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Fitness while stuck at home Part 1 - My experience attempting 2,000 push-ups in 30 days

By CryptoWordsmith | Mixed Bag | 21 Apr 2020

Following a fitness routine consistently is not easy even in the best of times. So is it realistic to improve your fitness level during the COVID-19 pandemic? A friend forwarded me a link to the DAREBEE 30-Day Challenge - 2,000 Push-ups. We decided to do it together, because we are now both stuck at home most of the time

How hard is the challenge?  Does it work? 

I'm just over halfway through this challenge now, and here are my findings: 

What is Darebee's 30-Day Challenge - 2,000 Push-ups?

This is a strength program outlined by DAREBEE, who describe themselves as a non-profit, independent global fitness resource. The ad-free website indicates that all of the information posted has been researched and tested.  The great thing about it is that users can download and print anything for free! DAREBEE is supported entirely by donations. If you use their resources, please contribute to them!

This goal of this challenge is to complete 2,000 push-ups over 30 consecutive days. How is this accomplished?

  • The program alternates between dynamic strength training days and isometric strength training days.  You do push-ups on odd-numbered days (Days 1, 3, 5, etc.), and you hold plank pose on even-numbered days (Days 2, 4, 6, etc.). 
  • For those of you who may be new to these terms, dynamic strength training is an exercise that involves joint movement. Conversely, isometric strength exercises load the muscle in one joint position so the body is required to hold a specific position without moving for a period of time.
  • You don't need to do all the push-ups in one sitting, and you can divide doing them into manageable sets. You just need to finish them by the end of the day, so there's plenty of time to fit in rest.

How hard is it?

That's a tough question to answer because it depends on how fit you are at the beginning of the challenge.  I can only base this on my own experience, and yours will most likely be different.  I would rate my fitness level about 6 out of a possible 10 before the challenge. 

I started Day 1 by doing two sets of 20 push-ups, with about 5 minutes of rest in between.  I continued doing push-ups on odd-numbered days in sets of 20 to 25, up to Day 19 (160 push-ups). But then I stopped doing push-ups and this challenge altogether....

The problem for me was that my arms and elbows always felt tired. Despite doing push-ups on alternating days, I felt that my body wasn't getting enough rest to recover.  One of my elbows also started to ache when I was doing push-ups.

I must also admit that my motivation started to wane as the challenge progressed. It's hard to get excited about the prospect of doing more than eight sets of push-ups during the day.  In essence, I found this challenge is easy to start, but tough to complete.  In the end, I managed to complete 960 push-ups over 19 days.

Does it work?

Again, results from physical exercise will also vary for different individuals. From my experience, I noticed that my arms and upper body became more toned during the two-plus weeks I was active. I also noticed some development of my pectoral muscles, and the "love handles" around my hips seemed to get smaller. My shirts started to fit a bit more snug around my shoulders and my chest!

Other variables

It's always important to remember that individual gains are also affected by other cardiovascular exercises that you may, or may not be doing in conjunction with this challenge. Your diet also has a large impact that can't be discounted.

Lessons learned

  • Listen to your body - Please stop if you do not feel well.
  • Always work on fitness goals with a training partner - The only thing that kept me on track was knowing that I was doing this challenge together with a friend, so we were in it as a team. It would have been a lot easier to stop much earlier without working with my fitness partner.
  • Small changes can lead to significant gains - Even doing something as simple as several sets of push-ups consistently over the course of two weeks can lead to noticeable benefits. 
  • You can improve your fitness even if you stay home most of the time - This challenge was done exclusively in my home.

My recommendation  

Despite not completing the DAREBEE 30-day Challenge - 2,000 Push-ups, I'm very happy that I attempted to do it. The most important lesson that I learned is that my previous reasons for not being fit are not valid.  It doesn't take much effort to improve your fitness, even if you are stuck at home. As a result of this challenge, I plan to continue doing push-ups when my body has rested enough!

While we all cope with being stuck at home for weeks on end, I hope you can also make some small changes in your life that lead to gains that will make you happy!

If you would like to share any of your experiences trying to improve your fitness while stuck at home, I would love to hear them in the comments section below.

Good luck, stay home, and stay safe!



Cover art by bgs_digital_creator from Pixabay

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Author ⌨ • Host of Blockchain Chat podcast 🎧📻⛓ • Early beta tester for NBA Top Shot & for NFL All Day 🏈 • Nine Lives Lounge member 🏀 • If I commented on your P0x post then you got a "like" and 100% of the tip! Twitter: @CryptoWordsmith

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