In a recently uploaded YouTube video, Guinness World Records crowns Daniel Scali from Adelaide, Australia as the new world record holder for the most pushups—performed with correct form—in one hour: a staggering 3,182 reps.
Scali had to wait for each rep to be scrutinized and approved by the World Record judges before he could officially take the title. Completing the reps correctly was no easy feat, the organization’s pushup guideline is strict. “Elbows have to be at exactly 90 degrees, and your body must follow your arms up and down,” Scali recounts.
The existing record Scali was up against was formidable and increases annually. One prior record holder, fellow Australian Jarrad Young, set the record for 2,808 perfect reps in 2020. Then Marine Corps veteran Tshane Johnson smashed Young’s record with 3,050 reps in early 2021. But Young was quick to defend his title, squeaking out a clean 3,054 reps shortly after, the number Scali had to beat.
With this punishing challenge before him, this was Scali’s third attempt this year at the most pushups in an hour. “This is it, Daniel, we’re not going to fail this time, we’re going to get it done,” was his short and sweet pep talk before he was off.
To keep himself fresh, Scali approached the challenge with intervals of 12 seconds of pushups to six seconds of rest. He used the six-second intervals to rehydrate and compose himself. “It wasn’t long enough to think about the pain,” he recounts.
To make matters even more impressive, Scali was battling severe pain in his right arm. He lives with a complex regional pain syndrome, a chronic pain condition that usually affects an arm or leg. “Every single pushup felt like a punch in the arm,” says Scali. Despite the pain, “I was motivated to keep pushing through because I knew I had so many people banking on me,” he says.
In the end, Scali was relieved to find that the board of judges had approved every single rep. With his achievement, he looks to encourage others, “[to] anyone that suffers chronic pain, just keep on pushing through,” Scali says, “I promise you there’s a reward at the end.”
This wasn’t Scali’s first rodeo. In 2021, he smashed the World Record for the longest plank, holding a perfect plank for a brutal 9 hours and 30 minutes. Impressive. (Also, ouch.)
“My first attempt with the plank was to prove to myself that I can do things, even though I do live with constant nerve pain,” he says. The attempt for pushups was “to prove that to other people. If you believe that you can do it, you can.”
With the defending champion eager to protect his title, we wonder how long Scali’s record will stick. Regardless, his record is an impressive feat that sends a message to those with chronic pain that you can do more than you think.
Tips to Improve Your Pushup
While you may not be repping out 3,182 reps in an hour, improving your pushups is a worthy summer goal. Regardless of how many you’re able to do, the important thing is to practice good form. Here are 3 tips to help you execute the perfect pushup.
Nail Your Plank
A pushup isn’t just a chest exercise, many people fail to recognize that it requires a decent amount of core and glute stability. Every rep should start with a proper plank: shoulders squeezed, glutes tight, core activated, heels pressed to the wall behind you, and hands just below the shoulders.
Squeeze Your Shoulder Blades
One of the most common pushups compensations is a rounded upper back. It may feel easier to hollow out, but it limits your shoulder movement and makes your pushup harder. Instead, pretend you’re squeezing a grape between your shoulder blades, simultaneously corkscrewing your hands into the ground. Pull your torso to the ground, tightening your back muscles, then push back up.
Use a Bench
If a classic pushup is too challenging, avoid knee pushups as a regression. Knee pushups fail to train your glutes or core to stabilize properly, which makes advancing to a standard pushup a challenge. Instead, try elevated pushups. Place your hands on a bench or chair, and gradually progress to lower and lower surfaces. This will help lighten the load while training the tension in your core and glutes needed to ace your first pushup.