s quick to acknowledge my lead. 500 pushups a day no longer cuts it.
This afternoon, however, he expressed his pride in me and then added:
“I’m going to have to do more pushups now.”
This week, he and I will finalize our 2021 New Year’s Resolutions.