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Coaches Corner

You Suck At Pushups

Harsh?  Maybe.  True?  Probably.  This is my frequent dose of honesty that will make you a better athlete.  There is an endless amount of information about the benefits of squatting and how that translates to other movements and the positive effects on your GPP.  So here is my public service announcement about why you don’t have the bench press, HSPU, handstand walk, ring dips, jerk or press that you so desperately want.  Most of us(present company included) have skipped that foundational movement that all pressing is based upon.  The Push Up!!!!  Years ago Coach Glassman wrote this little gem and it breaks the movement down with some goals.  If you think you are good to go, try this little test.  100 Perfect unbroken pushups……..ok, let’s back it down to 50.  Think you have that mastered?  Video tape it and post it to YouTube for comments.  If you have 50 perfect pushups you will have no problem doing that.    Most of you who are strong pressers will break down somewhere between reps 35-40. Give it a shot right now, it will only take about 60 seconds. I’m talking about rigid midline, full ROM, hips and shoulders moving in unison, perfect pushups.  We talk so much about how much we squat or the virtuosity of the air squat, but we never hear many coaches telling us to do more pushups.  Why is that?  My guess is that it’s because pushups aren’t sexy, but then the basics are never sexy.  Ladies, how many of you struggle with strict or kipping ring dips?  Do more pushups!

I began a little experiment a while back and it will be a 12 month ongoing evolution.  I started pressing in some manor or variation every day.  The end goal is be able to do a strict movement JT (21-15-9) HSPU/ring dip/ pushup in unbroken sets.  The short term goal is simply the first round unbroken.   Let me tell you, it’s going to take some time.  But in my quest to do that, I bumped up my Kipping HSPU by 6 reps in a little over a month.  I predict that number will keep going up for some time.  It turns out that it has helped with my shoulder health as well.   We do a lot of kipping movements to increase our power output, but most of us don’t do much of any strict pressing/pulling.  You need to do both.  Try adding some strict pressing or pulling into your warm up every day for a month and see what happens.  You don’t have to take my word for it, just reference your log book and you tell me if it works.  For most of us, it will take a very long time to become truly proficient at the push up.  The journey to that proficiency will improve your overall fitness, I can almost guarantee that.

So here’s my challenge to you:

1)      Get some strict pressing in your warm ups daily.

2)      Take a break from the squat rack and work on your pushups

3)      Set a short term and long term goal for your pressing movements and stick with it.

4)      100 perfect pushups.

Keep training hard amd hit your weaknesses,