The holidays are coming and that means lots of food, time with family, and New Year’s resolutions to get back in shape. But there’s no reason to wait until the New Year to take change your lifestyle.

New Year’s resolutions are great, but our ultimate goal is for life change. That means you have to know how to handle the ups and downs of your training (you’re not always going to feel amazing when you workout).

You need to know the value of a rest day. You need to know that you’re going to fall off of the bandwagon but be willing and have a game plan to get back on the wagon before it leaves you in the dust.

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That is exactly what this plan is all about – getting you used to the desire to exercise whether you feel like it or not, whether your muscles are a little sore or feel fresh, or whether or not you think you can even handle the workout plan given to you for that day. It can be intimidating to jump back into the gym with no direction.

So why not start at home with the equipment you’ve been given…your body! This push-up challenge is great for whatever level of fitness you are at and requires no equipment to get started!

Push-ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do…if done correctly. The push-up has been thrown around as just being another chest and shoulder exercise, but in reality it is a full body movement.

A properly executed push-up will show you whether your shoulder girdles are stable, if your body has the ability to stabilize your pelvis isometrically, and if you really have true core strength.

Before we start the program though, we need to make sure you can get into the proper position and maintain it throughout the movement. We aren’t going to settle for those hip-sagging, head-dropping, elbow-flaring push-ups you did in junior high.

We want high quality reps every single time. Quality repetitions bring results and results are what we want!

To test if you are even able to get in the proper position, place your hands underneath your shoulders with your body in a straight line. This is the basic plank position. We are going to make a few adjustments from what you may normally do though.

What I want you to do is tuck your hips using your core muscles while pressing your upper body away from the ground so your shoulder blades are not flaring. Keep your neck in line with your spine (i.e. don’t let your head fall towards the floor or look up).

Hold this position for 30 seconds. If you experience heavy shaking, have trouble breathing smoothly, or feel your body beginning to sag, you are not even ready to do normal push-ups and need to do supplemental work to stabilize your core and shoulder girdles.

Email me at jmillertraining88@gmail.com if you would like to get a workout plan to prepare your body for more efficient movement. Examples of correct and incorrect form are seen below.

Correct                                                        Incorrect

As I’m sure you know there are many progressions and regressions of the push-up. These are only a few of the progressions.  I am going to list the push-ups in the order of easiest to the most difficult (that this program will discuss anyway). The progressions we will use are as follows:

1) Modified incline push-up

2) Modified push-up

3) Incline push-up

4) Push-up

5) Decline push-up

6) Lateral push-up walk

7) Push-up with shoulder taps

8) Spider man push-up

This goal of this challenge is simple: to perform 50 repetitions with perfect form, without stopping, while performing a push-up variation at least 1 progression from your current level. Even better would be if you could perform all 50 repetitions at 2 progressions from your current level!

Easier said than done! For most people, performing 50 repetitions of a modified incline push-up or a modified push-up done correctly will be plenty of a challenge. Begin with the variation of push-up variation that you can perform 10-12 repetitions of with perfect form.

Weeks 1-4

Day 1 – 30*

Day 2 – 45*

Day 3 – 60*

Day 4 – 40*

Day 5 – 55*

Day 6 – 70*

Day 7 – 45**

Day 8 – 50**

Day 9 – 55**

Day 10 – 45**

Day 11 – 55**

Day 12 – 65**

*Total number of reps can be completed throughout the entire day in as many sets as you would like.
**Total number of reps must be completed in 3 sets, but can be spread throughout the day.

Weeks 5-8

Day 1 – 30*

Day 2 – 45*

Day 3 – 60*

Day 4 – 40*

Day 5 – 55*

Day 6 – 70*

Day 7 – 45**

Day 8 – 50**

Day 9 – 55**

Day 10 – 45**

Day 11 – 55**

Day 12 – 65**

*Total number of reps must be completed in 3 sets but in the next progression of the push-up.
**Total number of reps must be completed in 2 sets but while using the original push up variation you began with.

Weeks 9-12

Day 1 – 30*

Day 2 – 45*

Day 3 – 60*

Day 4 – 50*

Day 5 – 60*

Day 6 – 70*

Day 7 – 45**

Day 8 – 50**

Day 9 – 55**

Day 10 – 45**

Day 11 – 55**

Day 12 – 65**

*Total number of reps must be completed in 2 sets and while using the next progression from the original push-up variation you began with.
**Total number of reps must be completed in 2 sets and while using the progression following the variation used in weeks 9 and 10.

Week s 13-14

Day 1 – 60*

Day 2 – 70*

Day 3 – 80*

Day 4 – 40**

Day 5 – 30**

Day 6 – TEST DAY!!!***

*Total number of reps must be completed in 2 sets any time of the day while using the push-up variation used in weeks 11-12.
**Total number of reps should be completed in 1 set while using the original variation of push-up used at the beginning of the program.
***Perform the push-ups with the progression of the original push-up variation used during the beginning of the program. If you feel like that would be too easy, use the push-up variation that is 2 progressions from the original.

You will be performing the push-ups 3 days per week and perform recovery workouts 2 days per week. Push-ups are a great exercise but we want to make sure your body is well-rounded as well!

Your Recovery Workouts are as follows:

Recovery workout 1

Exercise

Sets X Reps

Rest

1) Crab Walk

3X90 sec

2 min

2) Squats

3X2 min, 90 sec, 60 sec

2 min

3) Supermans

3X15

1 min

4) Deadbug Hold w/straight legs

3X90 sec

45 sec

Recovery workout 2

Exercise

Sets X Reps

Rest

1) Tread Water, jog, or walk

30 min

As needed

There is no room for pride here. Don’t cheat yourself by saying you can do 50 repetitions of the push-up walk when you can barely even do 5 regular push-ups without your head jutting forward as soon as your elbows bend.

We are trying to build true strength and a body that functions as a unit! Perform each repetition as if you were having your picture taken as an example for the world to see how to do the exercise.

Push yourself, get plenty of water and good nutrition in you on a daily basis, get plenty of sleep, and watch your body transform from even as simple of a program as a push up challenge!

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