POWER PUSH UP FOR BEGINNERS

LEARN HOW TO USE THE PUSH UP TO DEVELOP

EXPLOSIVE POWER

The Push ups is one of my favorite exercise and can be manipulated in many different ways to accommodate whatever type of training you are currently doing. The Push up along with the pull-up in my point of view are two exercise that can always be manipulated in some way to challenge everyone. While the push up can be geared toward strength, endurance etc I will focus on how to incorporate it into power training. 

MY TOP 3 FAVORITE PUSH UP VARIATION FOR DEVELOPING POWER

Band Push Up

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The band push up is very simple and the intensity can be manipulated based on the resistance band you are using. One key thing is to make sure is you are keeping your core tight and the band isn’t causing you to curve your spine as this can lead to injury. The goal is to explode up with as much power as you can.

Clapping Push Up

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 When most people think of doing push up for power the first thing that comes to mind is clapping push ups. And for very good reason. As the old saying goes if it’s not broken don’t fix it. Simply get into a the bottom of a Push up position and explode up with as mush power as you can clapping your hands together and back down. ( It might be a good idea to use a pillow or anything soft under your face if it’s your first time )

Explosive push off push up

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- These are very similar to the clapping push up except you land on an elevated surface on the sides of you, then you go back down.

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USING A TIRE TO WORKOUT

 LEARN HOW BUILD EXTREME EXPLOSIVE POWER USING A SIMPLE TIRE

Tires are one of the most inexpensive and effective equipment you can use to exercise. They are basically free if you visit any local tire shop and range from about 10 to 800 pounds. Plus they are  fun to use and brings out the big kid in you. When most people hear the word exercise and tire in the same sentence the first thing that come to mind is the flipping the tire (tire flip).The tire flips is an amazing exercise but you can also use a tire in many different ways beyond just the regular tire flip. So below I will show you a few different ways to utilize a tire in your workouts.

Tire Flip

flip

The tire flip is one of the most basic exercise you can do using at lease a slightly heavy tire and is certainly the most popular. It is a great exercise to develop explosive lifting and pushing movement patterns. If you break down the movements involved in the  tire flip. The end result is a dead-lift then an explosive push. One of the key thing that hardly ever gets mentioned is to really engage your core when push the tire. Most people keep a tight core when dead-lifting it up but get lazy when pushing it and just tip it over.

Tire Flip & jump

jump

 

The flip and jump is a great exercise. It incorporates all the benefits of a tire flip but with the addition of plyometric jumps in between each flip. Simply just do the regular tire flip but jump into the donut hole of the tire and jump then jump to the opposite side and repeat it over again.

 

Overhead Press                                                   

overhead pressYou will need to use a lighter tire to do this but it work quite well. Using a tire to do overhead press challenges your body in a complete different way. It is quite a challenge to stabilize the tire when you are holding it overhead vs using a barbell which is a lot easier to grip. To get the tire over head you need to kind of clean it except your head will go into the donut hole of the tire, from there you press the tire up . Plus it’s a lot of fun slamming it into the ground when you are finish.

       Tire  Drag

 

The Tire drag is a great exercise to train your  explosive pulling patterns. Simply just grab thetire pull cover tire and pull it towards you. The key thing here is to make sure you are keeping good form( tight core and use your and make sure the shoulders are packed)

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MUSCLE STRENGTH , POWER AND ENDURANCE

In most sports having a combination of strength , power & endurance will greatly benefit you and usually complement each other. But When you are training with a specific goal this can become very confusing and is possibly one of the most misunderstood aspect of fitness. Training for either power  strength or endurance requires very different ways of training to best accomplish your specific goal.

First off lets take a look exactly these components are, and how to train them.

Strength 

strenght training

Strength is defined as the ability of a specific group of muscles to produce maximal force at a specific speed which is typically slow and normally within a single exertion.( Basically lifting extremely heavy. If you can do more than five reps you most likely aren’t training for strength.)

How to training for muscular Strength

Normally when you are training for strength it requires very heavy resistance, a low number of repetition and a very long rest period. According to the NSCA guideline for strength training you should do ≥ 85% of your 1 Rep Max, between 2-6 repetition and between 2-6 sets with a work-rest ratio of 1:12-1:20.

Example: Doing a Dead-lift at 90% of your 1 RM , 3-5 reps and 3-5 sets. For your rest period if it took you 10 sec to do the 3 reps . You just multiply that by 20 which will be a total of about 3 min and 18 sec to rest.

Example of Activities that uses A lot of strength Training are Powerlifting, Strong -man compitions and NFL defensive Lineman

Explosive Power

 Power is when a Muscle or group of muscles is able to produce a lot of force at a very high rate of movement.

How to train for explosive power

powerNormally power training involves doing very explosive movements. According to the NSCA if you are doing a single effort exercise it should be 80-90% 1RM for 1-2 Reps and a multiple effort exercise 75-85% 1RM for 3-5 sets and 3-5 reps per set.

Example : Doing a Power Clean at 85% 1RM for 2-6 sets and 1-2 reps. Since it is such a complex multijoint exercise with such an excessive load, the Rest period should be between a work to rest ratio of 1:12 -1:20. so in the same case if it took you 10 sec to do the exercise you are looking at a rest period between 2.00- 3.18 minutes.

Example of a sport that use alot of explosive power is Olympic lifting , long jump, shot put

Endurance

Muscle endurance is when a group of muscle can generate sub-maximal  force by doing  either a repeated moment or maintaining a static position over a period of time.

How to train for Muscular Endurance

 Normally to train muscle endurance it requires doing a number of repetition of an exercise or holding a static position for a long time. For example doing push ups or pull ups to failure or holding onto a pull up bar until your muscle are exhausted and you can no longer hold on.

This is a great video I found of old school strength and power 

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LEARNING HOW TO SQUAT CORRECTLY

squat

 

When I first started getting into strength training I kept hearing the word squats quite a lot. Although I had a rough idea of what a squat should look like. I didn’t know the proper mechanics of how to do a squat. Why it was such an important movement, and went about squatting with improper form for quite some time.

 

WHY IS THE SQUAT SUCH AN IMPORTANT EXERCISE?

Well a squat is a movement pattern that almost everyone unconsciously do on a daily basis. In many third world countries people use a squatting position to just relax and stay there for hours at a time.It doesn’t matter if you’re 1 year old or 100 years old you still have use for a basic squat.

 But most people heard that statement before. So the big question is what exactly is happening in our body biomachanically when we squat?  The squat trains our hip extender muscles( the muscles in your hips that helps you push yourself up) which in turn helps us improve a-lot of activities we do on a daily basis. Some of the activities that include hip extension are walking, sitting, running,jumping, walking up stairs, picking up something from the floor and the list can go on and on. So you can see the big picture here, weather you are a professional football player or someone with a 9-5 job. You preform some sort of hip extension every day, and training and strengthen those muscle that allows you to preform hip extension will greatly benefit you and prevent injury.

Here is two really good example of how people unconsciously squat everyday

         squat

HOW TO SQUAT CORRECTLY

1. Keep a neutral spine and head position- A neutral spine mean to maintain the same spinal position as if your you were standing upright.

2. Do full depth squats. It is a common misconception that you should squat to a 90 degree angle because if you squat lower it will place excesses force on the knee joint. The problem with this is that our knee joint is biomachanically made to squat beyond a 90 degree angle. A good example of this are olympic lifters .Have your ever seen an olympic lifter squat with a excessive amount of load to a 90 degree angle? .

3.Keep your feet a little wider than shoulder width and turned out to about a 15-30 degree angle.If you can do a squat with your feet straight and maintain correct form you should because it will help you generate more power. The only problem with this is a lot of people don’t have appropriate range-of-motion to squat deep with straight feet, but it is something you should be constantly working towards. The alternative is to squat with you feet slightly turned out which will help give your femur clearance allowing you to gain a better range-of-motion. The angle it is turned out will vary with everyone. So find the angle that you feel the most comfortable in between 0-30 degrees.

4. Keep the weight in the middle of your feet( right in-front of your ankle) and keep your feet glued to the ground.- You might think why keep the weight in-front your ankle and not in your heels? Well the cue to keep the weight in your heels is a beginner cue, because most people come up on the ball of their feet. Telling them to place the weight in their heels helps them keep their feet flat on the floor without confusing them. But in reality the way gravity pulls on your body, your center of gravity goes right in front of your ankle. The other thing is one of the most common faults I see happen, most people come onto the ball of their feet. This could be just a motor control issue or could be range-of-motion problem.

5. Screw your feet into the floor and shove your knees out.-Just as with a car, if it has more torque, it will have more power. Your body is no different, screwing your feet into the floor help you create torque in your joints which will help increase your power. When you are squating pay careful attention that your knees are not collapsing inwards. Try to shove them out.

SQUAT REGRESSIONS

Suspension bands : Suspension bands such as the TRX will help decrease the amount of weight your hip extensor have to push up and distribute it to your upper body( your hands hold the bands ). The goal is to slowly decrease the amount of weight distributed to your upper body by trying not to use the bands as much. I usually like to cue people to decrease the amount of finger you grip the bands with. For example: instead of using your 5 fingers to grip the band, remove your tumb and use only four fingers, slowly decrease the amount of fingers used until you can preform a squat without the bands.

Using a chair or any flat elevated surface : One of the thing we do everyday that require some degree of squatting is sitting. So a great way to work on squating correctly is to use a chair, start with something that is a regular kitchen chair hight and slowly try to lower it until you can get full depth with perfect form. A great equipment to use is a stepper, most of them have additional attachment to make them higher or lower.

Stretching and rolling out trigger points – You might think how is this a regression? Well if your hip extender muscles( Glutes, hamstrings, Adductor magnus, longus  & bervis) are tight, trying to squat is like stretching a dried rubberband.

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HOW TO DO A PUSH UP CORRECTLY

One of the first exercise that comes to mind when asked about working out is the Push Up. Although it is popular many people can’t do a basic push up with proper form. So in this Post I will address some common mistakes made by beginners and even experienced people who never quite learn the proper mechanics of doing a push up. 

CUES FOR DOING A PUSH UP.

1. Get into a neutral spine position on the floor- Neutral spine basically means to maintain the same spinal position that you have when standing. So in simple terms you don’t what to  overextend or over-flex your spine.

Over extended and flexed spine

Over extended and flexed spine

neutral spine combo

Neutral Spine Position

2. Screw your hands into the floor and create an external rotational torque -  This does not mean to externally rotate your hands. What you are going to do is screw your hands into the floor and try to move the floor by externally rotate your hands. Chances are your hands are not going to move  but what this does is create torque in your joints to keep everything tight, which will help you generate more power.

3. Keep your feet Wide-This rule does not apply if you are a pro and you are purposely keeping your feet close together to do an advanced push up. But if you are just starting off a wide stance feet position will distribute the weight a little more evenly and decrease the intensity while still helping you maintain proper form. The downfall of this is you lose the ability to fully contract your glutes.

4. Keep the Glutes contracted- One of the most important thing that people miss when doing a push up, is contracting the Glutal Muscles. When your glutes are not contracted it is very hard, almost impossible  to keep a neutral spine position, and you will find that you have an arch in your back or your hips are sagging. When you contract the Glutes, it almost forces you to contract your core which helps to  stabilize the spine and give you that nice neutral spine.

glute photo combind

5. Keep your head aligned with your spine- This is one of the most common mistakes when doing a push up. People unconsciously  tilt their head forward to touch the floor or lift your head up to look at a mirror. The problem with this is that it throws your body out of a proper mechanical position and put a lot of stress on your neck muscles, also it’s cheating. If your chest is only half way down and your head stretches out and touch the floor you won’t reap the benefits of doing a push up.

Try to avoid the excessive neck flexion or extension

Try to avoid the excessive neck flexion or extension

Here is a perfect example of a great push up position.

A perfect example of a great push up starting position

Notice how tight this babay glutes are.

I found the Picture to the left while browsing the internet. It is a great example of a baby in a perfect push up position without any instruction. Look at the spinal position , it’s Neutral. Also Notice how tight this baby core is. This is a result of keeping her/his Glutual muscles fully contracted which forces the core to be contracted. Her/his head is fully alined with the spine.

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HOW TO MAKE A BALANCE BOARD

The Balance Board is one of my favorite pieces of equipment. I recently looked into buying one because most commercial gym or in this case my school gym don’t offer one. I was shocked when I saw how expensive they were. So I decided to create my own.

GETTING STARTED

Materials needed:

PVC pipe-  The diameter of the pipe I used is 4″ which seemed to work great for me. Feel free to get a bigger size or smaller size based on your goals. I had the plumbing department in the hardware store I bought it cut it to the appropriate size I wanted.

Plywood- The plywood I used is about 4 feet in length but this varies depending on your height. The piece I used was just an old piece I had laying around but you can find plywood at almost any lumber or hardware store. I would recommend using something somewhat thicker to support your weight. I used a regular hand saw to cut the plywood to the size I needed.

Optional: Stoppers which are basically two small piece of wood at the end of the board that will stop you when you get to the end of the board. I personally don’t like these on a balance board so I didn’t build it onto my balance board, but it can certainly be done fairly easily. Use 2 piece of wood about 1″ thick and the length should be the width of the board. Line it up with the end of the board and nail it onto the board. Be sure to nail it from the top of the board so you don’t get poked by the nail if you are on the balance board barefoot.

This is basically all the equipment needed to create a decent balance board. You can get creative and decorate your board by painting it or adding your own individual touches to it.

 

 

 

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HOW TO DO A BACK-BRIDGE

HOW TO DO A BACK-BRIDGE

Bridging Your Way to Better Health

 

The Back bridge is an exercise that has withstood time, it’s almost certain that any Yoga book you open you will see some sort of bridging variation. The great thing about the Bridge is how many bio-mechanical issues are addressed with a single movement. Not only does it activate your gluteal muscles (Buttocks), but it also helps to improve core stabilization and prevent lower back pain. The best part is that you don’t need any fancy gym equipment, just your plain old bodyweight.

Progressing your way into a Full Back-Bridge

 

Glute Bridge- If you never tried doing a bridge before this might be a great place to start. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet touching the floor. You are then going to push your pelvis upwards contracting your Gluteal muscle ( buttocks) then come back down to the floor. Always try to make sure that your pelvis isn’t sagging, try to keep them as high as possible.

 

Reverse Bridge-  Once you’ve mastered doing a regular glute bridge the next progression is a reverse bridge. Start by sitting with your hands to the side and legs extended. Just like in the glute bridge Drive your pelvis upwards as high as you can. You should feel your Gluts and Hamstring Muscle being contracted.

 

 

Neck Bridge- The neck bridge is a great progression once you’ve mastered doing a glute bridge and reverse bridge. Start by getting into a full bridge position with the crown of your head touching the floor and your two hands on the side for support( you can also do this without placing your hands on the ground hands for support). The goal is to start lengthening  your abdominal muscles and gaining spinal flexibility in order to work your way up to doing a full back bridge.

 

Full Back Bridge- Once You’ve mastered doing the above progressions you should be ready physically to begin training towards doing a full back bridge. From my personal experience it’s a great idea to start stretching your Quadriceps and getting your body warmed up before doing the Back Bridge. You’re basically going to get into a neck bridge position with your hand on the floor and press up. Don’t be in a hurry to do the full back bridge, take your time and listen to your body.

 

 

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ALL ABOUT THE BURPEES

 

The Burpree is one of my all time favorite exercise. It is one of the exercises the NFL, the U.S Military and almost all high performance athletes have in common. It is a compound movement meaning it works a number of different muscle groups at the same time, and can really challenge your cardiovascular system. It is a combination of a squat, a push up, and a vertical jump. And the great thing is all you need to preform this exercise is just your body-weight.

 

 

Basic burpee: At it’s most basic form the burpee consist of 3 basic movement.

  1. A squat
  2. A plank
  3. A Vertical Jump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting started: All you need to get started is a small space. Start off by squatting and kicking both  feet out into a push up or Plank position . Do a push up, Then jumping back onto both feet and verticlelly jumping as high as you can. The challenge is to try to do this as fast as you can.

Beginner Modifications: The burpree can be modified into an easier version. If your push up skills aren’t  too good yet, simply substitute the regular push up for a beginners push up on your knees. You can also start off at a slower pace and as your cardiovascular endurance increases you can modify your pace as necessary.

More advanced versions: The burpee is one of those exercise that you can always adjust to somehow challenge yourself. The addition of pull-up and plyometric movement in addition with the bupree can really become a challenging exercise. To add pull-ups to the regular burpee. when doing the vertical jump part of the burpee, grab the pull up bar and do a pull up. And to add plyometric into the exercise do a clapping push up to replace the regular push up.

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Healthy Smoothies

 

Smoothie time is here again 

Smoothie’s are one of favorite things to drink in the summer. Unfortunately most smoothie sold in bottles, and even those at smoothie shops are packed with either a ton of low quality protein powder, or refined sugar; and in some cases contains both. In order to continue drinking cool refreshing smoothies I decided to research ingredients that will give you a good tasting, high nutrition smoothie. that’s not only high in protein, but also contains a high level of nutrition as well. This research led me to create a smoothie  named because of its moss green color which is a result of the main ingredient Spriulina. Sprilulina is a sea weed that is said to contains the highest antioxidant level found in any food, and contains more protein pound for pound than beef.

Ingredients

  1. 1 tlb spoon of spriulina
  2. 1 chopped peach
  3. 1 TB spoon of natural cocoa powder
  4. 1 banana
  5. half cup organic milk
  6. 5 drops of vanilla essence (optional)
  7. ice cubes
  8. 1 TB spoon of organic agave syrup or natural maple syrup
  9. FOR ADDITIONAL PROTEIN ADD A SERVING OF PLAIN YOGURT

How to Make it

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend . For a more fruitful flavor use 2 peaches. Feel free to modify this by adding different kind of fruits based on your own liking, and more or less milk based on how thick you like your smoothies.

 

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Raising the bar

 

I got my hands on the E-book of Raising the bar by Al Kavadlo a few days ago. It was absolutely amazing to see the variety of exercises that can be done from just a simple pull up bar. The book demonstrated how to use the Bar to work every different Body part, and simple progressions that can be added to any workout routine. It has a lot photography demonstrating every step of the progressions being done, and the instructions for every exercise was very clear and easy to follow. Even after researching and practicing Calisthenics for so many years I was amazed by how much I gained from this book.

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