The push-up, with its multi-faceted muscle toning benefits, should become your best buddy. It’s not a new move, by any means, but many beginning-to-intermediate exercisers avoid it due to a misguided belief that they “can’t do them”. BZZZZZZZZZ…sorry, I’m going to need a judge’s ruling on that: YES.YOU. CAN. It is simply a matter of learning the technique and doing one. Yes, ONE. If you’re new to this old school favorite, start with the modified version, as shown below, and master ONE.
One is what it is all about. One slow movement done correctly with proper form. We’re not worrying about cranking out a certain amount to impress our peeps and then giving up because we aren’t as adept as we believe so-and-so to be. We all have at least one “so-and-so” in our mind that we hold ourselves up to. These types of comparisons will do nothing but undermine your efforts toward empowerment. When any type of comparative or competitive thought comes into your head, NIP IT. It doesn’t serve you. When you have mastered proper form and technique, add another one, then another. When several become effortless, switch from the modified to standard, and then beyond, as shown below:
Truthfully, push-ups are my favorite move. As Darin Steen shows above, you can position yourself in different ways to target different muscles and work various areas of your body differently. You don’t have to do them all at once either. Just build sets as you can. Do them during commercial breaks when you’re watching tv or when you have a spare moment. Push-ups have strengthened my core and whittled my middle in a way that abdominal work alone could not do. (I said abdominal work alone- –push-ups are an addition, not a substitution!) A benefit of doing push-ups that is not mentioned by Darin (probably because he’s not a perimenopausal, 53 year old woman) is that they can help you downshift into stable-mode. Umm, say what? It’s like this: I have a tendency to easily get swept away with emotions, mine and those of other people. I have found that a jolt of intensity (along the same line of thought as an electric shock or a slap across the face) will shift me out of that mode. So when I need to downshift, I drop to the floor and do push-ups. In moments of irritation, potential emo breakdown, or when I need to buy myself some time to prevent me from turning into the Hulk, I excuse myself for the nearest bathroom and do push-ups until I’m calm. I credit push-ups with getting me through the transition of my eldest daughter leaving for college 4 years ago (children leaving the nest is a huge shock to the system!) and again recently when she moved overseas. I am a person who transitions slowly while I adjust to something becoming my “new normal” and that’s why I’ve found that coping mechanisms are a must. Every time I’d start to cry, I’d drop and do 10. If I still felt like crying after 10, I’d do 10 more. Sometimes it took a lot of pushups at one time and I cried while I did them. But they got me through and the upswing is that I can do more push-ups than I ever would have believed possible! And I started with one, just like I’m urging you to do. One is all you ever need to remember for anything you’re working on. The focus is on ONE. Not the one you just did or the one you’ll do next, but the ONE YOU’RE DOING. There is only that one. In everything. Every time. Make that one count.