Getting Pushy with Some Push-Ups

I want to be able to do push-ups easily.

This isn’t the first time I have expressed this wish and it’s not the first time I have tried to work on them.

I have made all kinds of attempts to improve my push-ups through weekly challenges, monthly challenges, and modifications but they have never stuck.  

At some point in each attempt I have either ended up with a pain in my upper back and given up or I reached the end of the challenge and been stronger but not really any better at the exercise itself.

The author, wearing sunglasses, a green bandanna, a black shirt, and grey and black leggings, does a push-up on the grass in a field on a sunny day.
Here I am practicing some push-ups in 2016. Yes, I can see the wonky things I am doing here – that’s kind of my point.

I can struggle through them now. My form isn’t great and I do wonky things with my arms/shoulders and, generally, I end up with a pain behind my right shoulder blade after I have done a few.

But what I *want* to be able to do is to drop to the floor and be able to do 25 push-ups with beautiful form and that kind of mechanical grace that people with that specific kind of strength have.

You know the kind I mean? It looks like they are right in the challenge zone for their fitness – as in ‘this is hard but within reach.’

My problem with push-ups is partly strength-related, partly psychological and partly mechanical.

The first part, the strength, will come with practice but for the psychological and mechanical parts, I have brought in my secret weapon…my cousin, Ken, the chiropractor.

(We’ve come a long since back in the day when I used to babysit him.)

Now, Ken not only fixes my various aches and pains but he also gives me great biomechanical advice.  And since he pays attention when I am talking about my issues surrounding a given exercise, I am happy to actually listen his advice.

And (this is huge) I don’t even mind doing the exercise badly in front of him so he can see where the problem lies (I usually freeze when asked to do an exercise related thing that I don’t quite ‘get’ yet.)

So, Ken has a program set out for me – 3 times a week with various exercises and specific formulations of push-ups. The exercises make sense and they feel progressive.*

I was supposed to really get into a couple of weeks ago but March was such a challenging month for me that I didn’t commit myself fully.

That’s where April comes in.

I’ve made myself a fun little chart and I am going to do Ken’s push-up routine at least 12 times this month.

A rectangular white card covered in gold dots sits on a wooden surface. The card features a grid with 12 blocks, each block contains a date  written in green. The word April is at the top and the words Push-Ups Phase 1 are at the bottom.
Making a fun chart increases my chances of actually doing the thing I set out to do. Clearly specific time in my schedule helps too, 😉

Anyone want to join me with a push-up routine of their own? Or will you just be cheering me on?

I’ll check in mid-month to let you know how I’m doing.

*My ADHD really argues with me about doing individual things that don’t seem related to the project as a whole. It does not trust that we are not just wasting time.

8 thoughts on “Getting Pushy with Some Push-Ups

  1. Sounds like fun!
    I get you when you say it seems like doing a strong set of push-ups represents a certain type of strength! I LOVE and admire seeing that grace in people, and I think it is an awesome goal to have for oneself! And as you say, seems like it should be totally doable as a personal goal!

    FWIW, I never do push-ups in my lifting routines unless a program specifically puts them in there. I will do dumbbell chest presses until the cows come home, but something about push-ups always feels a bit off and less-than-empowering (too many done on my knees as a girl?). I have funky shoulder issues on one side and have always enjoyed using that as an excuse. 😉 But maybe you’ll give me motivation to build them back into my warm-ups!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Marjorie Rose and I am so glad you knew what I meant by the grace!

      Funny how pushups are like that for so many people, hey?

      Let’s see how things go over the next month, maybe we’ll both be experts by May! 😉

  2. I have the same experience with them. I’ve tried lots of times, and yet still can’t do them. I’ll be starting from zero again! I can’t even do knee push ups (which I was quite good at) now because of knee replacements! I would love to join you in this push-up adventure. Are you able and willing to share the plan?

    1. Annette, one option for modifying push-ups instead of doing them on your knees is to do them at an incline. Rest your palms on a weight bench (or a sturdy chair, or the arm of your sofa, whatever), assume the position, and proceed to slowly lower the incline (using a lower surface like a step bench) until you can do them from the floor. I have found this variation to have closer mechanics to a “regular” push-up than knee push-ups, since it requires me to hold that full plank position, and therefore the strength transfers well as I progress.

      1. Thanks for the reminder, Marjorie Rose. I did that before the knee surgeries, but had forgotten about the program. I didn’t get down to full push ups but was getting close. Cheers 🤓

    2. Annette, I replied to your email but I just received notification that it can’t be delivered yet. If you don’t get it by this evening, we can try another method.

      I don’t want to just share it here because I don’t want anyone who happens upon it to take it as medical advice or an exercise prescription. Sharing it just with you is different!

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