Anyone can do pushups, no matter how weak you are
Years back we did a really cool study at spectrum about pushups. We never published it, except for alluding to it during my seminars and on a random FB post.
It’s high time we share it, because it has some big implications.
The biggest are that I can show you how nearly everyone, no matter how weak you are can do pushups, making this very versatile an effective exercise that can be done anywhere available to almost anyone.
What’s more interesting, and I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been done before, is that we quantified how much weight you are lifting during a pushup.
I explain it in the video above.
Specifically, here’s what I reveal. At…
: 19 I tell you why pushups are so essential
1:20 I show my favorite pushup modification that allows anyone to do a pushup
2:15 I go on a (much needed) rant about Girl Pushups
3:02 why I don’t like bent knee pushups as a modification
3:55 I show you our research that determined how much weight you are lifting when doing a modified pushup
6:55 I show you how we determined how much weight you are lifting with an advanced pushup
8:26 I reveal the results of exactly how much weight you are adding to a standard pushup when you use bands (it’s a lot!)
Be sure to take a look and send me your comments or questions.
Proper Ab exercises
Below are some examples of abdominal exercises that challenge the anterior core musculature in a way that facilitates neutral spine (not the dangerous flexed spine). Furthermore, these exercises are mostly isometric, which better corresponds to the function of the abdominal musculature. The lower level exercises impart low levels of spinal compression despite high levels of muscular activation. The more advanced exercises to impose more of a compressive load, however far below the limits of disc damage that is often produced with spine flexion based exercises such as inclined sit-ups.
I want to emphasize that you need to be qualified to perform these movements. A trained professionals should advise you regarding:
1. Learning motor control to be able to find neutral spine and recruit the muscles to stabilize this position
2. Matching you with the appropriate challenge that corresponds to your load tolerance and strength endurance.
Do not assume that because you have worked out for 10 years or because you are particularly strong in a certain sport or lift that you qualify for advanced abdominal training. This is often not the case, and a common reason for injury.
An assessment with one of the experts at Spectrum Fitness Consulting with tell you exactly where to start and how to progress. Click here for more information.
Enjoy the videos below!
Our Solutions to the Top 10 Fitness Excuses
When you’ve been in the business of helping people lose weight, conquer pain, and get strong as long as I have, you’re bound to hear your share of excuses.
Before I share my top 10 excuses list, I need to clarify something about the term “excuse”. Many deride the word excuse, implying the “complainer” possesses negative traits such as laziness, lack of discipline, or willpower.
There are far too many knuckle dragging bone heads in this industry who think that way, believing that yelling and shaming people is the missing link to their success.
This is Jillian being an ass, which got her famous.
Not me. Here’s why:
1. Research proves it doesn’t work: shaming people actually backfires. And yelling at a grown woman or man who simply wants to feel better makes you look like an ass (as in jack ass, not a well-developed gluteal for you fitness nerds).
2. There’s no evidence that there are inherent traits for discipline or will power. Evidence suggests instead will is a skill that can be learned.
3. Some of the most motivated, self aware, and focused people I know struggle with their weight or to get in shape.
Rather, I have evidence and experience to show that excuses are gateways to better understand perceptions of limitations to achieving success. And if those perceptions are altered, with dignity, to empower action, results follow.
That’s what my team and I do on a daily basis.
Accordingly, I have ranked the most common excuses to getting in shape that I have heard from asking thousands of clinicians and lay people through my nationwide speaking tours and local events, as well as from those my colleagues and I have treated over the past 2 decades. Most importantly, I will give my succinct solutions to each.
Our Solutions to the Top 10 Fitness Excuses
10. Don’t want to get bulky
Fear of the “humungous virus” still runs rampant: the notion that touching weight will instantly make you big and bulky. Here’s the truth: to build muscle, you need more calories that what you are getting in, sufficient testosterone, and resistance that is heavy enough to recruit maximal fibers but light enough volume, then do that consistently for a long time.
Lifting weights, even heavy weights will not make you gain muscle, unless you really go out of your way by hitting all of the factors above. It will make you stronger, healthier, and help you burn fat though.
9. Too old
The evidence is clear: there is no age limit for improving health through exercise. Strength training has the biggest effect. I present these studies throughout the country on my monthly seminar tours. The evidence keeps piling up faster than I can change my presentation. If you are frail 90 year old, you can benefit from exercise.
8. Not enough money
Some will say gyms memberships, shopping for health food, and training services are too expensive. I’m sure there are extreme circumstances where that is true. However, when you account for the costs associated with unhealthy habits and wasting your time with solutions that aren’t working, investing in fitness can actually save you money.
7. Active in my job
Highly active jobs certainly impact your workout plan. But random activity rarely causes the physiologic effects necessary to improve bone density, elevate heart rate, improve strength, or raise metabolism. Performing repetitive tasks at work become less challenging overtime, and often breed movement and muscle imbalances. Exercise can address these issues.
6. Too tired
Being too tired to exercise is like being too poor to go to work. You get more energy through exercise. Being too tired usually means your recovery is off (poor sleep and nutrition) or your work is too challenging for your abilities. The only real solution is to improve your abilities to perform more work, and recover better.
5. It’s boring
Fitness pros need to stop pushing the “exercise is fun” myth… it’s insulting our intelligence. Let’s face it even if you find peptides for sale and use them, hard work isn’t always really fun. I’m all about making exercise MORE fun, but not at the expense of getting results for my client, or risking injury. Classes and boot camps churn out disillusioned folks with achy joints and marginal results all focusing on the idea of “fun” exercise.
Our approach to making focused training more fun is not by promoting gimmicks or jumping on the fads, but by forging relationships with our clients and empowerment by seeing and feeling life changing results.
4. No motivation
Most people aren’t motivated because they haven’t seen or felt a result. Motivation doesn’t come before results; rather it is a byproduct of results. So if you struggle with motivation, you need to commit to a program guaranteed to deliver a result that you can see and feel quickly. Success begets more motivation.
That’s the key to long term, sustained results. This slow and steady thing isn’t appropriate for many people, and the research shows it. At least 5 studies have shown that those who lose weight quickest have better long term results 2-5 years later compared to those who lose weight slowly.
3. Paralysis by analysis
It’s hard to move forward when there are so many options, many which seem to contradict another. It is a normal human reaction to get stuck when overwhelmed with too many choices. Yoga, Pilates, weight training, stretching, cross fit, Insanity, super slow, machine circuits, Zumba, boot camps … and let’s not even get into the diets!
Your path becomes clear when you goals are determined, your situation is assessed, and a feasible plan designed for you is laid out. This breeds focus, confidence, adherence, and results.
2. Fear of getting hurt
There’s nothing more frustrating than getting hurt while trying to get healthy. Every activity caries risk, but most people are needlessly taking risks that they are completely unaware of. This happens because of poor programming, poor execution, and improper modification.
This is at the root of my criticism behind recent exercise fads and trends, like Pilates, Cross Fit, and Yoga: it’s more about the philosophy not appropriately matching someone’s goals and needs/risks than the exercise approach being inherently bad. Rather than fitting people into programs, we need to fit programs to people. Again, assessment, prescribed exercise, instruction, reassessment, and modification are critical.
1. Not enough time
This is always the biggest reason cited. But it isn’t the real problem. The problem is rather with the distorted perception of how much time is really needed to get the desired result. Science tells us that results are more related to the quality of the right exercise, not the duration.
If people focused on doing the right things with more intensity, they world see major results in a fraction of the time as most approaches suggested. I have years of evidence thanks to happy clients and volumes of research to prove this.
If you have excuses, then we have solutions, and the proof to back it up. And we won’t be an ass about it, which is just the right thing to do (unless you star in a reality show apparently).
Here’s how to get started: Click here. There really is no excuse not to do that!
Can we reverse strength loss due to aging?
In conversations with hundreds of people on the topic of aging, it seems that the consensus among those not in the fitness industry is that people inherently become weak as they age. Some recent research calls into question whether this is true.
It is true that people will tend to lose approximately 5-10% of their muscle mass every decade after the age of 40, and that rate significantly increases after 65 years old.
Countless studies have proven that much of this muscle and strength loss can be prevented with resistance training and proper nutrition. This is true of all types of older adults, whether they are master athletes or previously sedentary.
So How Much Strength Can Older Adults Regain?
The issue has been solved about preventing muscle loss. But until recently, no one has looked at how much can be regained relative to younger adults. Essentially, can older adults who undergo supervised training regain strength and muscle mass that compares to younger men? Let’s look at some recent research on the topic:
Candow, et al JSCR, 25 (2) 2011
The researchers trained a group of older men 60-71yrs old with a supervised heavy resistance training program 3 times a week for 22 weeks. At the end of the study they measured muscle size and strength. Not surprisingly, they all gained muscle and strength. What was surprising was how much.
They compared the average strength levels and muscle size achieved by the older adults to the average strength and muscle size of a group of younger men 18-31 years old who were all physically active but not involved in resistance training. The results showed that there was not a significant difference in the muscle size or strength in the older men after supervised training compared to the younger men!
This means that older men can expect to attain the same amount of strength and muscle with a supervised training program as younger, physically active men!
Is it really that important to be stronger?
Research has shown a very strong correlation between strength and death from all causes: essentially, stronger older men have a lower risk of dying from all causes (Ruiz, et al. BMJ July 2008;337:a439).
Strength is a the most important factor in fall prevention, and is also related to the performance of activities of daily living, balance, and walking ( American Geriatrics Society; British Geriatrics Society and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Panel on Falls Prevention. Journal of the American geriatrics society, Vol. 49, 2001, pp. 664-72. Speechley, M. Canadian journal on aging, 2005.)
So the evidence is clear: being strong is important, more so for older adults.
Why Strength Training Is MORE important for Older Adults
In addition to the above evidence, increasing strength is significantly more important for older adults (anyone older than 60) and yes, that includes you Mom, Dad, Mary if you are reading. Simply put, strength is like money. The less you have, the more important it is. If a fit 35 year old loses 50% of their strength, while they will struggle with high level strength, they can still perform all of their daily functions with little issue. If a 75 year old loses 20% of their strength, that might be the difference between living independently and needing assisted living.
Can you do it?
Getting stronger is certainly something you can do. No matter your injuries, pain, age, weight, diseases, or time constraints – you can respond very well to strength training. The research is clear on this, and I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Here are some examples from Spectrum clients that you should check out:
Ralph in his early 80s:
Jolyne in her early 70s:
Peter in his 80s:
Go here to learn what to do and how to get started.
Time is the biggest reason why people can have trouble getting workouts in during the week. This is where a “better than nothing” or BTN workout comes into play. With only 15-30 minutes needed, a BTN can be the perfect tool to keep you successful in keeping yourself fit and healthy.