How long to exercise in order to be able to do 100 pushups at a time?

At the moment my BMI is around the ideal range, somewhat skinny, but not that much, though I don’t exercise at all and spend most of the time sitting. At the moment I can do anywhere from 2 to 7 or 8 push ups in one set, depending on how much energy I have that day, but let’s say that an average is 5. So 5, but only if I push myself to the very max. After that I have to wait a few minutes and then I can do another one or two and same thing again.

Obviously I don’t plan on going from five to a hundred in 2 days, but in general how much time would it take me if I exercise every or at least every 2, 3 days and how do I even exercise, is the point in getting stamina and doing sets during the entire day as long as you can or is the point in getting more muscle tissue and doing the whole calory&protein instake thing?

When I was younger, like middle school age younger, I was able to do over 20 push ups at a time, once even a hundred when I was doing boulder climbing, although I think we had a short pause, so it wasn’t really a 100 in one go, but still… However I was really skinny back then, I didn’t eat as much as I should have and I didn’t even know what BMI meant, let alone calories and proteins, yet I still managed to get great results, much better than my 3 times stronger friend who played tennis and a few other sports, but couldn’t do 5 real pushups.

So is it about the stamina then?

I made a resolution after Trump was elected that I would increase my push-ups/crunches by 1 each week. Started w/ sets of 20 - 2 sets of push-ups, 6 sets of crunches. Would not miss more than 1 day in a row.

Sure enough, about 1/2 year later I was cranking out sets of 50 push-ups - something I’ve never been able to do before. The only problem was, doing all of those push-ups and crunches was more effort than I wanted to do every day. So the first time I missed one day, I was off my schedule.

Sorry not to directly answer your question, but wanted to offer my experience. BTW, I’m in decent - not great - shape for 57 yrs old.

As a general matter, in exercise it is generally recommended not to increase more than 10% any week. Very rough, but goes for weight, distance, reps, etc. So it would take you some time to work up from 5 to 100.

You need to constantly strive to increase your pushup count. If you can do 10 one day, do 11 the next session. I reached 70 pushups (“Military style” - 2 minutes total, rest at top or bottom OK) when I was going for volume. It took me around 6 months. Now, I don’t go for volume, so I could probably only do 30-40, but I would guess I could get back to 70 in 2 months. Don’t do them every day, at least not until you are well-trained. Give your chest a day off to recover.
I use pushups as part of my overall chest routine - bench, inclines, flies, pushups. But, there’s no way that I am going to do heavy bench and then do 50 pushups. So, if all you want is volume, don’t do much other chest work on the same day (or, do it afterwards). I usually superset bench, flies, and deep pushups (resting my hands on the fly weights, and putting my feet on the bench).

100 in one go is a lot! I don’t have any experience there. But I do with squats. I bike 20 miles 6 days a week and thus my legs are in great shape; however, I do week long backpacks in the summer and use totally different muscles as well as a lot of weight and have for the past 3 years done thousands of squats in preparation (as well as stair climbing) I use an iPhone app for encouragement, but I start 60 days before the first day of the trip with 25 squats in 1 (or 2) series. After 60 days, I can do 250 without only 2 short breaks (at 100 and 200) of just a couple of seconds. But over the course of a day I will be doing in excess of 500 squats a day.

But even in the case of squats it is not the strength that becomes the issue, it is the endurance and breathing that limit the number.
So my non-data best guess would be for 100 pushups without stopping, at an absolute minimum 60 days, the best that one could do if already in very good shape and super active 6 months, and if only doing it ~4 times per week and all else being optimal but not really pushing yourself, 2 years.

The guy at has a training schedule you could follow. Hardly the best, but probably not the worst.

Sometimes you just need a checklist to follow.

I tried following it a few years ago. I started out able to do maybe 12 and got up to a max in the 60s after ~5 weeks?, then I hurt myself (doing something else, not doing pushups) and had to stop for a while and never went back to it.

It probably helped that in general I was living a very active lifestyle then. I was traveling and not working, so I spent a lot of time walking, hiking, swimming, etc.

5 to 100 in 60 days is doable but it is easy to hurt yourself.

Rest at BOTTOM is OK???

To increase your push up count, do as many (perfect form) as you can to “failure” ever other day. All the way up (elbows nearly locked, all the way down (chest just skimming the ground) at moderate speed, no stopping.

Yes. You can’t rest with your chest on the ground - you must hold the correct form, but it’s OK to rest at the top or bottom (or, I suppose, anywhere in between, but that would be insane). Here’s a version that says three minutes.

I’m not interested in getting to 100, but I am getting back to strength training after a long hiatus. I find for me it’s relatively easy to add a couple pushups each time; I go until “failure,” then add a couple with knees on the ground. So my recent Day 1 was say 16 + 4 from the knees, second set 14 + 6 from the knees, third set 12 + 4. The next time, first set was 18 regular + 2 from the knees, third time I made it to 20 regular in the first set, and so on.

OK, for my 3 minute challenge, I’ll do 30 the first minute, rest in the down position the second minute with 100% of my weight on the ground with my arms in the perfect push up position, then do 20 more during the final third minute and ask to get credit for 50 push ups? If not, how much of my body weight can I rest on the ground during the “rest in the down position” portion of he challenge?

I think that how many push ups one can do has a lot to do with body type. A taller than average person is going to struggle with push ups. Of course, someone that is over weight is going to have a very hard time as well.

I can do 30 push ups in a minute (without too much effort) as part of my regular exercise routine. (I’m 65.) IMHO trying to do 100 push ups has nothing to do with being fit, its unnecessary overkill. Your time probably could be better spent working on other parts of your body or doing cardio work.

Sure, that would count for 50.
But, I’ll tell you right now that resting in the up position is way easier. When you are down, your triceps are under tension.
Try it and see.

I don’t know about how to get to 100 push-ups but it sounds like the OP is a bit too focused on just push-ups. I would explore a more well-rounded fitness program. Push-ups alone is not a good indicator of overall fitness.

As to the op, no exact answer but being “somewhat skinny” gives you a head start on achieving that specific goal and makes it even more of a stamina accomplishment than one of strength. Lots of on-line programs that assure 3 to 12 months for anyone and a thin person with a specific focus? I’d WAG on the shorter end of that range if devoted to the cause.

But yes the natural question is “why?” Why is hitting an extremely high number (not impossible but a number a majority of overall very fit people cannot do without specific training for it) of one specific exercise the goal you are considering setting?

When I was in the Army and doing push-ups on the regular, I personally never got near 100. Granted, we had to do our push-ups in two minutes, but by that time I was in total muscle fatigue, and I don’t think I ever would have gotten to 100, no matter how much time I had. So, the answer may be “Never”. Of course, YMMV.

Purely anecdotal, but from my personal experience and observing a lot of Soldiers doing push-ups, I think it’s actually the opposite. I have a fairly long, lean build (at least I did when I was in good shape), which just means I have a LOT farther to go when doing push-ups. It always seemed to me that folks with a more compact build had a much easier time.

Doing push-ups makes you good at…doing push-ups. It’s not particularly useful in and of itself for increasing overall fitness. But, in order to get fit, it really does help to have some sort of goals. If trying to achieve this arbitrary goal provides sufficient motivation to OP to engage in regular exercise, then more power to them.

I followed that program years ago, and plateaued in the mid-60s. Could never get past that, then moved on to other things.

Sure having goals is a basic motivational tool. And an arbitrary goal can be any arbitrary goal. So still the question remains: of all the possible arbitrary goals why this one?

My personal goal is doing one (1) muscleup. It’s way harder than it looks.
I’d trade 100 pushups for one muscleup any day…

I did push-ups twice a day for 20 years and could never get above 25 in one go. Then my doctor told me that was almost surely what was responsible for the shoulder problem that necessitated surgery when I was 50, and now I need an operation in the other.

From a mechanics standpoint, longer arms make push-ups harder, because 1) you have farther to go, and 2) you have to apply more torque to extend the joints because muscles connect near the fulcrum but you are trying to move a longer lever*. The more you weigh, the harder push-ups are because you have to push up more weight (OK, that was obvious). And the higher your center of gravity (i.e., nearest the chest/shoulders), the harder it is. So your observation that people with more compact builds have an easier time makes sense to me.

*For the same reasons, someone with longer forearms has to apply more force to curl the same weight as someone with shorter forearms.

When you get down to it, couldn’t the same be said for many/most activities?

ISTM that I often see push-ups listed among the top calisthenics a body can do in terms of overall benefit derived. Doesn’t it increase overall upper body strength, which enables many other activities? Of course, anyone seeking overall fitness ought to do more than a single activity…

To the OP - have you started yet? If not, I can confidently say it will take however long it would have taken when you first posted - PLUS 4 days! :smiley:

“Somewhat skinny” says nothing about the length of the arms. It says a lot about the amount of weight of the body.