If you think this is going to be about a bra, you’re going to be minorly dissappointed. Although hang tight until the end – I won’t let you down like that two-dollar clearance bra you bought because it had cute polka dots and was, you know, two dollars.
First Things First
Reader Rachel sent me a question about push ups. Not the bra variety but the actual up & down on your hands kind.
This has been bothering me TO NO END. I complain about it all the time, and that would be: my sorry lack of push-up ability. I am improving in every area of fitness except for the dreaded push up. I used to be able to do about 8 – until I realized that a real push-up means basically kissing the ground at the bottom of the movement, in which case I can only do 4. 4!!! And beleive it or not, that is an improvement over the 3 that I could do 3 months ago. And yes, I’ve had trainers check my form and I am doing it correctly.
what can I do? I practice push-ups about 4 times per week – always going to muscle failure (it obviously doesn’t take long) then switching to halfsies (going down in a full push-up, then to knees on the way up.)
Any ideas on how to improve my push-ups? I’ve always had a weak upper body, but it’s getting much stronger (I’m now in the “strength” section of MBG for just about everything) and YET my push-ups suck. Any advice from you or your readers would be much appreciated.
Ah, Rachel. I am bothered that you are so bothered! Do not feel alone – I do not know a single woman that hasn’t struggled with push-ups at some point. And probably most men too, not that they’ll admit to it. The humble push-up can work you in ways that no other exercise can, and yet it has the possibility of wrist & elbow pain, rib misalignments that require chiropractic care (in the case of Gym Buddy Candice), and the always-fun face plant into a dirty floor.
As for your technique, I couldn’t possibly explain it any better than our beloved MizFit. Check out her video on push-ups and her follow-up guide to all things push-up (except, again, for the bras – I think she was intentionally leaving that for me. She’s nice that way.)
As for your quandry of how to improve your mad push-up skillz faster, I do have a suggestion of my own: train around the muscles. Don’t just rely on push-ups to build those pecs, bis, tris and delts – train those with other exercises, especially weighted ones. I can’t really explain why but for some reason my push-ups and my pull-ups go hand in hand. When I started to really train my pull-ups then my push-ups simultaneously got a lot better. Can’t do pull-ups yet? Just the thought of repeating your disastrous eighth-grade arm-hang experience makes you want to hide in girl’s locker room? Work negative pull-ups. Other good exercises to help your push-ups include bicep curls, tricep extensions, chest press and the military press.
You’ll get there girl – next time you write, I’m sure you’ll be doing plyo push-ups;) Keep up the good work! Nothing makes me feel more like She-Ra (princess of power!!) more than banging out more push-ups than the guy next to me:) What about your tips? Guys, this is your chance to chime in since you certainly won’t get to in the next section.
You knew I’d come back to this eventually. I got an interesting tip from a gym friend who will remain unnamed for soon-to-be-apparent reasons. The other day I was complaining about the lack of thicker sports bras in my size. Why thicker? Well let’s just say that Nips Ahoy isn’t a stage name. And since having kids the girls sometimes like to work independently. Ahem. So anyhow, my gym friend told me her secret to the perfect rack (and I do not mean on the Smith machine) is to buy one of those bandeau-type bras and put it under her sports bra! Genius!! It’s the best of both worlds – coverage of a non-gym bra but with the support of any cute sports bra I can find! And no stray straps to worry about hanging out of my tank top!
So what’s your fave way of reining the girls in without getting all IHOP on your chest? Anyone have a secret to share??
PS> I’ve had a flurry (not to be confused with a blizzard or even a mediocre hail storm) of questions about me and my site. So I added a FAQ page. It was probably about time anyhow. So if you are interested in the minutiae, check out the link under my pic.