Archive for: Pushups
Here is a great email about how many people feel after a long day of work or sport practices and you have to also prepare for a fitness test in the military or special ops training in your near future.
Stew, I am a specialist in the Texas National Guard and I have an extremely hard time with my APFT. My civilian job involves constant lifting, pushing, pulling etc…of heavy objects, I can feel myself getting stronger but my pushup score is declining during tests. I have increased my workout to try to compensate but it doesn’t seem to be helping. When I perform pushups during the test it feels like I’m fighting my chest and shoulder muscles to move downward. I’m wondering if the constant heavy workout is affecting my range of motion and making pushups harder for me? Have you ever heard/encountered this? How can I get my APFT score back up?
When it comes time to training, we each have our favorite exercises. You know, you walk into the gym and you’re just like “Yes, I get to do ____ today!” However, are your favorite exercises the best exercises for you? Are you getting the results you’re looking for with those exercises? I breakdown a bunch of exercises that are not only beneficial for your body, but are also not the same boring stuff you did the last week. Check out some of my favorite exercises, muscle by muscle, that produce results!
Here is a good question about performing at a maximum level on fitness testing. As with weight training, you do not want to do daily high repetition calisthenics on the same muscle groups. In fact, when you push the limits of 500‑1000 reps in a workout, you could still be pushing it too much still. See what young hard charger says:
Stew, I used to do 1000 pushups a day and built up to 80 pushups in two minutes. After reading your article on Stop Doing Daily PT I dropped to 1000 pushups every OTHER day. I am doing well with everything else (pullups, situps, run, and swim) but cannot get over 100 pushups on the PST? What gives?
Your problem is pretty common actually. Even though your volume of pushups is very high, you would think that 100 reps in a two minute period is going to happen sooner than you think. Well, this increase is tough. It is like dropping from a 7 minute mile pace to a 6 minute mile pace. It takes time AND practice with two minute pushups tests. Also in the Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD Physical Screening Test (PST) you have to swim 500 yards first, so when you do your pushup sets you should mix it with swimming. For instance do Swim / PT like this:
Photo courtesy of The New York Times
The cold winter weather might be keeping you home, away from the gym, or sending you out of town, packing for warmer climates. I was recently reviewed by the New York Times about moves for the busy business traveler, but you can do them anywhere, for any travel reason, or just at home in your living room.
The two they featured are (photo attached, curtesy, NY Times):
1) The Incline push-up. When feet are higher than the hands, you get a different challenge for those pectorals. Do 5 sets of 20 reps, for 100 a day. View photo.
2) The reverse fly with hydrant. This works the upper back (trapezius and rhomboids), which is the opposing muscle group to the pecs, so they are perfect to do together. Don’t have a weight? Fill a hotel iron with water and that will do for 20 or more reps! The move also targets your abs because you are off balance, and your outer thighs as you lift your opposite leg out to the side. View photo.
Most everyone has heard about the Spartan 300 Workout developed for the actors in the movie 300 by the Gym Jones folks. If you have not seen this or tried it, be warned it is pretty advanced, but you can make your own variations with some creativity as the core of this workout is fantastic.
The 300 is designed like this: Six exercises for 50 reps of each = 300 total reps. Now the original 300 is this specific series of exercises:
Short workouts a little birdy created
Sixty percent of our annual weight gain happens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Everyone can use some Fit Travel Workouts during the holidays and who doesn’t want Hard Core ABs into the New Year? so to get a jump on your resolutions and avoid the Heavy Holidays weight gain with a 15 minute workout session from my daily Twitter #moveoftheday tweets! Follow me for more@NikkiFitness — I tweet a new, free move every day!
Here is a very commonly asked question about adding calisthenics like pushups, dips, and pullups into a standard weight training program. The answer is that is can be done but it is not recommended one of the ways it is asked in this question:
“Stew, I am a little confused about adding pullups and pushups into my weight training program. I mean should I mix them into the days I do upperbody like bench press and pulldowns or should I do them on separate days in between?”
Here is a commonly asked email from military members who are placed in charge of their command’s group PT program, but this one is a request for more advanced workouts for his hardcore group at his command. See his request:
Stew, Thanks for your numerous articles / books as I have used them since I was a civilian several years ago. Now, I am placed in a position to spice up our Command PT and we have many advanced level athletes who spend much of their free time at the gym, running races, or preparing for their future Spec Ops careers. Any recommendations for tougher than average workouts we can do as a group?
Here is a common question that has multiple answers and methods to reach the ability to do pullups and pushups. You have to start somewhere. Check out the request:
Dear Mr. Smith: I have begun to follow your 90 day wkout. I am a young woman in my 20’s, and I am in EMT/Paramedic school, and I have never been able to do a real push up. Do you have any pointers on how I would be able to progress to accomplishing this goal? Also do you have any pointers on doing pullups? Any help would be a godsend and greatly appreciated.
Yes — there are many ways to build up your strength to do pullups and pushups and to be honest the common denominator between men and women who can do these exercises is that they practice pullups and pushups. But how to you get to the level where you can actually practice these calisthenics?
Here is an open topic for your favorite pullup / pushup variety workouts:
My top three are:
Pullup / 8 count pushup or burpee pyramid - Start off by doing 1 pullup — run 25yds and do one 8 count pushup or burpee (your choice). Then continue up the pyramid:
run 25m — 2 pullups — run 25m — 2 burpees
run 25m — 3 pullups — run 25m — 3 burpees
Continue up the pyramid until you fail or you can reach ten and repeat in reverse order. We did this one today and every 5th set we ran a mile. So sets 1–5 then mile run, sets 6–10 then mile run, 10–6 then mile run, 5–1 then mile run.
There are many hurdles you have to go through to get INTO any of the Service Academies — academics, test scores, leadership roles, athletics, community service, the CFA etc…There are even more to get THROUGH the Academy but we can save that discussion for another thread.
Here is a video I made recently on the CFA and will help many of you get better scores in pullups, pushups, situps, shuttle runs, mile run and the oddly used basketball throw from the knees.
In this episode, we’ll be focusing on upper body and core strength. All you’ll need is a figure 8 resistance band, dumbbells and a normal resistance band. Plus, nutritionist Capt Brianne Newman has tips on good eating habits and we how to properly rehabilitate an injury.
I’ve written about improving your push-up power for beginners, and about my 100 push-up boot camp, but what if you want to break the mold and try some new tricks for the pecs? In honor of my intense Slimnastics workout book coming out this June, I wanted to share with you my favorite variations on the amazing arm toner move we all love (and love to hate).
I have helped a lot of people with push-ups. Some needed to pass a physical fitness test, some wanted to be able to do push-ups off their knees, and some just wanted to have smoking arms.
My plan to get anyone to do 100 push-ups in a single training session is this:
Get in shape:
If you can’t do 10 push-ups on your toes in a plank position, then start doing this routine on your knees, with hands wider than shoulders, so that as you lower, your elbows line up over your wrists like a field goal post formation. Then work up to doing 2 on your toes, and 8 on your knees, then 5 and 5 until finally you are strong enough to do 10 push-ups at a time on your toes.
Recently I blogged here about my favorite time of year– football season while the weather is still warm. And as a former Syracuse University cheerleader and football office assistant, I got to see a lot of college practices and pre-game warm ups. So in my NYC fitness classes and my Booty Camp DVD (Amazon and Nikkifitness.com) I created football drills to go with popular football songs to keep you from getting fat this football season!
You can check out my earlier blog for the football music playlists. And here is part of the segment I did on Fox and Friends to show some drills you can do before the game, and suggestions of moves during the game!
Are you ready for a really effective, time-efficient workout?
Multitasking is something we do in everyday life, and it can be applied to our fitness routine by combining muscles in the upper– and lower-body at the same time, while the core kicked in to help us balance. These three moves work biceps, shoulders, chest, upper back and triceps along with quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves, while tightening your core!
With cardio intervals, these moves give you part of a complete workout. For more like these, visit www.nikkifitness.com for my DVDs.
Planks are one of the cheapest, easiest and quickest ways to tone your body anywhere you go. They work your abs all over, and if you get creative you can also add glutes, and thighs, triceps, shoulders, upper back and pecs to the list! Here are some of my favorite plank variations (From my Fit Travel Workout) for your next sweat session.
Got kids? Got free time? Usually if the answer to the first question is “Yes”, then the second is “No.” However, I have a way to squeeze in a workout while you get the kids outside on the playground this summer.
Check out this recent segment I did with my toddler, and reporter Courtney Friel,a friend and personal training client (and new mom) on Fox and Friends. Whether you are back from a tour of duty, getting ready for basic training, or holding down the home-front, these moves and my Baby Bootie Camp DVD give you ways to work out with the baby anywhere, or get out on the playground with your older kids for quality time that burns calories!
You might be spending Memorial Weekend in awe of those who serve and remembering those who served in the past. During your three days off, if you have a moment to think about you health as well, try this quick drill I did for Military Spouse Appreciation Day on Fox and Friends. This one drill works almost every muscle group and is a great cardio and toning workout wrapped into one.