The 30-day Push-up and Crunch Challenge
Every time you turn on the television it seems there is a new commercial for yet another 30-, 60- or 90-day workout DVD program. These multi-disc sets have exploded in popularity over the past decade, selling tens of millions of copies around the world, with everyone from college kids to middle-aged men and women taking on these new fitness challenges.
Why are so many people choosing to do these workout programs? I believe the answer is simple. When it comes to exercise and getting in shape, people want a plan. A specific, daily plan where they have to do the least amount of thinking possible. People actually want to be told exactly what to do.
This desire for a specific daily plan is also the reason why gym programs like Crossfit, which has a "W.O.D." or "Workout of the Day," are also enjoying tremendous participation rates. People know they need to exercise, and they want a plan to follow. They also are looking for a challenge that will keep them interested and increase the likelihood that they will adhere to the program.
So here's a simple 30-day push-up and crunch challenge to start your New Year off right. The goal is to do the required number of exercises throughout the day, breaking them up into whatever number of sets you wish. For example, if the day calls for 50 push-ups, you can do 10 sets of 5, 5 sets of 10 or one set of 20 and 3 sets of 10 – the choice is yours. All that matters is that you have done the required number by the time you go to bed.
The plan is progressive, which means you will do a few more each subsequent session. The goal is not to do as many as you can at one time, but to do them all slowly, with good form, recruiting as many muscle fibers as possible. You will start on Day 1 with 20 of each and finish the month at 100. You will alternate exercises, doing push-ups on one day and crunches the next.
The basic exercise is a traditional push-up and a traditional crunch. You can stick with these or vary them if you wish, such as doing knee push-ups if you are just starting out, mixing in some Spiderman push-ups if you are advanced, doing a few sets of side oblique crunches for variation, etc. The goal again is simply to hit the required number with any type of push-up or crunch you choose.
Like everything else in fitness, the goal is consistency. Let's see how many of you can get in all 31 workouts. They won't take long, but you'll be amazed at the progress you will make if you stick with it!