I am 29 years old, weigh 72kg (174cm tall), my goal is to do 100 "good form" push ups. I am following the hundred push ups training program.

I initially did 30, then I got up to 36. Then I paused for 17 days (hardly slept) and got sick (common flu but extremely tired). Now I can only do 28.


  • Is it common to drop so much after being sick? (36 to 28). I am also a vegetarian, could it indicate a problem with my diet? (I've been a vegetarian for 3 years, but have not exercised much).
  • Will improving my stamina help me do more reps? The first reps are fine, but I have always had problem with the last. After being sick I find I have problems after just a few reps.
  • A friend suggested I could add 5kg of weight on my back and do fewer sets / fewer push-ups. I would like to try, is it a good idea? How many per rep and how many reps?

I am very thankful for any help.

Details (if more info is required):

Initially I rested much longer between the reps than recommended (some times more than 5 minutes).

  • could do 30 on initial test so jumped in on week3
  • Week3 col3: finished 10/8 (failed last rep on each day though)
  • Week4 col3: went fine for day 1 and day 2 (except last rep: 26/36 and 24/40 respectively)
  • max out: 35

Now I kept the rest time between the reps exactly as it was recommended

  • Week5 col1: went fine except last rep (day1: 14/20, day2: 10/25, day3: 9/30)
  • max out: 36 (had to repeat w5)
  • Week5 col1: only did day 1 & 2, went fine except last rep (day1: 15/20, day2: 11/25)

I had to pause for 17 days, during these days I hardly slept at all! I picked up the program again at week5 day2 column1, but failed on the second last rep, after which I was exhausted and did not even attempt the last rep. So I decided to go back to week4 column 2.

  • week4 col2: did not go very well, after a few reps I was so exhausted I had to break.

Then I got sick for about 8 days (the common flu but it got me bad and I was extremely tired just sleeping in the bed, likely also a backlash for hardly sleeping at all for those 17 days).

Now I want to start a fresh, and so did a max out to see where to jump in. I only managed to do 28. I thought I could start with week4 column 3 (says >= 25). But I failed already at the third rep.

Thinking that it is probably also my stamina (unable to efficiently rest between the reps), I have now started to run every other day (and indeed, I really feel how bad my stamina is comparing to just a few years ago!).

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's normal to lose that much strength or more after a protracted period of sickness and non-training. Don't fret.

Yes, improving your stamina will help you get more reps. So will improving your strength, or your cardio. Mostly, doing lots of push-ups will get you better at doing lots of push-ups. If you want to add weight, I'd forgo the 5 kilos and go straight for actual weight training, such as bench press. If you want to train push-ups without just doing basic push-ups, I'd play with variations such as a wide hand placement and clapping before trying to add a few kilos. If I did want to add weight, I'd do so with 10 kilos instead of five--make it heavy if you're going to add weight.

  • 2
    In addition to what Dave said, make sure you get more sleep. Sleep is a critical element in your ability to perform at optimal levels, as well as your body's ability to build muscle and recover from workouts.
    – Moses
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 16:53

As said before, yes, the loss is normal.

I wanted to conribute to your question about adding weight. I would not reccomend that. Yes, you can use a weighted vest to increse your weight but that will normally be bad for joints, form and back. Best, try first to get a "perfect form". If you try wide arm push ups, have a look, that your ellbows are over your wrists, your legs are firm and your body is straigt. perhaps even start and try this against a wall or a desk to make the p.u. easier and have a better position. Also utilizing planks or a sling trainier helps developing the core muscles to have a a better form.

If you are doing close p.u. o diamond pushups, have your ellbows tight on your ribs and your hands under your body.

If you now awant to add intensity, try raising your feet utilising firs a box, then a chair or even a ball to make it more challenging. Otherwise try going from wide arm to close arm, then uneven push ups and perhaps one arm. I personally like the convict conditioning porgram from paul wade (http://www.dragondoor.com/b41/) which goes in ten steps (recommendet over years) from wall push ups to one arm push ups.

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