The 100 Push-Up Program, What You Should Know About Colostrum & Recovering from Hard Races — Q&A
Q: How do I go from 46 to 72 reps in the “2-Minute Push-Up Test” in under 4 weeks?
This question had to have come from a military man or woman with an important PT Test in 4 weeks. Although, we can easily expand the concept beyond the military, as the inquiry illustrates a very widespread goal in general pop fitness—how to get fit as hell in 30 days.
I discuss the difference between optimization and maximization a lot with my coaching clients, and while I’m usually on the optimization side of the fence, the goal of maximizing push up performance in 30 days has a nice ring to it.
(And if you read my work often, you know I love the number 100.)
For my military man or woman who asked the question, there’s nothing wrong with setting the target higher than where you need to be. So let’s make it 100 reps, rather than 72. If the 100 years that preceded and the one year that followed the first 4-minute mile have taught us anything, aiming for the impossible is not always a bad thing.
Here are the exact workouts I would use:
5-Minute High Plank Accumulation
I wonder how many people have attempted to do a timed Push-Up test like this without knowledge as to whether they could even stay in the required position for that time without the Push-Ups! Somebody that can ace this 2-minute test, my guess, can hold High Plank for over 5-minutes. If you can’t, then each day set a timer for 5-minutes, get yourself into position, and stop and start the timer every time you drop/restart.
100 Counter-Top Push-Ups and Bodyweight Squats
Broken up as needed and used as a warm up for training and/or up to 3 times per day on non-workout days. This is designed to build the push-up pattern, get the blood flowing, boost the aerobic energy system, and develop mental immunity to the idea of completing 100 of something. You’ll likely be able to do this unbroken soon, if you can’t already.
Then, I would add three other workouts:
Strength Day: 100 Perfect Hand-Release Push-Ups
Each rep, bring the chest to the ground, stay engaged, and extend both arms outwards, like airplane wings. Do not go to absolute failure until you’re over rep 75. Rest up to 60 seconds between bouts to ensure every rep is perfect. If you can complete this workout in fewer than 5 sets, wear a weight vest.
Endurance Day: High Plank Push-Ups
While holding a 2-minute High Plank, do 5 strict, powerful push ups every :15s. Do 5-sets / 100 reps. Rest 60s between each set. If you cannot do 5-push-ups throughout the workout, cut it to 1 or 3 reps, but do up to 10+ sets, resting as you must, to earn your 100 reps for the day.
Sub-Max Re-Test: AAMRAP Push-Ups in 2-Minutes
Working at 85% effort, perform as many reps as possible in 2-minutes.
Repeat the test 3 times, resting 3-5 minutes between each set.
AAMRAP: Almost As Many Reps As Possible.
Sample Program B
WEDNESDAY: Rest Day
FRIDAY: Sub-Max Re-Test
SUNDAY: Rest Day
Sample Program A
FRIDAY: Sub-Max Re-Test
SATURDAY: Rest Day
SUNDAY: Rest Day
Q: Will I fail a drug test by supplementing with colostrum?
Individuals, athletes, military personnel, or anybody that is drug tested for any reason or concerned about IGF-1 or dairy products, should not be interpret anything in this article as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before taking any supplements, including colostrum (or doing push-ups for that matter).
This question is rooted in the fact that colostrum contains insulin-like growth factor, IGF-1, which is a banned, performance-enhancing substance under WADA.
Colostrum is nature’s “first food”—the milk produced by a mother in the first few days after giving birth. Consider colostrum “upgraded” mother’s milk that is richer in growth factors, proteins, and immune boosting antibodies than the milk that the baby will feed on for the coming months. Colostrum’s purpose is to give babies a “head start” for the first few days of life by stimulating rapid growth and providing a plethora of nutrients, calories, and immune boosters to ensure the baby is equipped to avoid sickness and survive infancy.
For athletes, the growth factors, including IGF-1, increase protein synthesis as well as muscle growth and repair, which hypothetically should provide the same anabolic “head start” after tough workouts or competitions. Supplemental colostrum has also been shown to be hugely protective and healing for the gut, which improves the immune system and is another benefit for busy, traveling athletes.
Back to the question, will this “head start” come at the cost of your career by making you failing a drug test?
I’ll leave the answer up to the Journal of Nutrition, which published a study concluding that “Daily supplementation with 60g of bovine colostrum for 4 weeks does not change blood IGF-I or IGF binding protein-3 levels and does not elicit positive results on drug tests.”
An important thing to keep in mind here is that athletes supplementing with colostrum* are also generally consuming 1/10 the amount consumed in this research study. Therefore, you should be fine, although readers are invited to draw their own conclusions and proceed with caution when it comes to dosage.
*Many people with gut issues or who tend to avoid dairy, usually find goat milk colostrum preferable and easier to digest than the more common bovine source.
Q: I’m trashed. Do you have a 72-hour post-race recovery protocol?
When it comes to recovering from hard races, the best bet is to throw all you can at it! Unnatural damage needs an unnatural level of support and therapeutics to recover. As for a 72-hour protocol, mine would be something like the following:
Enter the race as fit as possible.
I recently coached a guy for his first marathon on a short runway—about 10 weeks. Needless to say he was “trashed” afterwards, but he made it and in just under 4-hours nonetheless. He had caught the bug. Now, he has been running a marathon PER MONTH and his body feels strangely good after each one, humorously, to the point that he wonders if something is wrong with him because he feels so good.
Entering a race with training that reduces inefficiency and micro trauma, and matches 20% greater demands than you expect to be up against in the event, is the way to exit the race feeling fine by about Tuesday.
Ensure adequate electrolyte intake pre-event, during, and post-race. In addition, a little sodium bicarbonate each morning through your training and a little bit extra leading into a big race or event is a great protocol to support your body’s ability to buffer lactic acid. Never drink flat purified water during a race—all of your water should be slightly salty and mineral rich.
Cold exposure. Cold exposure halts a lot of the inflammation in the legs and entire body following a tough race. Since so many races are in the middle of nowhere, plan on filling your hotel room bathtub with ice and at least giving the legs a soak. If possible, find a Russian Bathhouse or Cryo Lab for full-body cold immersion.
Sports massage, recovery boots, or foam rolling. I really like Normatec recovery boots to help flush the legs of toxins and acidity following hard bouts. Of course, hands-on therapy from a professional is the optimal choice after a hard race but that’s often not possible or convenient for athletes within an hour of crossing the finish line. The boots travel reasonably well and the quicker you can get them on, the better. These are worth the investment for the Type-A endurance athlete running hard races with some frequency. If you are running a single or just a handful of races, or simply want to opt for the “Poor Man’s Normatecs”, just go with a foam roller.
Soak up the Magnesium. Topical magnesium oils or lotions, or even magnesium bath salts are a great hack for reviving a physically rundown body. Magnesium helps improve energy production and reduces muscle damage. In topical form, it also allows for higher doses without the GI distress that often comes from oral consumption.
Self-massage. After a hard race, the body is truly recovering from trauma. With trauma, whether it’s physical or emotional, the benefits of human touch are profound—even if that touch is your own. As a self-care practice, I will often sit in a sauna or stand in a hot shower and give much of my body a massage. I focus on the upper traps, the hands and feet, the gut, and the lower legs and will often use some coconut oil to improve the depth I can achieve.
Nutrition. Adequate carbohydrates and high-quality protein in the hours following a hard race are essential to kickstarting 72-hours of recovery. This will support the replenishment of glycogen stores and kickstart protein synthesis to repair the beatdown muscles. In addition to the macronutrients required after a hard race, I would double-down on many of the supplements I speak about with some frequency, such as curcumin, vitamin D, and colostrum. On occasion, and when I’m near a high-quality west coast grocer, and although I do not generally consume dairy, I’ll even opt for this Raw Milk Kefir Golden Milk.
Movement. Whenever there’s a bodily injury, which is exactly what “feeling trashed” is (just low-grade and widespread as opposed to localized and highly painful), movement is key to maintain blood flow and flushing the area. Even after a hard race, going against what your brain is telling you and walking around as much as possible in minimalist or recovery shoes will have you back in action faster than the couch will.