The Art of the Push Up

Finding an exercise that can be done just as well in the gym as it can be done at home is not easy. Whether it is due to the equipment not being the same quality, the space being to small or just the not vibe in the room, working out at home can be difficult. I happened to come across a great article from BodyBuilding.com (link will be posted at the bottom) about push ups. Was shocked to see an article about something so basic that I was forced to do in gym class back in elementary school but figured it worth the read.

how-and-why-to-do-push-ups-1The article titled “How (And Why!) To Do Push Ups” shows the benefits of doing the body weight exercise and explains how it helps to benefit the muscles that are not being used during the bench press. To me the part that hit home was when they talked about scapula movement and the benefits in mobility and strength to the area around it. After having two shoulder operations in the past, my shoulders feel fine and are strong but I get a pain behind the shoulder blade which I can seem to sooth. Push ups may not sooth the pain but they at least stimulate the muscle in the shoulder where the pain and discomfort is more tolerable.

Other variations of push up which are not mentioned but also help to make push ups more of an all around upper body exercise is to add an incline or a decline. This works out different muscles in the chest as well as the arms and shoulders and allows for different types of mobility.

In order to do either the incline or decline push up, a weight bench or another solid object that is 3 feet wide and 1 to 1.5 feet high is required.

inclinepushupFor the incline push up place your hands at the comfortable place on top of the bench with your feet on the ground and allow yourself to slowly lower your chest to the bench and than squeeze your chest when your press to raise yourself from the bench.

The decline is similar yet the opposite. The main difference is now your feet are on theimgs-declinepushup-inarticle bench and your hands are on the floor and you want to bring your chest as low to the floor as possible before squeezing your chest together and pushing back up.

I did 3 sets of 15 reps of each type of push up which comes out to 135 total. The fun thing about this is I can always add more reps or more sets as needed but that I can do this exercise at home and still feel as if I had a complete chest workout.

BodyBuilding.com – How (And Why!) To Do Push-Ups

Images from:

Breaking Muscle

Men’s Fitness

BodyBuilding.com

Schooled by the Trainer

I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to working out. I know a few things and I try to learn a few other things, so when the trainer at my gym comes up to me and asks if he can help me out  I appreciate it very much because it is only going o help me.

Personal trainer helping woman at gym

Picture Credit rightfitpersonaltraining.com 

So here I am at the gym, just finished my dead lifting (posted on my Instagram @avgsteve) and my barbell shrugs when I decided to move to the bench. As I am setting up at the bench I notice my wife is on the other side of the gym working with the dumbbells and talking to one of the trainers. I can see that he is pointing out things to her that she should be doing and things that she is doing wrong (probably taught to her from me). After a few minutes she calls me over to talk to the trainer with her and we get into a conversation about bench pressing.

Time for some history on the relationship that I have with this gym and their trainers. I have not met with this guy as a trainer, for the sake of the blog let us call him John, but I have met with another trainer who workers there who we will call Mark. I had originally signed up for 90 minutes of training time which I wanted to break up into two 45 minute sessions. I told them that I wanted to learn power lifting exercises and other stuff using the barbell. That I wanted to make sure that I was using i safely.

Now this isn’t the first time that I have had a trainer, I used to have a very good trainer a few years back but I am no longer at that gym. Immediately I did not feel comfortable with Mark. Something about him told me that he did not know what he was doing or preaching, so I decided to test him. I may not know much about how to dead lift, but I know plenty about how not to dead lift. I did the first two as correctly as I could but then for the last 2 I purposely did them wrong. the first one I hiked the bar (popped it up) to myself and shot my hips up and he said “good good” and last one I curled the bar in (low weight obviously) and lifted from my toes and he said that I did all 4 perfectly. I just remember looking and thinking, really?

This was a pattern that continued throughout the rest of the session at the end of which I told myself that I would not be using the remaining time that I had. He tried to contact me several times about setting up an appointment and I either had plans and couldn’t make it or I just said I wasn’t available. Luckily our times weren’t the most compatible. I just did not feel comfortable working with a guy who could be so blind to the wrong way of doing heavy and unsafe exercising when done wrong. In the weeks to follow I saw him exercising a few times on his own and he just looked clueless taking care of himself so I did not want him to work with me.

Back to the current day where I am talking to Greg and he is pointing stuff out to me that is actually helpful. He is showing me what I am doing wrong and even when I try to throw something in to test him, he is catching it. This is what I want in a trainer. Someone who actually knows and makes you feel comfortable with their knowledge. He helped me with my shoulder placement when bench pressing as well as was helping my wife with her shoulder placement when she is dumbbell benching. He spent a good 25-30 minutes with us and I was happy to the point where I want to use that remaining 45 minutes that I paid for but only if he could be the trainer assigned to me.

Nobody likes to be told that they are doing something wrong, especially when they have been doing it that way for a while, but when the right person comes around and points out to you what you are doing wrong and how to fix and is taking the time out of their day to do so, I can only appreciate them for it. I may have to lower my weight to start doing things the right way but if it means that I will be safer when lifting more weight and get the actual gains that I am looking for than it is worth it. Just like how I went back to benching 135 when I was up to 220 so that I can put more time and effort into learning proper form to make sure that I am being as safe as possible.

Cheers!

An Average Beginning

35082-NZT5J5It’s a new time in my life where I am in the process of trying to make a better me. For years I have looked for influence to go to the gym and never found it. Trainer appointments, going with friends, new diets and none of them got my interested. When I got back from my honeymoon (which consisted of cooking healthy food and a lot of hiking) and I saw I gained 7 pounds, I knew life changes had to be made.

My workouts at the time consisted of going to the gym 3 days a week for 30-40 minutes, doing 5-6 different exercises of random body parts and going home tired and exhausted but feeling like I accomplished nothing. Suddenly with new purpose I found myself going to the gym more often, generating workout plans to follow and organizing my body into different muscle
groups on different days and lifting more weight safely.

It has been 5 months and where the needle on the scale has returned to where it was before my honeymoon, the gains in stamina, my physical strength and size of my muscles show where my hard work has gone and where it will continue to go. Come with me on this journey because “you need to start in order to finish”