Spartan Race

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Quack Knocks Out a Hundred

It's nice when a product does what it says it does. Some time back in December, I stumbled upon an app on my Ipod Touch called 100 push ups that promised to get you to the point where you could do just that. I find that I do a better job of exercising when I have a goal in mind - that's why I'm always signed up for at least one race past the one I'm training for at the moment. Given that, it sounded like an pretty ideal exercise program - quick, simple, underrated exercise (push up), specific, concrete objective one is trying to reach (100 reps), prescribed time period (about 7 weeks). I downloaded the app for a nominal fee, and got started (don't have an iphone/ipod touch, don't worry - it's also available online at

I started the week of Christmas. The app is fairly simple. You are first given an initial test to determine you baseline (nothing fancy, just the number of push ups you can do in a row with good form) and then you are given a set number of reps and sets to perform 3 days a week based on your initial performance. The Ipod version keeps track of these for you and even graphs them if you like. It will also let you broadcast your progress on twitter and facebook, if you are so inclined.

I did well enough on the initial exam to get placed in the highest of the three categories. I found the first couple of weeks challenging, but easily doable. Then came the Goofy. Given that I was a bit concerned about just being able to finish this race, I decided to take a hiatus from any form of cross training for a few weeks. It seems I was able to do this fairly easily, but it did end up stretching me beyond the seven week goal.

Over the next several weeks, I saw a really profound increase in the number of push ups I could do. You actually hit one hundred total push ups by week three, though that includes all the sets. I also found out around that time, that this program was the brainchild of an acquaintance, Steve Speirs, aka @britishbulldog.

The end of week 4 requires another test to exhaustion. While I was able to crank out the maximum level of reps required stay in the highest category, I did make the mistake of then trying to get my sets in after the test. At that point, I decided that it was probably better not to test and work out on the same day.

For the next month or so, I kept plugging along. Unfortunately, I didn't quite keep to the three work outs a week, more like a three every ten days, and while think I would have made better progress had I kept to the rigid schedule, I don't think it ultimately hurt me. A few days ago, I cranked out a total of 274 push ups. I woke up this morning, expecting the daily tally to be in the 300 range, and was surprised to learn that I had completed the program - I just needed to do my final test.

Somewhat nervously, I started at 100 counted down. I didn't even really feel anything until I hit 40 (after 60 push ups). About 25, things started getting hard, and I have to admit, I had to pause a few times and collect myself during the last 20, but I made it, in what I would consider one set. And tomorrow, I'm going to do 105. Mu.

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