Friday, January 27, 2012

About One Hundred Push Ups

I am not one to back away from a challenge.  Specially a self imposed challenge.

I came across a program called "One Hundred Push Ups" about two years ago.  Interesting, I thought, considering the fact that back then it was a stretch... a very long stretch for me to complete 8-10 push ups in good form.  So, I printed the schedule and off I went.

One thing led to another (excuses I think) and next thing you know I had forgotten about the program.  I don't remember how far into it I progressed, but I think it must have been somewhere around one, maybe two weeks.  The only thing I can think of is that I wasn't totally sold and committed to the challenge.  Yet.

Later on I challenged myself to start, and finish P90X.  Which I did.  The thought of One Hundred Push Ups never crossed my mind again.

That is until a real good facebook friend, James T., started posting his progress in the program. This peaked my interest and curiosity once again for I was looking for something different to do during the winter months.  This seemed like a good idea.  So I pursued it.

After going over the fine print and downloading the plan to my computer, I found that there's a nifty little app for the smart phones.  I quickly paid the $.99 and was on my way.

First thing to do was to perform an initial "test".  Here you are instructed to do as many "good form" push ups as you possibly can, until exhaustion. My number that day was 32.  The phone app told me to skip to week 3 because of the number of reps I was able to do.  Sweeet!

After performing all the required reps three times per week for the next four weeks, I came to the end of the program.  According to plan, I should be able to do, in the final "test" at least 100 push ups.  I was able to push up 111 times.  I did this in 4:18.

The key to success here is simple.  Commitment and plenty of Concentration.  While performing the high number of push ups it is imperative that you maintain good form:  shoulder width hand spacing, feet hip width apart, straight line alignment of the body, tight core, chin up, eyes straight down, full extension and all the way down as close to the floor as possible... bad form will drain your energy.  You should also continue to breath... Inhale as you go down, Exhale as you push up (at the point of most exertion).  Also break the number down into small, manageable numbers.  Thinking of 10's is much easier to imagine than thinking of 100.  When you start to feel wobbly and loosing concentration, take a deep breath, refocus of a few seconds and continue.

So what's next?  I will continue to do push ups as part of my regular strength routine.  I have found that my swim stroke has improved two fold since starting this challenge, mostly due to the muscles used doing a push up.  I have come up with a simple plan, which I have followed since finishing this challenge:  Sets of 30, 30, 20, 20, 15, 15, 10, 10, 5, 5.  In between I rest one second per push up performed, and yes... those last two sets of five each... they're tough!

Please go to this blog's facebook page and click "like" to keep up with my training... The feedback I get from you is always a source of tremendous inspiration to me.