Regardless of age or ability, the pushup is an exercise that caters to anyone. For those just looking to get into a fitness routine, the starting position is one which sees them lower to the floor on their knees. For the more advanced, there are claps you can add to the movement, two-finger handstand pushups and countless others that will quickly assert your dominance in the gym. Perhaps it’s for this very reason that the pushup continues to attract even the fittest of individuals. Because it’s not just about how well you can perform one, it’s about how many you can crank out in one go. At least, that’s what CrossFitter and fitness influencer Craig Richey attempted.
In a challenge presented by six-time CrossFit Games athlete Khan Porter, Richey was tasked with performing 1,000 pushups in a row, with the goal to see just who could do them in the fastest time. To go about the challenge, Richey decides to break his pushups down into sets of five reps. When he begins, the pace is pretty explosive but still consistent. He manages to do 25 in the first minute. “We know we’re not going to hold that pace,” he says.
And he’s right. As the fatigue kicks in, Richey’s movements slow considerably. He continues chipping away at the reps, but it’s clear that he’s hurting. “I just want to reach 500, so I know I’m on my way back down,” he says. Eventually, Richey reaches the halfway point in a time of 29:40.
“You know what, it’s actually not that bad,” he explains. “The fives are fine, but you have to have a little bit of a break between each one…You get a bit numb to it, you get a bit bored. I think if I did sixes or sevens, I’d just fail, whereas fives I can keep going.”
Richey still manages to finish 888 reps in the first hour, following Porter’s lead. He then reduces his pushup sets down, until he’s doing just 2 or 3 reps at a time. It might sound like a big drop for a man of such physical stature, but keep in mind that he’s now been doing pushups for over an hour. An hour. As Richey explains, “The threes were a better option than the fives.”
When Richey finally completes the 1000 pushup, he clocks in at 1 hour and 9 minutes, compared to Porter’s 1 hour 6 minutes. He might have fallen short of the record time, but Richey isn’t too phased by it all. “That was fun! Killed an hour,” he says after completion. “I thought my chest and triceps would really blow up, but I just felt like my power just went.”
You can watch him tackle the challenge below.