The 100 pumps challenge

Do you think you will never get there? We show you the method to reach a hundred pumps. Become stronger, more beautiful, healthier … Not to mention the feeling of pride that will overwhelm you.

The 100 pumps challenge

For years, the pumps scared me. Or rather, it was the pump number 20 that scared me, a limit beyond which I usually succumbed to a feeling of trembling in my arms became cottony before collapsing on the sofa. Other activities such as football, crosstraining, long-distance running do not cause as much concern. But that’s also why these are not the exercises of choice for solitary vigilantes in the cinema. Think of Bronson, Taxi Driver, Rambo. None of these guys work out on a treadmill while listening to a playlist. One day, a friend told me about a site that promised to reach 100 pumps in just six weeks:

100 consecutive push-ups, five times the limit I had set for myself both in my head and my arms. But was it achievable? Apparently yes. From the popular program on this site was born a book,  7 Weeks To 100 Push-Ups ( Ulysses Press), and an iPhone application that has already been downloaded more than 200,000 times. Steve Speirs, the web developer, marathon runner behind the program observed several daily military pieces of training to create one that is progressive and easy to learn.

My friend Ben and I decided to try it. Both of us in our forties, we are well aware, in terms of muscle development, that we are closer to the end than to the beginning. In addition, there is the desire – pride requires – to join the elite of the three-figure pump makers. Pumps are an ideal exercise, in terms of saving time, space and efficiency. ”  This is the most effective exercise for building your chest, arms, deltoid, abs, glutes, and lower back,” says Steve Speirs. Regular training helps to postpone the inevitable loss of muscle mass linked to aging. Steve Speirs does not play the drill sergeant, and he has a rather encouraging approach.

For the weakest, the first week of this program includes 4 series of 2, 3, 3 and 2 pumps respectively, followed by the fifth series of at least 3 pumps. However, having succeeded (to my surprise) 30 pumps during the initial test, I was able to go directly to column three of the so-called “advanced” program. There too I flew over the exercise with disconcerting ease. The second week is just as peaceful and I ended it by being able to do 45 push-ups. Luckily, my friend Ben was a week ahead of me and he was my guide. In the third week, I passed the 50 marks. Now, serious things really started and, in the fourth week, it was the accident. “Stretching, lots of stretching”. This was the advice of Stuart Amory, director of In-Kilter Fitness. In the middle of the fourth week, a slight cracking sensation under the scapula told me that I had torn a muscle. Result: two weeks of rest. Back in the fifth week, I had to do it twice to finally manage to do 71 push-ups. I was getting closer. Then, as the sixth week started to catch my eye, I slipped into the snow and injured my hand. New forced to rest. Ben finished the program. But he had to do it twice in the sixth week, especially on the last day, which totaled 270 push-ups. However, once the program ended, he succeeded without too much difficulty in exploding the fateful threshold of 100 pumps, having increased his muscular strength through repetitions and exhaustion tests. In no time, this pale youthful friend with a puny appearance had turned into a bell-cut cut in V. Our objectives are different: without exercise, Ben changes into Laurel of 57kg and me into Hardy of 97kg. There is, therefore, no spirit of competition between us …

If you follow the program from start to finish, you will burn a total of about 17,073 kilocalories just by doing pushups. In addition, this type of exercise has amazing positive effects on your long-term health. A 2009 article in the  Archives of Neurology shows that increased muscle strength reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease at an older age. Motivating, right?

”  It has taken months to reach 100 push-ups, saying they will not be satisfied until they are done with the program,” said Steve Speirs. I’m really not the tough guy, but I’ve managed to take on the challenge many times.  For me, the cap of 71 pumps is already an unimaginable accomplishment that has transformed me. My upper body is strong and toned like I never could have imagined, and I have overcome my fear of push-ups. Anyway, as soon as my hand is healed, you can be sure that I will chain the 100 fingers in the nose (well, I understand myself).

The program to go from 0 to 100 pumps in six steps:

Melt your fat and quickly join the 100 clubs by following these simple rules.

This version of Steve Speirs’ program is the most advanced. It will allow you to quickly reach the legendary bar of 100 pumps. If you want to start more slowly, log on to for a slower pace. For each session (set a goal of at least three sessions per week), follow the number of reps indicated before launching into THE series where you must do a maximum of pushups at the end of each week. The minimum is specified for each week and does not forget to allow yourself at least one day of rest between each session. If you cannot reach one of the prescribed reps, repeat the week a second time. The ultimate goal is to do 100 push-ups in a row after six weeks. So get moving!


Objective: Perform at least 13 push-ups without stopping after doing a series of 11, 12, 9 and 9, interspersed with 45-second breaks.

Go faster:  The first week is a breeze? Try pumps of a tougher kind. Mark 3 downtimes – at the top, middle and bottom of each pump performed. This increases the amount of time your muscles are in tension and boosts their growth.


Objective: Perform at least 20 push-ups without stopping after doing a series of 16, 17, 14 and 14, interspersed with 45-second breaks.

Go faster: watch your diet on training days and avoid fuels straight out of the frying pan. Ideally, for breakfast, opt for oatmeal and wholemeal bread. Then, for lunch, eat grilled chicken and steamed vegetables.


Objective: Perform at least 28 push-ups without stopping after doing sets of 22, 30, 20 and 20, interspersed with 45-second breaks.

Go faster: Be careful not to get to work cold. Steve Speirs recommends warming up based on neck rolls, shrugs, and torso rotation. Then warm up the key muscles by swinging your arms and making the circle. Do 7 to 8 reps of each.


Objective: Perform at least 40 push-ups without stopping after doing a series of 29, 33, 29 and 29, interspersed with 45-second breaks.

Go faster: Supplement the push-ups with other exercises to develop your upper body. Cover (plank) for 60 seconds, plus 3 minutes of bench press) a quarter of your maximum rep capacity. make sure you take your time when lowering the weights.


Objective: Perform at least 50 push-ups without stopping after doing sets of 20, 20, 24, 24, 20, 20 and 22, interspersed with 45-second breaks.

Go faster: At this point, you should see an evolution in your torso and triceps. But don’t forget the rest of your body. “Balance pump sessions with other exercises that work your back and biceps to avoid developing the gorilla look,” advises Stuart Amory


Objective: Perform at least 60 push-ups without stopping after doing a series of 26, 26, 33, 33, 26, 26, 22 and 22 interspersed with 45-second breaks.

Go faster: Researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok have found that if you have pain in your palm on the thumb side, a closer position of the hands will relieve you. If the pain appears on the other side of the hand, spread your hands beyond the width of your shoulders.

The final test

After six weeks, you should have completed a minimum of 2,676 push-ups. Congratulations! You burned over 17,000 kilocalories along the way. Now you’re ready to take down the myth of the 100 pumps. And no warm-up sessions this time. Get into position and send the 100! If you weaken, don’t worry: in case you run into one of the weeks of the program, repeat it for an additional week. To increase your chances of achieving this the first time, adopt a closer hand position. A study published in the  Journal of Strenght and Conditioning Research found that the activity of the muscles in the pectoral muscles and the triceps is greater when the hands do not exceed the width of the shoulders.

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