Try the 300 Pushups a Day Challenge to Get in Shape for Boot Camp


In the military, you’ll most likely be doing pushups every day. It’s a common drill either used in daily workouts or as a punishment for someone stepping out of line. But it’s also not an exercise that should be overdone without the proper amount of rest.

Instead, a pushup challenge to get your body ready for basic training is something that should only be done every six months or so. Doing 300 pushups a day kicks you into gear but can leave you injured without taking proper care. Drawing from the tips of ex-Navy SEAL and certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Stew Smith, here’s what you need to know about doing 300 pushups a day.

Benefits of Pushups

Apart from just being able to survive when your drill sergeant shouts a hefty “Half right!”, pushups overall have benefits as a versatile exercise including:

  • Increased anaerobic fitness
  • Stronger chest, shoulders, and arms
  • Develops your core

With repetition, your anaerobic endurance will improve. Opposite to cardio fitness, anaerobic fitness is less focused on oxygen intake and deals more with how much power your muscles can produce. You’ll develop a bigger and stronger chest, shoulders, and arms but you’ll also be working your core in the plank position necessary to pushups.

Types of Pushups

There are lots of variations when it comes to pushups and when trying 300 pushups a day, it will be good to break up the monotony. By adjusting the placement of your hands, you can target different muscle groups.

  • Regular Pushups: Wrists are positioned directly underneath shoulders to evenly distribute the weight between your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  • Wide Pushups: Wrists are placed wider than your shoulders. Wide pushups work the chest harder.
  • Diamond Pushups: Wrists come toward the middle of your chest and as your index finger and thumb come together, it makes a diamond shape, hence the name. These pushups focus on your triceps and shoulders.

How to Do 300 Pushups a Day

Most workout plans created by personal trainers suggest at least 48 hours of rest between exercises. That’s why you’ll often see programs where you alternate between leg exercises, arm exercises, and cardio workouts throughout any given week. During a workout, your muscles are literally tearing. As they rebuild, they become stronger, which is why strenuous exercise works. But only if you rest.

At the same time, though, muscles are resilient and can be pushed to their limits every once in a while. The program Smith recommends lasts for ten days where you’ll be doing 300 pushups a day and he suggests doing this if your max limit is 75 pushups. Again, this program should only be done once every six months. Here’s how it works.

Alternate between days of intense sets and easier sets to get great results. For example:

  • On Odd Days: Perform 300 pushups a day in as few sets as possible. Perhaps you’d do six sets of 50 pushups to reach 300. Or you can do four sets of 75 to meet the mark. Regardless, get to your maximum limit in order to do the fewest number of sets on these days.
  • On Even Days: Take a breather and simply meet the goal of 300 pushups a day however you like. For instance, maybe you’d do small sets of 20 pushups throughout the day every half an hour.
  • Repeat the routine for ten days then rest for three days. You can perform the challenge while continuing with your normal workouts, but during these three rest days, you shouldn’t do any other upper body exercises whatsoever.
  • On Day 14, test your results. See how many pushups you can do in under two minutes.

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