5-Day Push-ups Challenge: Fitness During COVID-19 Lockdown

We are stronger together!

I’ve launched a new series of short fitness challenges for anyone out there in lockdown, self-quarantine, imposed-quarantine, socially-distanced apartment living, hiding from kids / partner / boss / pets / Zoom conference participants, etc. These challenges are designed to get you moving throughout the day and to foster more connection and a stronger sense of virtual community. Whether this is your only fitness activity during these days or just a side challenge on top of a robust training program you’re following, I encourage you to join my challenges and share some support for others along the way.

Each challenge is five days or shorter in duration, with different levels offered to suit a diverse group of participants. Each challenge also has a send-some-good-vibes focus — a suggested group of people we think of and send energy to while doing the challenge.

In case you missed, check out the 5-day Air Squat Challenge4-Day Plank Challenge, 5-Day Thruster Challenge, and 1-Day Walking Lunges Challenge — all of which you can start any time. Next up: Push-ups!

5-Day Push-up Challenge

This 5-day challenge has a theme of FIVE. Do as many push-ups as you can in an unbroken set. If you stop more than 3 seconds, that breaks the set. Take that number and round it up to the next multiple of 5. Then, for the next 5 days, do a total of 5 sets of that rounded-up number. Unlike the initial benchmark test, these sets can be broken (super short breaks if needed).

Did I lose you yet? I hope not! But here are some examples to help make it clear:

  • Lucy does 22 push-ups in one set. Lucy’s goal number is now 25 push-ups. She does 3 extra push-ups right now to “finish” her first set of 25. Then, throughout the day, she does push-ups 4 more times, with each effort totaling 25 reps. For a total of 5 days, she keeps doing whatever it takes to finish 25 push-ups — for a total of 5 times each day. Lucy sets a timer to get off every 2 hours for her to do push-ups.
  • Bartholomew, aka Bart-O, does 8 push-ups in one set — with his son sitting on his back. Bart-O’s goal number is 10. Bart-O does 2 more reps to finish out his first set of 10. Then, he does 4 more sets of 10 during the day. Bart-O continues doing 5 sets of 10 for 3 days. He takes the 4th day off and then does two more days to finish out the 5 days.
  • Bart-O and Lucy sometimes argue about politics on Facebook, but not here, because they are too busy doing push-ups. We like Bart-O and Lucy.
  • Bonus example: T-Bone is new to fitness and push-ups. For the benchmark, he does 4 scaled push-ups with his hands on a chair. T-Bone’s goal number is 5. He breaks his 5 reps down to 2-2-1, sets a reminder timer and does all 5 sets each day. He takes a day off from push-ups in between each push-up day and gets his 5 days done in a 10-day window. T-Bone gets stronger in 10 days. T-Bone rocks. T-Bone is a cat, which makes him even more epic.

Technique & Scaling Options:

Excellent form is elbows close to torso, chest to ground at the bottom, and arms locked out straight at the top. If you need to scale, modify by elevating your hand position instead of dropping to your knees or allowing elbows to go wide. Elevating the hand position means putting your hands on a stable box, bench or chair. Check the third video below for lots of scaling options, including elevated hand position, bands, and more. Another great option for scaling is demonstrated in the second video below, where you allow a controlled arch on the way up and focus on the negative motion (lowering).

Want to go beast mode on this? Add a weight vest, do diamond push-ups, change the hand position each set, do 20 burpees before each set, do sets of 50, etc.

Send some vibes!

While knocking out push-ups, let’s send some good vibes to anyone you know who cuts hair, as I imagine these folks are going to be super busy in the early phase of lockdowns opening up again!

How to Join

Just ask to join this closed Facebook Group — for support and accountability. The support group on Facebook brings friendly and supportive people together from around the world. Once you’re in, feel free to add any friends who want to join. It’s not required that you post on the group, or even join it in the first place. It’s more fun and motivational in a community though! By the way, this whole thing is FREE — just good people coming together to support each other. You can start this challenge ANY DAY you want. The best day though is TODAY!

Helpful Tools & Ideas

Reminder and Accountability Apps: I use the iPhone app called Productive to remind me and keep accountable during our challenges. There are others as well. These apps are excellent for accountability.

FAQ

May I join late? What is the deadline? You may join any time you want.

How do I join if I’m not on Facebook? Just say I’m in out loud 3 times, and you’ll be in! If you want to connect the dots and receive a virtual high-five, feel free to also drop me a note at [email protected] or say hi on other social media channels (links in footer).

May I join the challenge, but start my own Facebook group for my gym, club, friends or community? Sure. I’d love to see you in the global group, so how about both? I hope you join us!

Stay fit, stay strong for yourself and those you love. We’re going to get through this together!

— Coach Jeff

Jeff Grant is the author of Flow State Runner: Activate a Powerful Inner Coach’s Voice, Hill Running: Survive & ThriveRun Faster: Unlock Your Speed in 8 Weeks, Running Heavy, and UltraRunning: Coach’s Handbook. Based in Switzerland, Jeff is a coach and writer who specializes in mental coaching, peak performance, and transformation. Jeff’s popular newsletter is a digest containing inspirational and instructional resources, including his latest content. See recent issues and subscribe for free here. Refer to Jeff’s bio for more information, and please check out Jeff’s Coach & Author page on Facebook.