February Challenge Begins

All hail the mighty push up!

Why push ups?  Well, I believe (and I’m not alone) that the push up is the single most effective upper body/core strengthening exercise.  And *bonus*  it does not require any equipment.

Unlike other challenges that expect you to bang out 100 push ups by the end of a month, this challenge is going to be slightly different.

  • I want to make sure you are doing the push up properly.  Form is paramount.
  • Beginners:  We’ll start you out in a modified position (on your knees), perfect your form and increase your reps.
  • Intermediate and Advanced:  If you’re already going military push ups (on your hands and feet), we’ll perfect your form and add some harder variations
  • In the middle:  Some of you have been doing a modified push upfor a long time and haven’t made the jump to military push ups for whatever reason.  This challenge will nudge you along.

First, we’re going to take a little test.

1.  Get a notebook, post it note or your calendar (paper or electronic).

2.  Do a 3 or 4 minute warm up – walk in place, jog in place, walk up and down the hallway.  NEVER perform any strength exercises ‘cold’.

3.  We’re going to test how many push ups you can complete before your form drops.  That means once you go half way instead of all the way down, you’re done.  If you have to take a break to stretch your arms, you’re done.  If your butt hitches up to the sky or your abs drop to the ground, you’re done.  Record your number and keep this in a safe place, we’ll need it at the end of the month.

Choose from the following “styles” of push up.

Military

  • Start on your hands and toes, in full plank position, with your hands slightly to the sides of your shoulders.
  • Engage your core muscles by trying to bring your belly button toward your spine, then slowly lower your body toward the ground while keeping your neck and spine aligned — no drooping allowed.
  • To keep your neck in proper alignment is to stare at a fixed point about 6-8 inches in front of your hands.
  • When your chest is about a fist-distance away from the ground, slowly press back up to full plank position.
  • Repeat until you can’t perform your push up with good form.

Modified Push up 

  • Kneel on a mat or the ground, walk your hands out slightly to the sides of your shoulders
  • Engage your core muscles by trying to bring your belly button toward your spine, then slowly lower your body toward the ground while keeping your neck and spine aligned — no drooping allowed.
  • To keep your neck in proper alignment is to stare at a fixed point about 6-8 inches in front of your hands.
  • When your chest is about a fist-distance away from the ground, slowly press back up to full plank position.
  • Repeat until you can’t perform your push up with good form.

Note:  Make sure that your body creates a straight line from shoulders to hips in either position.  Do not hitch your hips up to the sky.  

Commence with your push ups.  REMEMBER – once you cannot maintain perfect form stop and record your number and whether you did modified or Military push ups.

Remember to keep your number in a safe place.  We’ll want to revisit this.  Also be sure to indicate what type of push ups you did.

Great job, that’s your first day done!  Check back tomorrow for Day 2 of our challenge.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

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