What’s cracking ninjas?!? Today I wanted to discuss push-ups! Why you ask? Because I see folks at the gym on a daily basis banging em out with some ugly form! This happens to be one of my strongest moves, but I didn’t get here by pumping out endless reps of ugliness!
I started from the bottom now I’m here! 😉
I had a client recently who I regressed from a knees down push-up to an incline push-up because her form was not ideal. She put up a bit of a fight because she felt embarrassed that she had been reduced to this exercise. Placing her hands on an inclined surface definitely cleaned up her form exponentially and made the reps more manageable for her level!
The point of this story is there is nothing wrong with working easier moves. I can already do a 1-arm push-up; however, this doesn’t mean that I jump right into that progression every time I train. Some days I enjoy warming up with incline and knees-down push-ups to ease into my session. Just how in weightlifting you gradually increase the weight; you don’t just start a beginner with a double-bodyweight deadlift. The same is true of Calisthenics, but since there are no actual “weights,” we just manipulate the “leverage” of our bodyweight.
My suggestion is when you can bang out a solid 30 reps of each move: the incline push-up and the knees-down push-up then you’re ready to take on the standard push-up! If you are a beginner and 30 sounds insane, break it down into 3 sets of 10 reps! When should you start? As soon as you are through reading this blog! I sprinkle in reps anytime I feel the urge to train! This is a great way of “greasing the groove,” and progressing faster in this or other moves.
As far as form goes, a push-up is a moving plank. This means “zip up” the midline by squeezing your glutes to avoid a sagging waist. Press down through the palm of the hands and all ten fingers in order to create a strong base and help you avoid “energy leakages.” If your fingers and hands aren’t actively pressing down, then it will become increasingly difficult to achieve more repetitions. “Breathing to the beat” definitely helps me max out! I like to inhale on the descent and exhale as I push up!
The reason why I enjoy teaching progressive Calisthenics is because there are so many ways to break down each exercise so no one is excluded! I’m talkin men, women, abuelos, y abuelas…there’s a starting point for all levels! You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed to start with Step 1! There are a ton of moves on the fringe even for me! If you feel a tad frustrated with your progress, translate that to passion, ninja! You want to get better and there is nothing wrong with that! Just because you are at the level your at, doesn’t mean your not getting stronger along the way! That should be a comforting side-effect! 😀 Keep practicing and stay true to the path! If ninja training was easy, everyone would be doing it!
If you are interested in deepening your knowledge of Calisthenics, check out Pushing The Limits, by Al Kavadlo or Convict Conditioning by Coach Paul Wade. If you ❤ it, then definitely consider signing up for the Progressive Calisthenics certification taught by Al and Danny Kavadlo based on the Convict Conditioning curriculum!
Peace, Love, and Ninja Kicks!
-G to the Izzle