Tag Archives: s

Wednesday 7 August


Push ups - Why is such a seemingly easy exercise so difficult?

Midline stability.

Too many people think the pushup is all about upper body strength, specifically pushing strength from the pecs, delts and triceps.

But I'm reminded of the saying that did the rounds when core training was all the rage (unfortunately to the detriment of actual decent physical training, but that's another story......)......" you can't shoot a cannon from a canoe"........the rationale behind this statement was that if your core was weak you could not apply force effectively from your limbs.

It's absolutely correct.  If you can't stabilise your midline then it's very tough to press yourself up from the ground, or hold yourself above it with much control (planks, L-sits, handstands etc).  Ok sure, you can do pushups WITHOUT stabilising your midline, and if you catch an inexperienced judge at a comp, you may get away with THIS, but don't think that stuff is going to fly here... saggy, partial rep pushups are number2 on the coaches pet peeve list....

Good pushup position does not look like this.


Now the above might seem pretty obvious to most of you, but what about this one then?


This looks pretty darn good, and  yes I'm being a little picky here, but despite what you may think, if the body is in a straight line from shoulder to ankle, you can't generate optimal tension within the torso.  Plus, from a range of motion perspective, when you lower your body, your chest wont be the first thing to touch the ground as per required standards, but rather your thighs, hips or stomach, thus reducing the amount of work done, or bringing about a 'no rep' if in competition.


Now we're talking.  Hips slightly up, shoulders slightly in front of wrist, neutral neck and good tension on midline.

One last point.....


Elbows in!!  Flared out arms are a recipe for shoulder issues at worst, and at the least, will make it tougher to get full range of motion.

knee-pushupsWant to improve your pushups?  It aint gonna happen with kneeling pushups.  PS. don't let me hear you calling them girl pushups either.  Here's a short program you could hit every two or three days as a supplement to regular training.  Once you get through all 5 sessions, just start again.  After 3 weeks, take a week off and then retest.

Session 1:

Test or re-test max reps push ups.  If you currently have 0 pushups, use a band for assistance.  Go with the smallest possible band you can still get at least 1 rep with.

Session 2:

5 x 3-5 push ups, resting 60-90s between sets. Add weight or perform on rings if you need to make it tougher. Use band assistance to make it easier.

Session 3:

3 x 12-25 push ups, resting 90s between sets.  Use band assistance if needed, or perform hands elevated pushups (hands on a stack of sandbags or a box to decrease the load on your upperbody)

Session 4:

Spend two minutes in a push up plank hold, take short breaks if needed.  Once you can do 2 mins unbroken, add 30s each time.

Session 5:

6 x 5-10s pushup negatives. Rest 30s between sets. Perform on DB's or plates to get a little more range of motion.




5 x 3 reps

Pullups (weighted)

5 x 2-3 reps


5 Thruster 60/35kg

10 TTB

AMRAP 7mins



5 x 5

Alternate with,

Rope Climb practice


5 Single Arm KB Hang Cluster e/arm

10 Slamballs

AMRAP in 7mins


Strict Ring Dips

- max reps

Weighted Step ups w/ DB’s or front rack barbell

- 8 reps e/leg, control the negative part of the rep.

Pendlay Row

- 12 reps

3-4 rounds, rest as needed