Athlean-X founder Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. has shared numerous tips and exercises on his YouTube channel that will help improve your pushup form and performance. In his latest post, he sets a pushup challenge that will light up the chest and arms, which anyone, regardless of age or fitness level, can try.
The challenge is simple: when you hear the word "down," lower yourself into the bottom end of the pushup movement. When you hear "up," bring yourself back up: this completes one rep. From there, the goal is to just keep following along with the audio for as long as you can, completing as many high-quality reps as possible.
It's similar to the 'Bring Sally Up' challenge, which uses the lyrics of a Moby song as prompts for lowering down and rising up in a pushup. The difficulty of that challenge lay in its unpredictability; participants would find themselves having to hold a certain position for long stretches of time until they heard an "up" or "down" in the song. The rhythm of Cavaliere's challenge is much steadier—but that doesn't necessarily mean it's easy. That slow, consistent tempo means that each rep is exactly the same, and you won't be able to rush through them.
"It's a lot harder than you maybe thought it was," says Cavaliere, "because once you add that cadence there, everything changes."
Hit play on the video below, get into position at around the 1-minute mark, and try it for yourself, then see how you did for your age group. (For anyone who might need a little bit of extra motivation, Cavaliere has added an incentive to the challenge for maximum entertainment value: with each completed rep, the video rewards you with Photoshopped images of celebrities posing with their younger selves.) He lasted until 55 reps. How long can you survive?
That matters—a bit. But it's more important to use perfect form for every rep. "The fact of the matter is guys, it's how you do what you do, not just the number of what you do."