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A Push Up Workout Where I Do One Set Everyday For 21 Straight Days

For my first ever lifestyle experiment, I decided to do a push up workout that consisted of one set of pushups, every day for 21 straight days.

Every day, I would hit the floor some time during the day, and see how many pushups I could do without stopping.

The reasons behind this experiment are not what you might expect. Here are a couple of reasons why I did NOT do this experiment...

1. To get buff. It's hard to believe, but it made no difference to me if I looked exactly the same after doing the experiment. All I truly cared about was the number that I completed each day.

2. To become physically stronger. I didn't do this experiment because I wanted to be able to lift things around the house easier. Yes, I wanted to be stronger so I could do more push ups. But other than that, any added strength didn't really matter to me.

Here are the reasons why I DID do this experiment...

1. The challenge. First, I wanted to see if I could be disciplined enough to continue the program for 21 straight days. With the Christmas holidays floating around, I knew it was going to be tough. But I wanted to see how much could be accomplished in a relatively short amount of time.

2. The quest for 100 push ups. I wrote an article awhile back about how anyone could eventually get to 100 push ups. It inspired a lot of people, including myself! So I wanted to see if I could start walking the walk instead of just talking the talk.

3. To try my first ever personal development experiment. I've been wanting to add some first-hand experiments to the site for awhile now. And I finally decided that it's now or never. I think this is possibly the easiest 21 day experiment you can possibly do. Seeing that it only takes a commitment of about two minutes per day!

The Goal And Prediction

My goal, first and foremost, was to see if I could actually go 21 straight days of doing a set of push ups. I wanted to see if I could...

1. stick with it
2. not forget or make excuses and miss a day

Another goal I had was to reach 50 push ups. If I'm being perfectly honest, I would have predicted that I wouldn't reach this goal. I used to be a pretty serious weight lifter when I was younger, and during the strongest time in my life, the most I ever did was 44 push ups.

Starting this experiment, I was nowhere near the strength that I used to be. While I used to be able to bench press 225 pounds, today I would be lucky to lift 175.

Nevertheless, I was hoping to reach 50 push ups somehow.

How The Experiment Was Conducted

The experiment was as simple as I could possibly make it. Drop and hit the floor every day and see how many push ups I could do.

I could do my set of push ups any time during the day. I could also do it from anywhere. In fact, my experiment ended up going through four different houses of relatives for the holiday season!

I had no other restrictions whatsoever. Just do a set of push ups. Then write down how many I did. Now...

I know this isn't the most recommended way to go about having a push ups workout. When you lift weights, you aren't supposed to work the same muscles on consecutive days. It takes your muscles roughly 48 hours to fully recover from a workout.

However, since I was only doing one set, I thought I could bend the rules a little bit.

If I was doing this the scientific way, I would probably do about 5-10 sets of push ups, and do them every other day. But seeing that this experiment was more of a challenge to follow through with a program, I thought doing one set every day seemed like a good enough challenge.

Push Ups Analysis

So what kind of results did I get? Here's a chart detailing my results...

Date (Year 2008)

Push-Ups Completed

Dec. 9


Dec. 10


Dec. 11


Dec. 12


Dec. 13


Dec. 14


Dec. 15


Dec. 16


Dec. 17


Dec. 18


Dec. 19


Dec. 20


Dec. 21


Dec. 22


Dec. 23


Dec. 24


Dec. 25


Dec. 26


Dec. 27


Dec. 28


Dec. 29


As you can see, the numbers fluctuated on a daily basis. Even though each day I was hoping to do one more push up then I did the day before.

As you can also see, I did in fact reach my goal of 50 push ups! Woo hoo! I'll never forget it actually. I was doing the set in my in-laws bathroom before I was about to take a shower. And by some miracle, I was able to do exactly 50!

Even though the numbers fluctuated, you can definitely tell that I was getting stronger. Something I wasn't convinced would happen by doing only one set each day.

I have to proudly admit that I was able to do 47 push ups on Dec. 19th despite being hungover from a Christmas party. And I also must point out that on Dec. 28th, the reason I only made it to 43 push ups was probably because I had just ate about two pounds of spaghetti!

If this was the perfect experiment, I would have done each set of push ups at the exact same time each day. Probably first thing in the morning when I woke up. But I wanted this to be easy, so I didn't give that limitation.


I have to admit, I was pretty ecstatic when I reached that 50 push ups goal. I was pretty convinced that it would never happen!

But seeing as it did, it's given me a whole new level of confidence about my push ups theory. I'm thoroughly convinced that if I stick to this exact same program (maybe I'll skip Sundays) for the next few months, I know I'll be able to reach that goal of 100 push ups.

So that's what I will likely do. Whenever I get to 100 push ups, I'll be sure to add a video of me huffing and puffing. For now, I'm still trying to figure out how to use my video camera on the computer.

If you like challenges, I would love for you to give this a try and tell me how it went. It's fun seeing how such a little bit of effort every day can lead to when you stay commited.

Have fun and good luck!

*Update Feb. 10, 2009* I've done 21 more days of push ups.

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