Friday, July 17, 2009

push ups...."a million ways to be cruel"

When I was young, I never had much upper body strength. be completely honest, I didn't have much strength at all. I was 6'2" and 147 lbs soaking wet when I was 18. I could use a telephone pole for cover in a game of hide and seek and pretty much win the game every time. Since that time so many years ago, I've put on a lot of weight but it hasn't been in the form of muscle. I lead a sedentary lifestyle (who doesn't nowadays) but now that my metabolism is on the downward spiral, I'm trying to be active.

When I was young, my uncle explained to me that I would never have much strength in my arms because my muscles were longer. I've used that as an excuse ever since but I think I need to come to grips with reality and accept that I just need to practice more.

The other night at practice, the instructors decided it was time for us to work on our upper body strength. This is my biggest weakness. My pecs are so sore even after 2 days that I'm a little scared to go back in case they keep up with the theme this week.

We do a variety of different kinds of push ups all designed to exercise different muscles:
  • normal push ups - hands under shoulders, all the way down and up, feet together, no mountains or valleys
  • wide push ups - hands more than shoulder width apart
  • diamond push ups - form a diamond with your thumbs and index finger. To maintain a tripod for balance, it's ok to spread your feet apart on this one
  • staggered push ups - one hand forward, one back (switch half way through)
  • seal push ups - normal push ups but clap hands together when raised
  • punch push ups - normal push ups but alternate punching a focus mitt between push ups
  • form push ups - this is my own name for this one - put a focus mitt between your shoulder blades - if it slides off that position while doing the push up, it doesn't count
  • dolphin push ups - start with your butt up in the air, do the push up but touch your chest first then your pelvic region while you are raising your chest. You're body should do a sort of "wave"
In all of these push ups, the instructors are giving us the "down and up" call. Sometimes in the middle of it, they go "down and hold......wait.......and now up". That's the absolute worst. I generally collapse to the ground during the hold portion.

When I first started TKD a little over 2 years ago, I could barely do 7 pushups in a single attempt. They could barely be called push ups because I wouldn't go down very far at all. However, now I can do around 30 or so respectable push ups. That all depends on which kind they are of course. Wide push ups are the easiest where I can do just shy of 40 in about 30 seconds. Diamonds are the worst where I'm lucky to get 20.

I'm really tempted to try the 100 push ups site to see if I could pull it off. I'm holding off until I lose about 15 more pounds. I was actually at that weight at one point but with the break we took I gained 15 pounds. Disheartening.


Bil said...

Dude! 30 pushups is pretty respectable!

shaggydoug said...

maybe I should have italicized "respectable". A little bit tongue in cheek. They aren't pretty but I can do them.