Friday, August 26, 2011

Bodyweight Workout Routine: The Simple Pushup Test and More

Today's routine is dominated by the simple pushup. That is, body straight, hands flat and placed just outside of and under the shoulders; legs straight and resting on toes or balls of feet. Don't let the back sag and don't allow your butt to go up in the air.

Pushups may seem too simple and boring to bother with, but they are more complicated than you might think. Just a brief review; pushups work the pectorals, frontal deltoids, triceps. However, they also bring in the following muscles to stabilize the body: Lats, abdominal wall, obliques and to a lesser extent, the glutes.

Today is the day you get a great pushup workout while gauging your upper body strength. Depending on who you read, a woman under the age of 40 should be able to do at least 13 full pushups, while a man under 40 should be able to complete at least 40. Let's take that one step further. Complete as many pushups as you can in 3 minutes. Rest as needed but remember, the clock is ticking.

For women under 40, lets say this number should be at least 30. That's ten pushups a minute. If you can not complete this many in three minutes, your upper body needs more strength, or you need to lose weight. Why 30? Because the armed forces sets the minimum between 6 and 13 in 2 minutes. Here you have an extra minute and you are aiming at doing the best you can; not the minimum. Women can build strength just as easily as men, so aim to blow this number up!
Perfect form in 'up' position

For men under the age of 50, the number is going to 55. This is a solid number of pushups to accomplish in good form in this time span. If you can do more, congratulations! Keep going until you hit the 3 minute mark. If you cannot complete 55 in 3 minutes, keep working on your upper body strength, and/or lose some weight.

Therefore, today's workout:

Sun Salutations to warm up x 10.

Pushup Test: As many as you can in good form in 3 minutes. Rest as needed, but go for your max!


Isometric Pushup Holds on Fists: (use a towel or pillow if needed. Encourages stronger wrists.)
Do 3 rounds of 10, 20, or 45 seconds depending on your fitness level. Focus on maintaining perfect plank form with extended or bent arms. Start the first half of your time in the 'up' position, do the second half in the 'down' position. Do not let your chest hit the floor!

Good Luck!

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