Nobody likes to be called a dummy by a dummy.

pushups

I had a whole bunch of new years resolutions at the beginning of 2006.  I guess they weren't resolutions as goals for the year.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to hit most of them, but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on the one I'm not going to get at the rate I'm going.

I want to be able to do one pushup by the end of the year.  A real one, without my knees on the ground.  I have seen improvement - I can get about halfway down now without collapsing - but anywhere near the ground and my arms just give way.  An embarrasingly small number of pushups with my knees on the ground makes me sore for days.

So, any suggestions?
Permalink the great purple 
September 1st, 2006 1:11pm
Maybe work your way up in bench press weight?

If you arms are giving out, that might work. If it's not being able to keep your body straight, that could be many different muscles. But the muscles in a bench press are pretty much the same as a push up otherwise.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
September 1st, 2006 1:16pm
Can you give us some more info 'cause not being able to do 1 push up seems to weak to be true.

Are you male / female?
How old are you?
Have you been sick or something?
Permalink Send private email Locutus of Borg 
September 1st, 2006 1:17pm
Coincidentally, I too have started pushups, situps, and jumping jacks in the morning before my shower.  I'm trying to get to 20 of each.

And yes, those first few pushups are difficult, and make my shoulders sore the rest of the day.  I just tell myself "It's a GOOD sore," and go on.

One additional thing I've done is to purchase a 'chinning' bar, and mounted it to my bedroom door frame.  I've given it two positions -- "high" (at about 7 feet) and "low" (at about 2 feet off the ground).

I find I can do pushups to the bar in the 'low' position pretty well.  I'm hoping that these will strengthen my arms to the point where I can do without the bar.  We'll see.
Permalink Somebody 
September 1st, 2006 1:17pm
I have no problem with keeping my body straight.  Core stability is really good, and my abs are pretty strong.  It's my chest and arms that have pretty much no strength.  Something I feel I should fix. :)
Permalink the great purple 
September 1st, 2006 1:17pm
Wow...1 push-up? You a monstrous fatty?
Permalink ,..., 
September 1st, 2006 1:17pm
I am female for those of you confused about why I can't do a pushup.
Permalink the great purple 
September 1st, 2006 1:18pm
OK that explains some
Permalink Send private email Locutus of Borg 
September 1st, 2006 1:19pm
http://www.frappr.com/joelonsoftware/photo/875760

Is this you?
Permalink Colm 
September 1st, 2006 1:20pm
You should start out easy and make it gradually harder.
Start out by doing a pushup against a bed with your feet on the ground. If that works try to decrease the difference in height between your feet and hands.
If you go gradually you don't risk straining anything and the soreness will be less as well.
Permalink Send private email Locutus of Borg 
September 1st, 2006 1:21pm
LOL!  No part of my body is actually purple.  I have a nickname that reminds me of purple-ness.
Permalink the great purple 
September 1st, 2006 1:21pm
what's a 2 foot off the ground chinup bar good for? besides tripping over?
Permalink  
September 1st, 2006 1:21pm
<<what's a 2 foot off the ground chinup bar good for? besides tripping over?>>

reverse pushup.  lie back on the ground and pull your body to the bar.
Permalink Kenny 
September 1st, 2006 1:27pm
Keep doing with your knees on the ground. Keep working until you can do like 100 with your knees on the ground and then try without them.
Permalink Lustiges Häschen 
September 1st, 2006 1:29pm
Soreness is actually only one of two problems when doing strength training.  The other is that my heart rate speeds up crazily, which I guess means I'm trying to do too much?  But the weights I use are already 5lbs, and I don't think they come any lighter than 3lbs...  this is mostly for stuff that involves lifting the weights over my head.  Pushups have the same effect though.
Permalink the great purple 
September 1st, 2006 1:30pm
<<So, any suggestions?>>

try doing them on the stairs with your hands on the stair and your feet on the ground.

only do the stair at which you can do at least 10.  gradually, you'll be doing a lower and lower stair as your strength improves.

do SLOW pushups.  count to 2 on the way down, and 4 on the way up.

do three sets of these with a 90 second break in between.

only do this exercise twice a week, no more.
Permalink Kenny 
September 1st, 2006 1:30pm
a hundred, seriously?  I can do like 10 before I feel like I'm going to die.
Permalink the great purple 
September 1st, 2006 1:31pm
>reverse pushup.  lie back on the ground and pull your body to the bar.

That will exert your biceps and your lats. It'll do remarkable little for your triceps/delts.

It's a good exercise, I just don't see it helping in the goal of a pushup.
Permalink Send private email Dennis Forbes 
September 1st, 2006 1:31pm
++Kenny.
Permalink Lustiges Häschen 
September 1st, 2006 1:31pm
Heh.  Using the bed would have been much simpler.  Story of my life.

But at 7 feet it makes a really good place to put clothes hangers temporarily, while you're taking clothes out of the dryer and hanging them up.

And yes, I put two bands of flourescent orange tape on the bar, because otherwise tripping over it was quite easy to do.
Permalink Somebody 
September 1st, 2006 1:32pm
ooh, I like the stairs idea.  I live in an apartment building and the other residents will definitely think I've lost my mind. :-)
Permalink the great purple 
September 1st, 2006 1:32pm
oh, ok.

the OP should recall her trigonometry ... less force the more upright you are. So I would try doing pushups off a chair which makes the angle more upright and puts more weight on the feet. once a chair is mastered try a bed. then off the floor.

Just keep doing them. Pushups are bit painful till your muscles get into the swing of things.

I have trouble with my bones while doing pushups. It's like a fireworks display.
Permalink  
September 1st, 2006 1:34pm
Sure.  Work you way UP TO 100 BEFORE you try to do them flat.  So, right now you're at 10.  In two days, you can be at 12 or 15.  In another week, you get to 20.  After a month, maybe 40.  THEN, you can try doing pushups from the ground. 

And don't rush it.  Increasing by 5 per week should be do-able.  Increasing by 10 per week may not be.
Permalink Somebody 
September 1st, 2006 1:34pm
I'd suggest divebombers, but you may be to weak to do those too. But give it a try.

Here's a page with a description:
http://outside.away.com/outside/magazine/0396/9603breg.html
Permalink Send private email Rock Hardbuns 
September 1st, 2006 1:35pm
pushups, for ladies (and gents too, but gents don't have as much trouble with the first one), ...

http://www.stumptuous.com/cms/displayarticle.php?aid=75
Permalink Send private email just me 
September 1st, 2006 1:37pm
another good way to add some pushup strength is to do them with your hands on a swiss ball.
Permalink Kenny 
September 1st, 2006 1:42pm
What's a swiss ball?  <Straight line theater?>
Permalink Somebody 
September 1st, 2006 1:44pm
Heh. I can hardly do one pushup either. :-)

My arms just don't have the strength to lift my body. I never could do more than five or so pushups even when I was young. Some people don't have the natural build to do pushups without training. Funnily enough though, I could (and can) do pullups with ease. I could whizz up a climbing rope with just my hands where other people would struggle to get a foot off the ground.
Permalink Send private email bon vivant 
September 1st, 2006 1:51pm
Get one of those excercise balls. We use a bunch here at the office as chair alternatives. Using a smaller one (I think 55cm is the smallest one, 75-80cm diameter is the larger one):
1 - balance on the ball so that you are evenly ballanced.
2 - slide/roll so that the head-end is heavier.
3 - this takes almost all of the weight off of your arms, so you can do a couple.
4 - This also lets you concentrate on balance, posture and proper alignment, so that when you're able to do it all by yourself, then you'll be doing it "right."
5 - gradually move to where the ball's pivot point is below the knees. By this time, your arms are doing all the work.

Helpful hints when using one as a chair alternative at the office: if you feel a breeze on your legs, stand up as fast as you can. We've had 2 blowouts at the office, which are amusing only to bystanders.
Permalink Peter 
September 1st, 2006 2:08pm
+2 to starting off with a chair.  Using the edge of the bed makes it tougher because the mattress flexes under your hands.

Hand positioning is also important.  Too high above or too low below the nipple line makes it more difficult.  Same thing with width -- too far away from the body doesn't get you the same effort.
Permalink xampl 
September 1st, 2006 3:53pm
I don't have much to add. But a good overall weight lifting site for women is: http://www.stumptuous.com/cms
Permalink son of parnas 
September 1st, 2006 4:25pm
First, Great Purple, do you have any medical conditions you're not telling us about, like a heart murmur or funky blood pressure or brittle bones?

If you don't have any precluding medical condition, don't be afraid to push your limits with pushups.  Even if arms completely give out on you, you aren't going to fall very far.  It's a very safe exercise.

The other hint with pushups in particular is that you need to put most of your focus into controlling your elbows.  It doesn't take great feats of strength for your arms to lift you body's weight, they're more or less built for the task.  Getting control over that wobbly elbox though is a challenge, and I found that it isn't really related to strength at all.  Just focus on keeping them both steady and you'll find it fairly easy to do your pushup.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
September 1st, 2006 5:03pm
I'm going to try that when I get home Clay, but I think I am still going to find it fairly impossible to push my body up with my arms.
Permalink Send private email bon vivant 
September 1st, 2006 6:54pm
I would just keep doing the knee pushups until you can do 100 of them, like somebody else said. Once you hit 20, try doing a regular pushup. If you can do 20 knee pushups in a row on a regular basis you should be able to do ONE regular pushup.

If you can do 10 knee push ups in a row, just do that every day. Every week, add one more pushup to your set. In 10 weeks you should be able to do 20 pushups on your knees, and I'm guessing you will be strong enough to pull of one regular one.

I did a similar strategy this year, only my goal was to do 500 push ups in a row. I could do about 60 in january, and I just added 10 every week.
Permalink  
September 2nd, 2006 3:27am

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