One thing I’ve learned after 40 days of P90X is that if the title of the workout includes the word “chest” you should be prepared to do a lot of push-ups. If you’re wimpy like me, you can probably only do a few (or a couple?) push-ups the traditional way before morphing into burnt toast. A popular modified version of traditional push-ups involves doing them on your knees which Tony recommends during the workouts. However, while I was reading The New Rules of Lifting for Women I picked up a nice little tip which I can’t wait to try next week.
Instead of doing a modified version on your knees, the author recommends increasing the angle of your body from horizontal. The closer your body is to a horizontal position, the harder the push-up is going to be.
Why? The author, Lou Schuler, writes, You’ll notice that we don’t use the push-up from the knees, the traditional variation pawned off on the “weaker” sex. Alwyn [the guy who developed the exercises in the book] doesn’t like it because it takes the core out of the movement. Your midbody muscles get a break when you cut yourself off at the knees. When your weight is resting on your toes and hands, and everything else is in play, your core muscles have to do the work they’re designed to do.
After reading this a little lightbulb went off over my head. Any of us that have done push-ups on our knees know the strange amputated feeling you get when you take your core out of the equation. I don’t know about you, but my core muscles need all the work they can get . . .
So, from now on instead of doing push-ups on my knees, I’m going to modify my angle from horizontal and slowly make that angle smaller over time. You can do this using whatever happens to be lying around (just make sure it’s solid and sturdy), a coffee table, bench, steps, desk, table etc. And keep your form exactly the same as you would otherwise–your body forming a straight line from your ankles to your neck.
Again, the key thing to keep in mind here is that the closer you get to being horizontal the harder the push-up will be. So, with some push-ups you might be OK with a 30-degree angle, others might require a 45-degree angle. This might be something else to keep track of along with your reps and weights on your nerdy P90X worksheets. 🙂
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