Once upon a time I could do a push up. Many, even! But then I got pregnant and had a baby and the phrase “shredded, ripped abs” took on a whole new meaning. You never know how much you use your core muscles until you no longer have any. I discovered this the other day when I talked my dubious husband into walking the track with the wee Jelly Bean so I could do half a Turbokick class. Maybe it was too early to go back to high-impact activities but I’m not going to lie to you, it was like fitness crack and I’ll do it again the second I get another chance. I felt awesome.
Until we got to the ab portion at the end, that is. I wasn’t expecting to be able to do the situps yet but when the teacher threw in a few planks and push ups I figured as I had kept up with my arm and shoulder strength, I should be fine.
Superheroes have nothing on my abs – not only are my abs invisible but they are apparently immaterial as well. Most people think of push ups as a shoulder/chest exercise but I’m here to tell you that your core also plays a big role. Thankfully at that point my baby had woken up and I fled the studio to nurse her and my broken bellybutton in shame. After that I resolved to work – slowly – on my push ups at home.
Despite being one of the best and most basic body weight exercises you can do, push ups often get overlooked unless you are selling funny handles that aren’t attached to anything. Part of that I think is being nose to the ground puts you on eye level with all the nastiness on the gym floor – go to muscle failure and you’re flossing your teeth with a hairball of suspicious origin. Not to mention their unfortunate rep as the punishment exercise, as in “drop and give me 20!” But the real reason I think push ups are so often relegated to workout filler is that they’re boring.
Okay, they’re boring and they hurt a lot.
One way to pimp your push ups that has been popular of late is to do the 100 push up challenge. Our own Sagan, Merry, Quix, and many others of you in blogland are alumni of this program. But I needed to smart smaller so when I came across an upper body workout from Pop Pilates I figured it would be a good warm up. Plus it was free and only ten minutes. How hard could it be?
Warm up, my pajama clad booty! It kicked my butt.
Between grunts of pain and unauthorized time outs, I gained a grudging respect for the power of Pilates. I always knew it was great for core strength but who knew it could be a whole body workout? (Okay, Alyssa knows, I’m sure.) There were three different kinds of push ups including a variety with your hands pointing in that I had never seen before. Those are some killer push ups. Seriously, you have to try it.
So today I’m challenging you: bored with normal push ups? Looking for a way to fit exercise into your day today? See if you can do this whole workout without pausing or taking any breaks. (I couldn’t!) If you’re already Tarzan chestacular then try doing the workout on your toes. It’s only ten minutes!
Still too easy? You’ll love this one: