May 5 2013

Improvements: Pushups!

I can’t do a lot of regular pushups, but doing them from my knees feels so much easier. Would I be better off doing a few the “real” way than a whole bunch from my knees?
Bent-knee pushups feel like a Caribbean vacation compared with toe pushups, because you’re cutting the lever of your body by around 30 percent and changing the angle of the exercise so you’re not fighting gravity as much. This lightens the load substantially. Unfortunately, it also detracts from the benefits you reap: core, shoulder and back strength; better body control and coordination; and good scapular stability. Don’t get us wrong: You still develop those things even if you’re not on your toes — just to a lesser extent.
So, if you can do even one or two regular pushups, do them. When you can’t do any more, do as many more as you can from your knees. And for those who can’t yet do a regular pushup, make it a goal, because doing an ever-increasing number of bent-knee pushups isn’t ideal.
Jim Smith, CSCS, strength coach at DieselSC.com, concurs. He suggests evolving from knee pushups to a combination of knee and toe pushups, then transitioning entirely to toe pushups. Smith, a renowned performance-enhancement specialist, also notes that since full pushups require you to stabilize your entire body, you need to build core strength along with upper-body strength to do them well.
He put together the following progression to help you reach your goal faster. Complete three to four sets every other day until you feel ready to progress to the next step. Tighten your core, glutes and upper back, and don’t let your hips sag. If form deteriorates, stop the set and rest before completing another rep.
Step 1: One regular pushup (or attempt at a regular pushup); five to eight reps of knee pushups; 30-second plank hold. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between sets.
Step 2: Two regular pushups (or one attempt at a regular pushup); eight to 10 reps of knee pushups; 30- to 60-second plank hold. Rest 60 to 90
seconds between sets. 
Step 3: Three to four regular pushups (or one attempt at a regular pushup); eight to 10 reps of knee pushups; 60- to 90-second plank hold. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between sets. Source: Experience L!fe