How do you feel about push-ups? Do they make you feel strong?
Push-ups are the bane of my fitness existence. For some reason, they have become the hallmark of fitness in my mind and I want to be able to do them, in proper form, and with ease. So far, that has not happened.
I used to think that I could do them but it turns out that my form was all wrong. I was actually doing push-ups in two steps, lifting my upper body and then pulling up my lower body. And let’s not even get into how my elbows were all stuck out.
Those ‘push-ups’ weren’t serving me well or making me stronger. In fact, they were hurting my arm and shoulder. At one point, shortly after getting my 1st degree black belt, I had to take some time off of Taekwon-Do because I had messed up the muscle behind my shoulder blade and I was in a lot of pain. The pain wasn’t just the result of my push-up form but the push-ups definitely didn’t help.
After I recovered from that injury, I vowed that I was going to learn to do push-ups properly – and from the floor. However, life has gotten thoroughly in the way, and I have not made it as much of a priority as I had intended to.
That doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried, it’s mostly that I haven’t stuck with any one system long enough to get results. That’s an issue that often crops up for me – that I am so interested in making the ‘right’ choice of exercises that I end up not doing any specific set consistently.
Here’s what I have tried – I have done some rehab exercises to strengthen the muscles around my shoulder blades. I have done push-ups against the wall, against my counter, and on the stairs. I have done them from my knees. I have done them with my knees resting on a foam half-dome. I feel like I have done every possible variation on a push-up.
Each of these things was moderately successful, I can do a fair number of wall/counter push-ups, for example, but I always have the feeling that if I were doing something *else*, it would be more effective. I don’t know what that elusive ‘something else’ might be but I often feel like I am wasting my time. I keep feeling like there is some other muscle I should strengthen first and then push-ups will come more naturally. I keep feeling that the work I do is not getting me any closer to being able to do push-ups from the floor.
Yes, I can see how ridiculous that is. Or at least, I can see it now, while I’m writing. In all of the times I tried to do push-ups, all I could see was that I wasn’t able to do what I wanted to be able to do. And, that it didn’t feel like I was on the path to being able to do it.
But, when it all comes down to it, I want to be able to do those push-ups from the floor. I want to be able to do them easily, with finesse. It doesn’t actually matter whether they are any sort of proper measure of fitness, I want to be able to do at least 20 of them. I know that going from where I am now to doing 20 push-ups is going to take consistent work. I will have to work hard at it. I will have to get over my (mostly subconscious) search for the shiny, perfect system that will work right away.
So, here’s what I am going to do. I am committing to push-up practice starting today. At least three days a week, I am going to do a set of the shoulder rehab exercises, then I will do a set of of push-ups with my knees on the foam half-dome, and I will finish with a set against the wall. Those sets may not be equal in number but I will be consistent with it.
Right now, I wouldn’t even say I can do one push-up from the floor in good form. I mean, if I *had* to, I could probably pull off doing a few, but they wouldn’t be in good form and I wouldn’t feel confident about it.
I don’t know how long it will take me to get to 20 push-ups. I am hoping it will happen long before I do my next belt test (which might be in June of 2018) but I am not going to worry about a time frame. My goal is to make consistent progress, to keep getting better. I just want to feel confident about my push-up ability – to be sure that I can do a specific number when I want to.
My first phase of this project will be one month. So, when I write my post for the 16th of December, I’ll give you a push-up update. Please hold me to it!
PS – Can you do push-ups easily? How many can you do? Do you have any ideas on how I can make them a bit more fun while I get used to them?