Day 2/30: Intro to Push Ups

What is a Push Up?  

Begin in a tall plank position, with straight arms, hands placed under chest and shoulders, jus wider than your body width. Maintain a tight core and without losing your solid plank, lower yourself close to the floor by bending your elbows. At the bottom of the push up your upper arm should be about 45 degrees from your shoulder and elbows as close to 90 degrees as you can manage while returning to the start safely without breaking your form.

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Why do a push up?

It is another simple exercise, and can be extremely challenging to all fitness levels.  Like the plank, it can be done almost any where without needing any equipment. It forces a lot of muscle groups, from main movers to stabilizers to work together in a function way, which is why it can be so tough. More muscles involved means your heart rate increases as it increases fuel supplies to the muscle tissues.

Other Benefits:

Done well, it can....

  • Prevent and reduce risk of shoulder injuries.
  • Reduce back pain.
  • Improve posture

The fine points.... How to really get it right. 

Inhale as you lower yourself toward floor, exhale as you push the floor away from you.

Engage your big back muscles to hold your plank together while you lower and raise your self up. Do this by pulling your shoulders toward your hips and lock them there. 

When you are struggling to get one more rep, try pressing all your fingers into the floor as if trying to squeeze a ball. Activating your nervouse system like this can help you get one or two more reps before failure.

Common Faults

  • As with the plank, head position is important. Looking up, causes excess curvature of the spine, pinching lumber vertebra and pushing hips towards floor. Fix this by keeping your eyes focused in a set point on the floor below your head. Basically you should keep you 'Head, Neck & Spine in line' as you travel through the range of movement. 
  • Allowing your elbows to bow outwards, wider than the hands is one of the most common faults, and one that can lead to elbow strains and injury. It also puts you in a position that is far weaker than if your elbow is positioned over the hand when in the down position. When you lower are from elbow to wrist is close to vertical you can create so much more power when you push that floor away. 
  • Dropping shoulders below your own ideal range of movement. This can cause a lot of discomfort later and the day after. Repeatedly over stretching past your bodies ability to adapt will result in micro tears or worse damage. Listen to your own bodies needs and challenge it in an appropriate manner.  A self inflicted injury can be very frustrating.
  • Moving hips up and down without bending your elbows.
  • Head bobbing up and t\down each rep, without bending the elbows.

Both of these happen in response to tricep fatique. Watch for it and dial in better form on your next rep. If you can no longer perform a full rep, take a break or choose to modify the exercise and keep going.

 

I can't do a full push up! What do I do?

A modified push up refers to any version that is changed in order for someone to be able to perform it well.  The most common form of a modified push is when a person places their knees on a mat. They have effectively reduced how much weight they are lowering to and pushing off the floor.  This version is the most common because it takes minimal time to switch from a full push up in to this modified version. It is not the best option though. Dropping to your knees when you need to is not the best way to build strength that will directly result in more ( or that first ) full push ups.

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A better modification is to perform the full push up from an easier , raised hand position. The higher the hands are raised, the easier the exercise becomes. Find a height that allows you to challenge the muscles while maintaining perfect form.  Find a sturdy place to position your hands, exactly as described above for the floor version.  As you gain strength, take it to a lower more challenging position. The body responds well to being challenged.  If you continue using the same height even when you are no longer finding it difficult, you are reducing how much progress you could be making.

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 Step back to make tougher.

Step back to make tougher.

Worth mentioning again:

Make sure what ever you are using is sable and not likely to move or tip over.  Having peace of mind can be very useful when your arms start trembling.

Examples:

  • Wall.
  • Kitchen sink / counter top.
  • Stairs (feet on floor) Drop to a lower step as you get stronger.
  • Two sturdy chairs placed against a wall
 As you angle closer to the floor Push Ups get significantly more difficult.

As you angle closer to the floor Push Ups get significantly more difficult.

 Make this safer by propping sturdy chairs against the wall.  In this case, pending on your techinque, and floor surface,  there is potential for chairs to slip forward and causing injury.

Make this safer by propping sturdy chairs against the wall.  In this case, pending on your techinque, and floor surface,  there is potential for chairs to slip forward and causing injury.

 

So let's get started... Day 2

100 pushups, in the shortest amount of time that you can.

Start your timer, begin, take breaks as needed, stop the timer as you finish your last rep. Note your result somewhere or share it with us.

If you need to modify the push up, make notes as to how you did that so you know in a few weeks just what you are comparing yourself to.

This is your challenge.  Do what you can. Crush today's you in a few weeks.

It will take some of you less than two minutes and some of you may need to take long breaks between small groups. However you choose to do it, warm up well and stretch before and after each block. Don't get intimidated by such a large number. 10 each hour will get you there.

Aim for quality reps only. Do Not count a poor rep. Repeat it instead.

Again, Quality is the win today!.

 

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