I remember the first boot camp class I attended.
As sweat poured down my face and burned my eyes, I was told to do over 500 push ups, 100 burpees, and 500 bear crawls. The class was an hour in length and I couldn’t wait until I was released so I could go down a burrito from Chipotle.
Typical boot camp style class, no doubt.
Of course, my triceps were sore the next day. I couldn’t walk. I questioned my existence. And I couldn’t swipe left or right on Tinder. I was THAT sore.
Certainly, doing over 500 push ups within an hour is a lot, perhaps even overkill. And this begs the question: is it necessary?
Like any other mainstream fitness professional, I’ll answer this: it depends.
You want to get a good pump? You want to feel sore the next day? You want to learn how to overcome adversity? Then, maybe 500 push ups is for you.
I, however, believe there are ways we can progress the push-up that go beyond just adding reps and volume. Again, it all depends on your goals.
Here is this week’s Exercise for Confidence:
At my facility, JDyer Strength and Conditioning, we come up with some pretty quirky stuff. I stole this from my colleague, Brandon, who is an absolute savage when it comes to upping the ante on program design.
This is a great exercise for:
– Increased challenge for the push up due to the instability of the foam roller. This causes the lumbar stabilizers and anterior core to fire more than normal.
– Improves core stability and reinforces how important it is to maintain total body stiffness (glutes, quadriceps, core) so the low back doesn’t hyperextend.
– Because, triceps.
This exercise reminds me of the Chaos Push Up I wrote about a while back, with similar benefits:
Both of these are great if your athletes/clients have mastered a conventional push up.
To that end, I like these variations because they include bodyweight and minimal use of equipment. If you’re interested in learning more about the anatomical benefits of bodyweight training, check this out: Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy.
Understanding bodyweight training helps us discern what human movement systems are at work and how they can improve athleticism. Plus, we’re also able to understand what added resistance or external load we tweak to make bodyweight training harder.
Enjoy these push up variations and let me know how you do.