Push ups. You either love ‘em or hate them, but either way our May challenge of the month is really going to test your muscular and mental endurance. Can you keep pushing to the two minute mark? Take the challenge to find out.

The challenge
How many push ups can you do in two minutes? This challenge is going to push you harder than you think. In most workouts you would normally complete a strength exercise for 25-45 seconds per set. So what happens when you extend that out and challenge yourself for much longer?

What does it measure?
Getting through two minutes of push ups is all about muscular endurance. After the first 30 seconds you will start to feel the burn, and that’s when endurance will become more important than strength. In technical terms this challenge will measure your body’s ability to produce force over a relatively long period of time. Most of us will have to take at least one break over the two minutes, so your ability to recover quickly will also be tested.

The benefits
Increasing your muscular endurance can lead to some great health and fitness outcomes, including:

  • Increased heart size and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Increased muscle tone and mass
  • Better ability to produce force, which can help build a stronger bench press
  • Bragging rights!          

Move it – the right way!
The key to a great push up is to set up correctly and use all of your muscles together. Think of these as ‘earth downs’ rather than push-ups. Push the earth down and away from you each rep.

  • Start with your thumbs underneath your shoulders and lift your body into a high plank position
  • Squeeze your core and glutes to keep your body stable throughout the movement
  • Control the movement on the way down by breathing in, and be explosive on the way up with a big breath out

Remember, two minutes is a long time! Most of us will need to take a rest at some point during those two minutes. How long and how often you rest will depend on your personal fitness level and strategy. Be sure to space your reps out so you can keep adding to your total throughout the entire two minutes.  

How will it feel?
If you’ve never done the two minute push up challenge before then you are in for a treat. It sounds easy enough, but don’t be fooled! The length of this challenge is what gives your muscles a kick.

The smaller muscle groups will begin to fatigue first. Once this happens your core and larger muscle groups will also start to be challenged, and by the end of the two minutes you will be struggling to hold yourself up. But hit that two minute mark and you’ll feel a rush of endorphins and a great sense of accomplishment.

Good luck!