Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lets Continue This Talk About Arms and Core: Part 2

So I know you all rushed to your gym (or home) to try out some of the moves I discussed in my post yesterday. I know I rushed out of work (ok slowly peeled myself away from my computer 45 minutes late) and to the gym. It was cold and rainy and I thought, why not throw in a speed workout today (workout below) on the treadmill? And why not tack on a 60 minute kick-boxing class?
On my way home from gym - notice rainy window in background - but I am still smiling
thank you workout endorphins
I was happy I did, because, after my posting on arms and core work and how important it is for runners, I got the chance to see the hard work for my abs and arms in action, pumping my legs through my sprints and executing quick, succinct jabs and uppercuts without hurting my back or hips.

So yesterday I promised to bring you Part 2 of this arms and core discussion and as I was reading about Vanessa's  givaway, I thought what better of a post for arm and core workouts, than talking about the benefits and variety of push-ups! The giveaway is for Steve Speirs book, 7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups, which provides a detailed plan to reaching 100 push-ups tailored to your personal fitness level.
Push-ups are the ultimate full body workout, which is probably why Nelson (my boot-camp instructor) has us do approximately 200 during boot camp each Tuesday night (tonight...eek!).  Push-ups are performed most commonly in the plank position with your hands planted on the ground below your shoulders and about shoulder width apart.  To maintain this position engages your core, your back, your shoulders, your glutes, your quads, your hamstrings, etc...by holding your body weight up, you are improving balance through strengthening the core while mixing cardiovascular work with muscle stretching as well.

The variations are endless! You could:

  • do them on a Bosu Ball
  • do them with arms wide
  • do them with diamond shaped hands
  • do them with a partner (or solo) and slap hands after each push-up (w/ partner is GREAT motivation)
  • do them like spider man: as you do push-up, bring right knee to right elbow, and return to start, then on next push-up, bring left knee to left elbow, and return to start (obliques anyone?)
  • do them fast....do them slow
  • do them with you legs inverted 
You can do them with legs up on an exercise ball or steps
The Push-Up Ladder
Yesterday I mentioned being able to do a 20 push-up push-up ladder - it was manditory for pre-season fitness in college field hockey.  A push-up ladder is a great way to build up reps and make push-ups more interesting. If you are newer to push-ups start with a 10 push-up ladder, and build your way until you can do 20 (could be over 3 months - do what feels right for your fitness level).
  1. Start with the max number of push-ups you plan on doing at once (10, 12, 15, 20?) 
  2. When done with that first set, rest for 20 - 30 seconds (more if you need) and repeat, but do one less (if you did 10, do 9....if you did 20, do 19)
  3. When done with the second set, rest for 20-30 seconds (more if you need) and repeat, but do one less (if you did 9, do 8...if you did 19, do 18)
  4. Continue to repeat the rest and rep-1 intervals until you reach 0.
Things I like about push-ups, besides the physical benefits (cardio health, muscle strength and tonight, strong balance/core):
  • You can do them anywhere! 
  • They are free - you don't need equipment, you don't need shoes, you don't need a gym membership or coach
  • There are so many variations and props you could use! (forms, bosu ball, mats, stairs, walls...)
  • You can do them alone or with friends (a little push-up competition anyone?)
  • They are efficient - and who doesn't love to be efficient?!
A few weeks ago now, my boot camp instructor gave me a complimentary personal training....he told me I should be doing at least 50 push-ups a day! I practically laughed out loud in his face (ok, I really did laugh out loud, just not in his face - he is intimidating a little) and he said "what, do you think it is impossible?" After I promptly said, yes! He replied with this "you can do as many push-ups at a time you want to/can, at any time of day, wherever you want to do them - but trust me, you can do them"

So my challenge to you - try to get in at least 25 push-ups, but even better 50 push-ups a day....I bet you in just a week's time, you will feel and see some of the differences.

I promise more picture full posts to come!
Do you like push-ups?

Not when I am doing them, but they sure make you feel like you worked hard and good afterwards (weird, a little like my running sometimes)

What is the most number of push-ups you think (or know!) you can do at a time?

Now? I know I can do 25 in a row, but I bet I could push myself to get at least 35.

What are your thoughts on personal training?

I don't think the pricing is fair on personal training, and I know a lot of the moves and workouts, I just don't have the coach/trainer yelling at me to do them, or that I am not challenging myself enough - which is the big thing I need to improve on when working out without a PT.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post! I've never thought of the push-up ladder workout before, that's new for me.
    Well, I am a personal trainer, and I would definitely say that a lot of people who are as interested in fitness as you are don't necessarily need it. But I would say 90% of the population can benefit from 1 0r 2 sessions. I think it boosts your confidence to try new things--maybe a new machine, or maybe starting free weights. And you can know you're doing it correctly!
    Thanks for the shout out!


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