Join the 30-Day Push-Up Challenge for Upper-Body Strength, Stability and Stamina

a square infographic shows the daily calendar for the 30-day push-up challenge starting with 5 push-ups on day 1 and building up to 60 push-ups on day 30 with rest days every 7 days
Modify your push-ups by lowering to your knees or break them into smaller sets as you progress through the 30-Day Push-Up Challenge.
Image Credit: Fly View Productions/Getty Images

Healthy habits are built one day at a time. Our monthly fitness challenges can help you stay on track all year long.

The number of push-ups you can do is often tossed around as a benchmark for strength — and with good reason. Push-ups are one of the best upper-body exercises, building muscle size, strength and endurance — without any equipment.

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We put together this month-long challenge to help you take advantage of all the impressive benefits of push-ups. You'll build upper-body strength in just 30 days ‌and‌ you'll get the bragging rights after you knock out 60 push-ups in one day. (Don't worry, you'll build up to that!)

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How the 30-Day Push-Up Challenge Works

Starting Tuesday, November 1, 2022, the LIVESTRONG.com team is hosting our next round of the 30-Day Push-Up Challenge in our Challenge Facebook Group, but you can participate in the challenge any time you want on your own.

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In our version of the push-up challenge, you'll start on Day 1 with 5 push-ups. Each day, you'll add about 2 reps to the previous day's total, and every seventh day, you'll rest. On the very last day of the challenge (Day 30), you'll finish with 60 push-ups.

That may seem like a lot if you're just starting out, but the goal of this challenge is to build strength throughout the month and push you beyond what you think is possible. Plus, you don't have to do all of your daily push-ups in one go: You can break them into smaller sets throughout the day.

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The Challenge Calendar

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Get a printer-friendly version of the challenge calendar here.

How to Do the Push-Up Challenge

1. Print and/or Save Your Challenge Calendar

Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it, so you never forget what day you're on. Cross off the days as you complete them, so you always know how many reps you have to do the next day.

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​2. Join Our Challenge Facebook Group

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Our community of more than 55,000 members is here to support and motivate you through this challenge. Share your progress by posting photos or videos of your push-ups or simply tell the group how the day's reps went.

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3. Perfect Your Push-Up Form

Make sure your form is flawless before you add more reps. At best, poor form makes an exercise ineffective. At worst, it puts you at risk for injury.

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Intermediate
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Upper Body
  1. Start in a high plank on your hands and toes, with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  2. Contract your abs so your hips don't sag and your back doesn't arch.
  3. Bend your elbows as you lower your chest to the ground, keeping your hips level. Your elbows should be at about 45-degree angles from your body.
  4. Once you lower as far as you can, push yourself back up to a plank.

4. Know How and When to Modify

Don't worry about pumping out full-on, military-style push-ups right from the start. If you find yourself struggling, try a couple different push-up modifications — the incline push-up and the knee push-up — until you build more upper-body and core strength.

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1. Incline Push-Up

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Beginner
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Start in a high plank on your hands and toes, with your hands on a bench, chair, table or other sturdy object directly under your shoulders.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the bench.
  3. Push back up to a plank.

Tip

This variation is your best bet for progressing to standard push-ups, as it also builds the core strength you'll need for the full version.

You can also perform incline push-ups against a wall to modify further. Or if push-ups are hard on your wrists, try doing them on your fists or balancing on heavy dumbbells.

2. Knee Push-Up

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Beginner
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Start in a plank on your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to hips to knees.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest all the way to the floor (or however far your mobility and strength allow you to comfortably go).
  3. Push back up, keeping your back straight and hips level the entire time.

Tip

Try breaking up your reps into smaller sets. You can do your push-ups anytime, anywhere. And it’s fine to do a few reps at a time with a small rest in between or to do sets of push-ups throughout the day.

For example, you can do some in the morning when you first wake up, then some in the evening before you get ready for bed. Look for moments throughout the day when you can squeeze in your reps — like if you've been sitting too long at your desk or during a commercial break in your favorite show.

​5. Try Variations for Every Fitness Level

Doing the same exercise over and over (and over) again is a recipe for boredom and burnout. That's why you might want to mix things up with push-up variations.

Beginners can modify with incline or knee push-ups (see above), while more advanced exercisers can try variations like stability ball or plyo push-ups. Experiment with the best push-up variations to keep this challenge from getting stale.

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6. Stretch When You're Sore

After busting out a bunch of reps, you'll want to stretch the muscles you've been strengthening. If your arms, shoulders and/or chest muscles need a little relief, try these upper-body stretches to ease muscle soreness after doing daily push-ups.

7. Don't Lose Steam

It's easy to start the challenge strong and then see your enthusiasm wane as the month progresses. Don't let that be you! Join our Challenge Facebook Group to get support and motivation from other participants.

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Or try these other ideas to keep yourself accountable:

  • Recruit friends, family members or co-workers to do the challenge with you and check in with them regularly.
  • Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to do push-ups at the same time every day.
  • Give yourself small weekly (or daily) rewards for getting all your reps done.

8. Celebrate Your Success

You made it to the end of the 30-Day Push-Up Challenge! Take some time to appreciate that accomplishment — and let us know how it went in our Challenge Facebook Group.

When you're ready, keep your momentum going with a new challenge, such as:

You can do any of our challenges on your own whenever you want, or you can visit our Challenges page to see what we have planned for the full year.

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