Believe it or not 20 years have passed from the premiere of the G.I. Jane movie where Demi Moore starred. However, the thing which is astonishing and most inspiring of all is the incredible scene which Moore aka Jordan O’Neill (how she was called in the movie) pushes herself in doing push-up after push-up, it is the thing that got into me has stuck. That is something I always wished of doing.
You would like to know why it is like that? The classic push-up represents a nearly perfect, intact exercise, plus it challenges a lot of the muscle groups inside the arms, chest, back, and core in order to create a complete functional strength. Well, we can that the part of my body was never the part I am most proud of. To be honest, when my day was fine, I would just perform like eight push-ups to the max, which were not very good. So, let’s face a long way is ahead of me in order to get the results I wanna get.
Last summer, I made the decision of trying to challenge myself and see where I can get to, how much I can handle. So, Master Trainer Shaun Zetlin, it is a trainer in New York City. I decided to contact him, due to the fact that he is known as the push-up guru. Previously during this year he published a book which talked about everybody-changing move (and a lot of his variations), the name of the book was the Push-up Progression (it costs $16, amazon.com). Zetlin said that people should set up a goal—50 reps in one month (gulp)—so he presented the 30-day plan which you can under this. “This is something you can perform without any doubt,” he promised, as I was sitting there and wondering how am I going to do it.
Well, as you probably suppose, Zetlin was completely right. The following is everything that occurred during the next four weeks.
I was extremely thankful for being able to have this gentle warm-up period due to the fact that I had the possibility of paying much more attention to my form. Every session began with a straight-arm plank and run through a mental checklist according to the advices of Zetlin: Try to discover a neutral spinal position—in order for the shoulder blades to get aligned within the upper back and glutes. Plus do not forget to involve the glute muscles in all of this. Draw abs in. Be careful so that the hips are not drifting up, plus the elbows to flare past wrists. However, the most essential thing what you can do is to breathe.
According to Zetlin this is a push-up known as the “movable plank,” this is an extremely helpful picture because I put myself down. The whole week I was doing my reps with my mind set towards my goal, and then it all turned to be and to feel very natural.
I will be honest with you and tell you that previously, push-ups were not my kind of fun. (“Torturous” and “depressing” are the words which represented my honest opinion regarding this exercise. However, when I began with week, I started having fun and enjoying the challenge. Pushing myself to reach my goal for the day and then getting to it, believe it or not but it was unbelievably motivating. Plus, being aware that the jump from one exercise to the other one it was never more than 2 or 3 reps, it made me believe that the challenge can be done.
Moreover, getting to the second week, I started believing and appreciate the convenience factor of the following old-school say: You can do it everywhere, no matter the time, and also no matter how you are dressed. Well, I am a mom of a baby who has 18 months, so the perfect thing for me is having some exercises which do not take up way much of my time. What I mean buy this is that sometimes it happened finishing my reps while I was wearing my pajamas, when my sweet, little boy would finally decide to sleep—or also during the mornings before heading to work while I was wearing the clothes for work, before he gets up.
“The third week is the period when you start doubting yourself a little bit and it is going to become much more difficult,” Zetlin had already told me that. Again, another thing he told me was true. I found myself in a completely perfect and satisfying groove until the moment I tried to drop and begin doing 20. I had to take a break (read: I collapsed on the floor) after doing just 15 push-ups; after that I began having problems with the last 5 push-ups. I had problems with that for the whole week: I had to stop every session and making it to be two (or even three) sessions. Then, I emailed Zetlin an email in order to ask him if stopping the session was a big deal: He said “The best thing you can do is to achieve your target number without taking breaks in between,” , due to the fact that if the muscles are under strain longer time, they are working in a much harder way. Also: Exist a couple of aerobic perks why is good to stay in motion. However if I had to take a break and stop, I should, according to him I can do it in case I make every pause to be shorter than a minute.
The moment the target numbers became getting bigger and climbed higher, I discovered that the time of day it was very important: For me personally, it was better to do the reps during the morning opposite the evening, because the muscles are too tired at that period of the day. Also, another thing is that I realized that the breathing is very important as well.
“Take one deep breath and while you go down simply exhale when you’re going up from the floor,” Zetlin had given me instructions. “Breathing represents the process where you take the power and strength from in order to come up.” Well, that according to me it looked like to be true in moments when I knew there was nothing else to do. Plus, when I stayed focused on my breath all of that it was helpful for me to avoid thinking about the burning in my arms.
The last two days
I will not try to tell you lies: Starting with 42 reps and then moving toward 50 reps in just in three days was very extreme and rough. I was done with the challenge by doing two sets of 25 push-ups, and the last set was filled with an extremely embarrassing amount of grunting. However, I felt so much pride in those moments for the effort I have put in it. Fifty push-ups! One after the other! To be honest I never thought I had the ability of doing such thing.
Apart from bragging right now, another thing I gained with this is a far better posture. Zetlin again, told me that it is going to happen that to me, thanks to muscle memory: “If you discover easily the neutral spinal position during the exercises you are doing, you will begin performing them every single day at any time,” he pointed out. And it is true, when I am waiting in line or standing on the subway, I will just notice how I am lifting my head, drawing in my abs, making stronger and tighter my pelvis, and I would not stop until I felt that my body is aligned to the perfection. I have to say I am feeling like another person now.
Well, let us see you now. Challenge yourself and all of your friends. If I was able to do 50 push-ups in just 30 days, I am completely convinced that anyone can do it!