Last updated on January 4th, 2023 at 01:12 pm
I’m sure you’ve read countless articles or watched many YouTube videos about doing 100 push ups a day.
In fact, a popular way to perform the exercise is to do 100 push ups per day for 30 days.
And, no doubt, you’re amazed by the physique transformations of these people doing 3,000 reps of push ups a month.
But, before you join the party, should you be doing those push ups all at once or sprinkling them throughout the day?
Push ups performed all at once will fatigue the muscles to a greater extent, which is ideal for increased muscle mass. However, there is a chance that your form will break down as you approach fatigue. Performing your push ups throughout the day means that you’re less likely to hit muscular fatigue, so it’s not as good for increasing muscle mass. However, it’s likely that your technique will be better, so better performance and less chance of injury.
How Good Are You at Doing Push Ups?
To be honest, there’s no one perfect ideal answer as to how you should perform push ups.
Essentially, this depends on you and how good you are at performing push ups.
As an example, if you’re really good, and able to perform 50 reps of push ups per set, 100 push ups per day potentially won’t make a huge deal of difference.
Then again, if your push up game sucks and you can barely hit 3-5 reps then hitting 100 push ups may seem like too lofty a goal.
So, there is definitely no “one-size-fits-all”.
That being said, this also gives us a clue as to how you should be performing those 100 push ups per day based on your current physical abilities.
If You’re Good at Push Ups
So, if you’re able to perform a high number of push ups all in one go, you would be better off doing those 100 push ups all at once.
Essentially, splitting them up throughout the day could mean that you’re only really performing 2-3 sets of push ups, and you’re not really testing yourself.
Realistically, you should actually be performing a more difficult variation of push ups.
So, if you’re fit and athletic perhaps your 100 push ups should be weighted, performed on the TRX, decline, plyometric, archer, spiderman, etc.
Basically, you want those 100 push ups to really test you.
If You’re Not So Great at Push Ups
Conversely, if you struggle with push ups then doing 100 all at once may seem like a huge struggle.
Perhaps you’re only able to perform 5 reps of push ups.
Therefore, getting to 100 reps is going to require plenty of rest between “sets”, or you find yourself aching well before you get to the end.
If this is the case it would be better to split your push ups throughout the day.
You’re more likely to hit those 100 reps without having to worry about your form breaking down, or worse still, getting injured.
100 Push Ups Throughout the Day
Okay, as I’ve said, doing 100 push ups throughout the day is better suited to those who struggle with push ups, or are potentially new to push ups.
Then again, this is also ideal for those of you who are great at doing push ups, but wish to test yourself by performing tougher variations.
In both of these examples you’re getting in the required volume without having to worry about your form breaking down.
Plus, you should really “feel” as though you’ve hit your muscles without really fatiguing them.
Okay, I’ll admit that this isn’t great for overall muscular development, but it will allow you to hone your push up technique.
And for me, this is one of the most important aspects of training.
Simply put, the better your technique, the more likely you’ll be able to progress with an exercise.
And this is the name of the game, i.e. progression.
Even if you’re a complete novice at push ups, so you start off by splitting your push ups throughout the day, eventually those 100 push ups will start to feel easier.
Let’s say that you started out by performing 10 reps of push ups 10 times a day.
After a few weeks you notice that everything feels easier and the task of hitting 100 reps is nowhere near as daunting as the first day.
You now have the opportunity to either increase volume, e.g. 11 push ups ten times a day, or use a more difficult variation.
Then again, you may wish to “test yourself” and try doing those 100 push ups all in the same short training session.
The point being, as difficult as you found this process at the beginning, your body will eventually adapt, and this is when you must make things harder.
So, I would never suggest simply sticking to 100 reps throughout the day, as you’ll eventually hit the point of diminishing returns.
100 Push Ups All At Once
So, as I’ve mentioned, doing your push ups all at once is better suited to those who are good at doing push ups.
Plus, it’s the ideal way to introduce muscular fatigue into your workouts, which in turn can lead to greater gains in muscle mass.
However, there is a greater chance of form break down, and this definitely something you want to keep an eye on.
The obvious issue from poor form is the potential for injury.
However, it’s also important to realise that if your technique isn’t on-point then you may simply be wasting reps.
Essentially, you could end up performing 100 push ups, but in reality only about 60-70 of those would be considered “good”.
Personally, I think a good rule of thumb when doing your push ups all at once is to stop each set around 3-5 reps before failure.
That being said, it’s important to remember that you may not be able to perform the same number of reps with each set.
As an example, if your max push ups are 20 reps, it’s unlikely you’re going to achieve 5 sets of 20 reps with one minute’s rest in-between sets.
Finally, the time factor also comes into play.
If you simply don’t have the time available to be doing multiple sets of push ups every day, stick to doing those 100 reps all at once.
Then again, If 100 push ups is still a struggle for you, select a specific amount of time and then perform as many push ups as you can.
Key Takeaway Points
- 100 push ups all at once is better for muscular fatigue and building muscle mass.
- 100 push ups throughout the day is better for technique.
- If you’re good at doing push ups, do them all at once. However, it’s also a good idea to perform more difficult push variations that are likely to test you.
- If you struggle with push ups, split them up throughout the day.
- Regardless of how you choose to perform push ups, always look to progress, whether this means more reps or harder variations.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.
4 thoughts on “Is it Better to Do 100 Push Ups at Once or Throughout the Day?”
Great post a ever. Ill be honest, I too do prefer to do push ups through the day. I normally do them when I’m waiting for the kettle to boil or while I’m waiting for my lunch to be ready. People used to think I’m weird for doing it and they still do! Haha, but the reality is that theres not many people in the position to try this that would be anywhere near being able to do 100 all at once.
With any exercise being performed, theres the point where lactic acid builds and our body stops responding due to muscle fatigue.
So, for the beginner, 100 spread through the day would work well. The pump is also a false economy, with it only being blood rushing to the muscles to help them in their moment of need…if only the pump lasted hey?
What are your thoughts on variations of hand positions and the angle of the body for this type of task? Or would you stick to the standard push up?
One thing I always tell people who are starting out or are weaker in the upper body area, is to do push ups off your knees as a way to progress to a normal one if you will, I do them when I’m tiring and they help me blast a few more out.
Great read mate and happy new year!
P.S love the baby pic!
Awesome to hear from you.
Funnily enough, I guessed that you’d be much the same as me, and cranking out push ups throughout the day.
You’re completely correct as well about beginners being better off with this method, rather than attempting 100 push ups in one workout.
Plus, I totally get you about lactic acid build up and muscle fatigue.
I haven’t really mentioned those here, but wanted to keep it simple, so I spoke more about maintaining form, as well as still receiving the muscle-building benefits when performing push ups throughout the day.
Haha, ah yes, if only the pump lasted!! It never does, LOL.
As for hand positions, etc. I’m a great believer in mixing things up, which includes alternative hand positions, reps, tempos, pretty much everything you can think of.
I actually went into more detail in my article, “Can You Maintain Muscle Mass With Push Ups?”
I discuss how I do circuits, supersets, and ultra-slow tempo push ups.
I’m not one for performing push ups on my knees to be honest Lee. I’ll do all the harder variations and leave it at that.
However, I don’t really ever go anywhere near failure if I’m honest, so I’ve not quite got to the stage of trying to crank out a few more reps.
Something for me to consider I guess, I could always try a workout and see how many I can do in a short space of time.
Anyway, thanks for stopping by Lee, it’s always appreciated.
I’m going to do this!
I just got down and comfortably did twenty pushups.
You may remember, about three months ago I was complaining of inner elbow pain while doing higher reps of pushups and pullups. I stopped both exercises, but feel that I can now begin the pushups again, spread out through the day as you suggest.
I feel like I have lost some tone from not doing them, so will be interested to see how I feel in a month’s time.
Cheers mate 🙂
Great to hear.
Funnily enough, you did come to mind while I was writing this.
I think it’s a great way to get some decent volume in without killing the joints all in one hit.
That being said, you will still be wracking up a fair amount of volume anyway.
So, as you’ve had so long time off due to the elbow injury you may actually be better of doing this every alternate day for a couple of weeks, and then adding an extra day each week thereafter.
Therefore, in effect, it will take you about 5 weeks to get to doing 100 push ups throughout the day every day.
You know yourself Andrew, start out slowly and build your way up.