Ask Rocco 12/15/15

One hundred push-ups a day

By Rocco Castellano

Have you ever tried to do 100 push-ups in a row? When I was a kid, my brother and I would wake up every morning and try to outdo each other. I was 150 pounds and he was 90 pounds, so guess who won every morning? Plus, he had incredible endurance for a pain-in-the-ass little brother. He would bang out 110 to 140 pushups without even blinking at my paltry 90. A funny thing happened, though. The more we did it the easier it got. I was banging out 120 pushups within weeks, and he was hitting the 200 hundred mark. The competition became one of insane will and brotherly love. He never really was able to assume the same demonstrative strength that I had. Sh-t, I was pulling buses, limousines and fire trucks with my teeth and bench pressing 455 pounds for reps (no steroids) but he could always run faster, climb higher and do better at all things bodyweight. I don’t lift that type of weight or do crazy sh-t like pull things with my teeth anymore (my dentist has reprimanded me a few too many times), but I do challenge myself.

This month I challenge all of my readers to perform at least 100 pushups everyday. Even try to get all the people at work to join in. Now, you don’t have to be crazy like my brother and I were and do it all at one time. I actually recommend you start off by waking up and trying for as many as you can. If it’s one or two, cool. If you get more, that’s less you have to do throughout the day.

When you get to work or school give me 10, or whatever you can do. Every hour get off your chair and do some more. When you get to 100, stop. Mark down the date and keep it going the next day. I want this to go past Jan. 1 so there is no stupid-ass New Year’s resolution to mess with your head.

Why, you may ask, am I challenging you to this simple fitness test? Everyone else wants us to start doing full workout exercise programs in order to stay fit and healthy. Well, my little grasshoppers, simplicity is the easiest way to get someone to do something. If you introduce something that is fun, competitive (even if it is with one’s self) and accumulative, it creates a compounding effect. You will get better at it, stronger from the repetition and will maybe create your own goals. This is the most logical way to initiate anything in your life, not just a fitness program. In the future I will have other challenges like sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks and mountain climbers to name a few, and those challenges won’t seem nearly as difficult after you have completed this one.

To make it somewhat easier, there is a website called that can get you started on your challenge. There is also a sister site that will help you log all the push-ups you’ve done.

Why push-ups? Well, push-ups—although a predominantly upper body movement—do a whole lotta’ good for the whole body. Obviously, your pectorals (chest muscles) are involved, but so are you shoulders and triceps (pressing muscles). In order for you to be able to raise yourself you also have to lower yourself without smashing you face every time. This is where your biceps and back come in. Your abdominals and lower back work to keep you straight just as the plank does in yoga.

Many fitness pros discount the lower body when doing a push-up because there really are no working muscles involved—that’s not necessarily true. In order to keep tension on your upper body, your lower body has to be tense and straight. You can’t accomplish this without hip, thigh and calf muscles doing something. To prove this, try doing a push-up on your knees. You will see very quickly how easy it is to push up the weight because the weight has been cut in half. Try performing a push-up with the lower half of your body relaxed. It will be very hard to push the whole body off the ground. So, the moral of the story is that if your lower body isn’t working then the possibility of a push-up is non-existent.

Another reason I love push-ups is because the raise the sh-t out of your heart rate in a very short time. It’s very similar to high intensity interval training, except there’s only one exercise. If you wanted to, you could do a set of push-ups until you couldn’t do any more, get your heart rate up, take a one-minute walk, and do another set of push-ups until you couldn’t do anymore. This process will both benefit your heart and lungs, which would be considered more cardiovascularly (I know I just made that up) beneficial than running on a treadmill, and would also increase hypertrophy (building) of your chest, shoulder, triceps, back and biceps muscles.

If you find it hard to even do one or two push-ups please don’t perform any push-ups from your knees (aka “girl push-ups”). They really don’t do a whole lot. You would be better off doing a “negative” push-up that was described in my last column.

Hope your Christmas & Hanukkah shopping hasn’t driven you crazy. Have a safe Holiday Season.

The views and opinions expressed in Ask Rocco are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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