Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, June 2, 2014

My Pushup Experiment 2

Here are the results of month 1 of my pushups experiment.

Date Sets Total Pushups
5/1 4 80
5/2 3 60
5/3 3 60
5/4 4 80
5/5 5 100
5/6 6 120
5/7 5 100
5/8 5 100
5/9 4 80
5/10 6 120
5/11 - -
5/12 6 120
5/13 5 100
5/14 5 100
5/15 7 140
5/16 5 100
5/17 5 100
5/18 - -
5/19 8 160
5/20 5 100
5/21 6 120
5/22 7 140
5/23 5 100
5/24 6 120
5/25 - -
5/26 5 100
5/27 6 120
5/28 6 120
5/29 6 120
5/30 5 100
5/31 5 100
Total: 2960

Starting with 5/11, a Sunday, I started taking a day off from any pushups. I felt like I'd benefit more from rest than from pushing straight through without. I think the ease with which I reliably did 100 reps after that owes itself partly to having rested. Had I realized I was 2 sets from 3000 pushups in a month, I might have found a way to get in two more sets. That is an average of just over 95 pushups a day, including the rest days. Counting only the training days, I averaged slightly over 105 pushups a day.

Overall: - My shoulders feel fine. I was worried a repeatedly-injured shoulder would have come back to haunt me, but it did not.

- My pushups have gotten slightly easier. It's rare for reps 15-20 to be hard, although I am often still a little short of breath thanks to holding my breath during the reps.

- I may have a little more muscle definition.

- I benefited from a little more foam rolling of my pecs and shoulders and triceps, probably because of the extra volume.

- I dropped all pushing exercises from my weight training sessions during the week, depending on pushups and MMA striking practice to carry me through. Weight training was centered on legs, pulling, and abs.

- My main difficulty in training pushups in this fashion is getting time to get in a quick set. With work and travel to and from work, I can end up doing a few sets in the morning and then a few late at night with long breaks. I can't space sets out evenly. On days when I can, I tend to get in more sets and probably better quality sets. Ideally, you'd want to get in your sets spaced out through the day and be able to get a set as soon as you feel fully rested. But work and training demands make this secondary.

- I'm under no illusions that 20 reps of pushups is impressive, or that I'm getting in an impressive number of reps. Gama famously did 3000 a day, for example. The goal is simply to get in extra pushup practice, extra volume, and add in extra exercise to supplement my other training (1-2 weight training sessions and 3-4 MMA training sessions, usually 50/50 ground sparring and contact standup.)

I should have taken measurements before and after, but I did not think to until more than a week into the process and then it seemed like I'd passed the most useful check point.

I may extend this concept to another exercise, perhaps with a less ambitious goal than to average 100 a day on the workout days. I may try this by adding squats - aiming for 3-5 sets a day of 20 paused squats, just to see how it works out.

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