Fall Fitness 2022: Push Up Challenge

Fall has arrived, and we are now in the midst of the bustling holiday season.

5 min read

Fitness Programs

Fall Fitness 2022: Push Up Challenge

Fall has arrived and we are now amid the bustling holiday season. While there are so many joys that come with this time of year, it can also be difficult to keep up with your healthy habits like exercise and nutrition. That’s why Sunny trainers are here to invite you to join a 100 push-up challenge! This might sound like a lot right now but stay consistent with this push-up focused strength training program and you will be hitting this goal in no time. Stick with your fitness goals and jump in on our Fall 2022 fitness challenge to keep you motivated through the New Year!


Why Push-Ups?

Push-Ups continue to be a staple of many fitness programs for a reason. You might think of the push-up simply as an exercise to work your arms, but it is so much more than that. Push-ups are a compound exercise, meaning you will be working several muscle groups in one exercise. Your chest, triceps, core, and shoulders will all benefit from this simple yet powerful exercise. Additionally, research has shown that individuals who are able to do more than 40 push-ups were associated with significant risk reduction of a cardiovascular event.1 So, let’s get to it!


Let’s Talk About Form

Before starting this program, it’s important to make sure you have correct form to get the most out of this exercise and to avoid injury. Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you’re mastering the perfect push-up:

  1. Keep your head, shoulders, hips, and ankles in a straight line. Make sure your hips aren’t sagging down or lifting too high.
  2. Neck is neutral, with the gaze slightly in front of the hands.
  3. Engage the core and the glutes.
  4. Lower the body down in one motion, maintaining the straight line from the head to the ankles.
  5. Elbows should be tucked into the sides; lower to hover above the floor and push back up.


6-Week Training Plan

To set you up for success for your 100-rep goal, you can follow along with this 6-week training program. The program is going to target all the major muscle groups required to move through a push-up with strength and endurance. Of course, as no surprise, each workout will include push-ups! This program includes three days of strength training per week, but don’t forget that cardio! Take time to include about 30 minutes of your favorite type of cardio on the days you aren’t strength training. Below is a sample of how you can set up your week:

  • Monday: Sunny Strength Upper Body Workout
  • Tuesday: 30 minutes brisk walk
  • Wednesday: Sunny Strength Lower Body Workout
  • Thursday: 30 minutes elliptical training
  • Friday: Sunny Strength Core/Full Body Workout
  • Saturday: 30 minutes light jog
  • Sunday: Rest Day


Sunny Strength Upper Body Workout

There are several upper body muscle groups that are required to perform a push-up. We will focus on the pectoralis major, the rotator cuff muscles, the triceps, and the middle and low traps. This will guide the exercises for your upper body workout over the next 6 weeks.

  • Weeks 1, 3, & 5:
  1. Incline push-ups—20 reps, 2-3 sets
  2. Double-arm resistance band external rotation—20 reps, 2-3 sets
  3. Skull crushers—15 reps, 2-3 sets
  4. Serratus punches—15 reps, 2-3 sets
  5. Bent over dumbbell row—15 reps, 2-3 sets
  • Weeks 2, 4, & 6:
  1. Burpees w/push-up—20 reps, 2-3 sets
  2. High-to-low row with resistance band, 2-3 sets
  3. Bear Crawls—30 seconds, 2-3 sets
  4. Overhead triceps extensions, 15 reps, 2-3 sets
  5. Reverse flys—15 reps, 2-3 sets


Sunny Strength Lower Body Workout

Although the legs are not actively moving during a push-up, there are various lower body muscles engaged during this exercise. Primarily, we will be focusing on glutes, hamstrings, hip flexor complex, and quad complex.

  • Weeks 1, 3, & 5:
  1. Glute Bridges—20 reps, 2-3 sets
  2. Dumbbell deadlifts—15 reps, 2-3 sets
  3. Goblet squats—15 reps, 2-3 sets
  4. Side-lying clamshells—15 reps per side, 2-3 sets
  5. Push-ups to failure (as many as you can do!)
  • Weeks 2, 4, & 6:
  1. Single Leg Glute Bridges—15 reps per side, 2-3 sets
  2. Good mornings—15 reps, 2-3 sets
  3. Sumo squats—15 reps, 2-3 sets
  4. Fire hydrants—15 reps per side, 2-3 sets
  5. Push-ups to failure (as many as you can do!)


Sunny Strength Core/Full Body Workout

The core is an essential group of muscles that move, support, and stabilize your spine. In a push-up, the core muscles keep the spine stable, injury-free, and prevent breakdown of form. Needless to say, a strong core is important for a perfect push-up!

  • Weeks 1, 3, & 5:
  1. Dead bugs—20 reps per side, 2-3 sets
  2. Bird dogs—20 reps per side, 2-3 sets
  3. Figure 4 reverse crunches—10 reps per side, 2-3 sets
  4. Butterfly crunches—20 reps, 2-3 sets
  5. Plank hold to failure (as long as you can go!)
  • Weeks 2, 4, & 6:
  1. Hollow body holds—30 seconds, 2-3 sets
  2. Supermans—30 seconds, 2-3 sets
  3. Flutter kicks—30 seconds, 2-3 sets
  4. Side planks---30 seconds each side, 2-3 sets
  5. Plank hold to failure (as long as you can go!)


The Challenge

After completing the 6-week training plan, it’s time to test yourself! Pick a day where you feel rested and minimally fatigued. There are several ways you can assess yourself with this challenge:


Straight Through

In this challenge variation, you will do 100 traditional push-ups without resting. If you are confident in your push-up ability, and this movement comes relatively easy to you, challenge yourself by doing the 100 push-ups without any rest.


In Sets

Complete the traditional push-ups with planned breaks in between. This can look a little different for everyone depending on your ability level. If push-ups are a newer movement for you, try 5 sets of 20. If you just need a short reprieve at some point during your challenge, try 2 sets of 50.


Modified Straight Through or in Sets

You can complete this challenge with any push-up modification that feels right for you. This could be knee push-ups, incline push-ups, or decline push-ups (if you want even more of a challenge!). You can also decide to do the modified push-ups straight through with no rest or break the challenge up into sets.


The Bottom Line

The focus of this challenge is to stay consistent with your workout plan and then push yourself during the challenge portion. This challenge is for YOU and to motivate YOU—you can modify it however you like to best suit your needs. Take this opportunity to celebrate your body and your ability to get strong this holiday season!


(1) Association Between Push-up Exercise Capacity and Future Cardiovascular Events Among Active Adult Men,  JAMA, 2019, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2724778/  Accessed 10, November 2022


Fall Fitness 2022 Push Up Challenge infographic



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