100 PUs + 200 SUs = Freaky figure?
January 20, 2010 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Will 100 push-ups and 200 sit-ups a day make me look like an idiot?

Part of a New Year's Resolution -- I aspire to build up and gradually be able to accomplish close to 100 push-ups/day and 200 sit-ups/day.

Putting aside the feasibility (how likely I am to actually make it) -- what would a human being look like who did this and not much more exercise beyond incidental daily walking? Will I have big arms, a muscle stomach and then just look ridiculous everywhere else?

I've heard of people over-working their shoulders in weight-lifting who end up with very disproportionate results and...well....look dumb.

Any insight you can provide is appreciated.
posted by Franklin76 to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You'll look fine but unless you already skinny you won't get a muscled stomach w/o dieting as well. Pushups won't do much to your arms more for your chest (though tri's get hit)

A 6-pack requires a low body fat or you're just muscling up under a layer of fat.
posted by bitdamaged at 4:30 PM on January 20, 2010

Throw in some pullups which work back and bi's if you're worried btw.
posted by bitdamaged at 4:31 PM on January 20, 2010

Lifting weights and doing pushups are very different. High reps with low weight (pushups) will not make your muscles huge in the way that low reps with high weights will. The likelyhood of you looking freakish by doing just situps and pushups is small enough that you shouldn't really worry about it.

Now, in terms of balance, you would probably be wise to include pullups as well, which would help to make this a complete upper body workout. Pushing motions (pushups) plus pulling motions (pullups) will hit nearly all of your muscles to some degree in your upper body. Do this for a year and you will have some really nice definition without being a monster.
posted by markblasco at 4:34 PM on January 20, 2010

I promise you, once you accomplish 100 pushups and 200 situps a day you won't look all that different from the way you look now. Both of them are primarily endurance exercises.
posted by unexpected at 4:36 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

You probably won't look any different at all. But you'll be stronger. If you're a skinny guy with a sunken chest, you might develop some better definition on your chest (that's what happened to me on a similar regimen) but it's not going to be something extreme enough to throw the rest of your body out of balance or anything like that.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:38 PM on January 20, 2010

Oh if you do work in pullups with pushups you might actually see better/quicker gains by alternating days (pullups one day, pushups the next).

Your muscles need time to rest between workouts to heal/grow. Most bodybuilder types only work a muscle group 1 or 2 times a week in order to have several days of rest for the muscles to heal between workouts.
posted by bitdamaged at 4:42 PM on January 20, 2010

You'll be stronger but wont look any different.....is not all that work (sorry)
posted by The1andonly at 4:44 PM on January 20, 2010

As someone who'd kinda like to put on some muscle and does some weightlifting, I find all these questions that amount to, "will I look like a muscle bound freak if I do this mildly strenuous exercise?" kind of infuriating.

The answer to this and all such questions is: You should be so lucky.

Nobody looks like a muscular freak without trying very, very deliberately too look that way. It sure doesn't happen accidenally.
posted by chrchr at 4:44 PM on January 20, 2010 [13 favorites]

I do 200 situps and I don't look much different from when I didn't do any. My stomach is flatter and my pants are looser. Also, I can feel firm muscles under my pudge and have less trouble with my lower back.

I don't recommend doing the situps every day. Your muscles need a day off to recover and grow. I do them on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I do other body parts on the off days. My abs routine is a mix of different types of crunches, which both makes the workout more interesting and makes sure I'm developing several useful muscles. I also balance out the abs with less focused core work, like the plank and similar exercises.
posted by PatoPata at 4:51 PM on January 20, 2010

How you LOOK is much, much more a function of what you eat, rather than what you do. But if you're completely sedentary now, you'll likely have slightly more definition once you can do 100 push-ups (assuming you're not fat now, in which case you'll see no difference).

You don't say much about WHY you're doing this or what your real goals are, but if you want to gain size, there are better ways. And if you want to flatten or tone your stomach or get a 6-pack, there are better ways.

To answer your question: No, this cannot and will not make you look ridiculous (and your arms will not get big from push-ups).
posted by coolguymichael at 4:54 PM on January 20, 2010

I've been doing this combination for the last month while traveling, alternating days (the hundredpushups.com regimens are 3 days/wk), since these exercises are easy to do in hotel rooms with no equipment. I definitely notice a difference in the way I look (broader in the chest, more defined in the abs), but I don't think it's disproportionate.

But I'm coming from a weightlifting background and it's pretty easy for me to put on muscle (and fat), so your results may differ.
posted by aneel at 4:55 PM on January 20, 2010

As someone who'd kinda like to put on some muscle and does some weightlifting, I find all these questions that amount to, "will I look like a muscle bound freak if I do this mildly strenuous exercise?" kind of infuriating.

Actually, I respectfully disagree-- the OP is asking whether he will look like a freak if (and this is a big if) he ends up with a ripped, bulky top half, and doesn't work out at all his bottom half.

The answer to THAT is, YES. Men who only exercise their arms and torso (because that's what they think women care about most) and have little toothpick legs, I'm looking at you. And laughing. And judging your vanity-based workout routine.

It sounds like you're not in danger of this happening, though, with just pushups and situps.
posted by availablelight at 5:03 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

You won't look any different. It's good for you, but you probably won't get visible abs because that requires fat loss. 100 pushups really aren't that much, seems like a good way to warm up though.
posted by mattsweaters at 5:05 PM on January 20, 2010

You will look a little better and a little fitter in general. You will be able to note the difference a lot more than other people, because you know your body better. After completing the 100 pushup challenge I am ecstatic because I have actual, tangible chest-muscles, as opposed to the concave flatness I've had my whole life. I fill out a T-shirt slightly better, but not to the extent where friends say "Whoa, what have you been doing with yourself???"

It's definitely made me stronger.
posted by hermitosis at 5:20 PM on January 20, 2010

As someone who'd kinda like to put on some muscle and does some weightlifting, I find all these questions that amount to, "will I look like a muscle bound freak if I do this mildly strenuous exercise?" kind of infuriating.

The answer to this and all such questions is: You should be so lucky.

Nobody looks like a muscular freak without trying very, very deliberately too look that way. It sure doesn't happen accidenally.

I am an athletic slender woman and I find that I bulk up quite (annoyingly) quickly without intending to, particularly on my arms, shoulders, and thighs. Everyone's body is different.
posted by arnicae at 5:21 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

200 pushups does not seem like a good idea. Why not do 50-50-50 airsquats/pu/situp and then some cooldown bodyweight stretches? or 50 handstand pushups (or body-supported vertical pushups).
posted by rr at 5:40 PM on January 20, 2010

Ignore the assholes here who are raining on your exercise.

People notice when I start doing 100 pushups per day (last 10 triangle hand pushups)...and thats when I'm wearing a shirt. Do it for 6 weeks, you'll see a positive difference.

As for situps, I can't speak because I haven't done 200/day. But I'm sure some of the above posters would have no problem in telling you why you shouldn't do it.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:41 PM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]

I'm with hal_c_on. For a while, I was doing about 100 pushups and 200 situps per day (some days it might have been as much as 150/300, but probably not more than that). I wasn't doing any other exercise except incidental walking and fairly short (2-3) mi. runs a couple times a week. I looked pretty ripped, but not at all in a disproportionate way. Granted, I'm really skinny, so it doesn't take much gain in muscle mass before I can see a noticeable difference in my physical appearance, but this sort of workout will definitely have some results if you stick with it for a couple months.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 5:56 PM on January 20, 2010

Will 100 push-ups and 200 sit-ups a day make me look like an idiot?

I'm tempted to just say "yes," but that would be snarky. The truth is you're not going to suddenly blow up with muscle from doing a bunch of pushups and situps. However, the intuition which leads you to ask this question is entirely correct -- doing high volume pushups and situps does not constitute an effective or balanced strength regimen. If you are completely untrained, these will make you stronger, up to a point -- but absolutely anything will make you stronger up to a point, and with this type of thing that point is not very far from where you started.

If you are trying to practice for a pushup or situp competition, these programs may be useful. But if your goal is to build a strong, healthy, and functional body you should undertake an actual strength program.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:01 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

again, no one is discouraging you from doing your exercise (sorry hal_c_on). By all means, go do whatever exercise you want. Exercise is good for you.

But will you get substantially different from doing 100 pushups and situps? No, not really.

The "ripped" effect that you may notice is your body burning off excess fat. If you've maintained your weight for a while, any exercise you do is going to burn more calories and create a calorie deficit, and thus burn fat- so your muscles may stick out more.
posted by unexpected at 6:31 PM on January 20, 2010

At one point I did pushups regularly for about a year (I was up to something like 125 for the last four months, I started only being able to do nine). I got noticeably stronger, a lot stronger actually, and apparently my boyfriend could feel a little more muscle across my back when he hugged me. But I looked exactly the same. I guess if I was a twig beforehand you'd see the change in muscle but I'm average and stayed, well average. It would take a lot more than you're proposing to really change things around.

Also yeah, everyday is too much, it's going to hurt for one thing. Every second day is better for your muscles and more sustainable. I'm trying to get back into it because I liked being able to heft a huge box of groceries without trouble or heave myself in a window when I lock myself out
posted by shelleycat at 6:33 PM on January 20, 2010

As usual, I agree with ludwig_van.

To develop asymmetries in your body requires a hell of a lot of effort. One hundred push-ups and two hundred sit-ups are not nearly enough to do this. What you are thinking of is the "mirror bodybuilder"; the guy at the gym who only works out what he can see in his waist-high mirror. Great chest and biceps biceps, shoulders slouched forward from lack of back development and over development of the chest (without stretching, of course) and chicken legs.

Any effort is a great start, though. Once you can do ten to twenty strict chest-to-deck push-ups I would advise you to look into a strength training program rather than work on getting 100 push-ups.

You'll actually hit 100 push-ups faster on a strength training program than on a strict push-up program and honestly, that is a pretty fun milestone to hit.
posted by Loto at 6:36 PM on January 20, 2010

If you go for sets (5 x 20, say) then, no, not so much, unless you're blessed with a good genetic makeup. I used to do 5 sets of 35-40 pushups spread throughout the day and noticed some differences, but was by no means ridiculously muscular. I'd personally recommend this method because you can start working your way up slowly by increasing the number of pushups you do every time you exercise, your joints get a good rest (my shoulders do not love pushups), and it's really easy to fit into a busy day. Agree with recommendations to not do this every day--you really will get fatigued. I was on a push-up schedule five days out of a week, and slightly injured myself as a result.

Depending on how you do the sit-ups, your results may vary. You can probably youtube methods , but you can do situps with your fingers laced behind your head (most difficult), with your arms folded across your chest, or with arms folded over your stomach (pretty easy). If you do 200 extremely easy situps, you will see almost no improvement. Hands with fingers laced behind head is more difficult and productive, but be careful--don't use your hands to pull your neck forward when you get fatigued, because you can hurt yourself. You might want to do other calisthenic exercises (planks, leg lifts, so on) to try to engage more of your abdominal muscles.

Agree also that this is not the optimum plan for fitness, long term. But I'd argue that this is a good way to start building some healthy habits, feeling stronger, and getting some kind of consistent exercise. It will not hurt you as long as you're not trying to do too much at once. You can add more types of exercises or a gym membership to your daily routine, if you wanted to, later on.
posted by _cave at 6:45 PM on January 20, 2010

No will not have a freaky physique, but if you're goal is to do those amounts of repetitions then by all means go for it. But once you move past 20-25 reps, or so, you've outside of "strength" & "muscle building" training as goals.

Listed with first, second, tertiary priorities & effects:

% of Max / Reps / Dur.(in Sec.) / =Effects
85-100 / 1-5 / 5-20 /
=1st Strength increase through enhanced neural eff.
=2nd Stimulation of functional muscle hypertrophy
=3rd Increase in muscle density
80-85 / 6-8 / 20-40 /
=1st Stimulation in functional muscle hypertrophy
=2nd Strength increase
70-80 / 9-12 / 40-60 /
=1st Stimulation of functional & non-functional muscle hypertrophy
=2nd Increase in muscle endurance and lactic acid tolerance
50-70 / 13-30 / 60-120 /
=1st Increase in non-functional hypertrophy
=2nd Increase in muscle endurance
=3rd improved capillarization
-50 / 30+ / 120+ /
=1st Increase in muscle endurance
=2nd Improved capillarization
=3rd Active recovery
=4th Speeds up recovery from tendon injuries
posted by P.o.B. at 7:38 PM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]

I did the 100 pushups program which took me 7 weeks. I did it strictly with the goal of making it through, so my form was lousy at the expense of making through. It worked. Although I didn't meet the specific goal, I started off being able to do 8 lousy pushups and ended up being able to do 65 lousy pushups in one shot. I restarted the program and am now redoing it in best form and slowly. It is again working predictably.

I do not have huge arms as a result.

What I do have is better defined triceps and pectorals, and my arms are a lot stronger than they were.

What made the program work for me is that I committed to it.
posted by plinth at 8:00 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Will I have big arms, a muscle stomach and then just look ridiculous everywhere else?

sit-ups and push-ups are actually pretty decent overall body exercise. You could always do leg lifts as well if you're concerned (in either push up or sit up position)
posted by mdn at 9:13 PM on January 20, 2010

I do situps every day, and find that they don't just exercise the abs, but your back, bum and thighs as well
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:56 PM on January 20, 2010

If you can get yourself to knock out 100 pushups / 200 situps in one shot, you are going to feel so good, you're not going to care what you look like. But no, you aren't going to look like a freak. You will not get big doing this, but may get ripped.

Mix in some jumping burpees and pullups and you will be in great shape.
posted by jasondigitized at 4:51 AM on January 21, 2010

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