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Dan John, fitness author and former Olympian, frequently shares advice and insights from his career as a professional athlete and performance coach on his YouTube channel. In a recent video, John answers a follower’s question about how he can train himself to do 100 push-ups in a single set.
“You have to be able to do at least 25 push-ups before we can even talk about getting to 100,” he says. “It’s like you have to run a 5K before you can have a conversation about a marathon… You just need some time to do the push-ups.”
John recommends using push-up variations to build your endurance, especially tick-tock push-ups or crocodile push-ups. The name is a Peter Pan pun, but it also describes exactly how they work:
When John says Tick, do a push-up rep. When he says tack, move one hand forward. Tick, another push-up. Tock, you move your other hand up a little further and bring your feet behind you as well. “It’s like doing a Planked Bear Crawl, where you do a push-up every time you move your hand,” he explains. “The beauty of this is that instead of just doing push-ups with your hands in one spot, you get a lot of exercise.”
This variation is a convenient way to accumulate volume. To aid your recovery after running the reps, John also advises dead hangs to loosen up your shoulders. He also notes that it really helps “if you have a friend who’s just as crazy as you” to do these phrases with you on an “I go, you go” basis so you can rest while he does his reps.
“You’ll find that no matter what you’re doing, you’re good for 20-50 reps once you’ve practiced…then you’ll find the stress and strain really builds up, and that’s when you need to practice, yourself there.” If you need to, rest in the top position of the push-up with your arms outstretched. “You’ll probably hit your 80s before some really weird failure hits you,” he adds. “If you do that once or maybe twice, and you know what you’re looking for, you can reach that 100.”
Philip Ellis is a UK freelance writer and journalist covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.