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Pushups - what is wrong with me?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
    I swear somebody could step on my back and my elbows still won't bend if my arms are close to my body. I can only do pushups with my arms fairly wide. I'm really close to being able to do one with wide arms. I practice on my chair every day and there's a playground nearby with a low step that I practice on, too. I'm using that playground to do negative pullups, too. I will get there. I'll be able to do both pullups and pushups someday, just not narrow arms on the pushups.
    A good regression for pushups is to do them elevated on a smith machine. Put the bar to a height that is comfortable for you to do a set of at least 10 reps and do the pushup from there. The closer to the ground the harder it will be. I'd suggest setting a goal of maybe 3x10. Every time you hit that at a certain height drop it down a notch on your next workout.

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    • #17
      It occurs to me a may be a shoulder mobility problem, forcing the elbows to accommodate where the shoulders can't. Again, just a possibility.

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      • #18
        I've been working hard for some time on pushups but am still pretty bad at them. Not quite as bad, but still bad. My trainer has me sometimes do incline pushups. The full position, but my hands are up on a weight bench, tire, or something else that has my hands off the ground.

        Where are your hands when you attempt the full pushup? Are they in front of you, or beneath your shoulders? I tend to want to plant my hands too far forward, and my elbows don't like to bend either, though that is starting to improve. After 3 years...

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        • #19
          Wide arm push ups are easiest for most women. Practically every woman I've ever seen in the Army does them that way. When we do our PT tests, I start out shoulder width and as I get more tired I will sometimes switch to a wide arm position. Your weakness is likely due to very weak triceps and pecs. Work on dips and also do some "girl pushups", the ones on your knees. Don't even think of the close arm push ups at this point. If you are at all curious, the Army standards for number of pushups can be found online. The number depends on age and gender. It might give you a number to shoot for that is age specific. Incidentally, when soldiers come into the Army, it is not uncommon for them to struggle with push ups. Almost every person finds a way to reach the required number at some point. Keep pushin!

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          • #20
            Since the elbow itself only bends 1 way. I would guess either your wrists aren't flexible enough or your triceps and shoulders aren't strong enough. I see young children do their pushups wide like that too. Think it's just a strength issue.

            If you can do 30 pushups on your knees, then I would say it's time to progress to a harder version. Try half pushups. Put a stack of books under your chest. Base the height on how far you feel you can come down and push up with some effort. Work that level until you can do 30 pushups and then remove a book.

            Now you'll be going a little bit lower. Once you can do 30 again, remove a book. Keep doing this until you can do a full pushup. You can also get away with only working up to 20 reps, but I like going to 30.

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            • #21
              I guess I just won't bother with narrow pushups. I do pushups and dips almost every day. I was doing them against my desk. Now I do them against my chair. And the other day, I noticed one of those playground things had a pretty cool ladder-like thing so I can do them either on the second rung, or I can squeeze out one or one and a half on the bottom rung. I can also do reverse pullups and chinups on the little bridge.

              One of these kinds of things. They're all different all over the city. I kinda feel like a dork when there are kids around.
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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              • #22
                I kinda feel like a dork when there are kids around
                i take my kids for cover lol we have a rule in my house that i cant expect them to do it, if i wont. check out al kavadlo's web site as he does alot of stuff in parks.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by PHaselow View Post
                  How are you doing with the pelvic floor issues? I know this isn't what you are asking but I remember you posted about that a while back. I am having my first experience with the same thing.
                  I think pelvic floor crap is like presbyopia. One day you're living your life just fine and then suddenly it's like, wtf?? I can't even read labels in the grocery store anymore. It's like one day you are just living your life and then suddenly it's like, whoa, and you make sure you go pee before you lift anything and make sure the route you run has at least one bathroom along the way.
                  Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                  • #24
                    Lots of good advice if the problem really is muscle/connective tissue weakness.

                    But perhaps the problem really is the way your arms are made! People's bodies are not nearly as standard as we'd like them to be. Maybe there's a piece of bone that extends a bit farther than everyone else's, or a piece missing somewhere!

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                      I can do lots of chair and knee pushups. But I can't do a single regular one. I'll get there.
                      Maybe start at the 'top' of the pushup, then go down and up?
                      Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                      Griff's cholesterol primer
                      5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                      Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                      TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                      bloodorchid is always right

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                      • #26
                        There is a girl who goes to Crossfit who is really strong... (at least compared to me lol), she can lift much heavier weights than I can with ease. BUT she struggles to do pushup (she can do them but her form isn't great, and if we have to do a lot she'll go to knee pushups).

                        Point is, I'm really not that strong... at least not yet, and I can do pushups pretty easily (managed over 200 in one Crossfit session). So yeah, I think the ability to do pushups varies, and it's not just down to how strong you are or whatever. There are obviously anatomical differences that make the ability to do pushups easier or more difficult.

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                        • #27
                          Hey! I did a pushup today! I actually did two pushups! Woo hoo!

                          I also did 2 negative pullups and 2 negative chinups on the playground. One of these days I'll be able to do those, too.
                          Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                          • #28
                            Yay!
                            Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                            Griff's cholesterol primer
                            5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                            Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                            TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                            bloodorchid is always right

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Check out NerdFitness for progressive movements on how to do a pushup:

                              How to do a proper push up | Nerd Fitness
                              ----------------------------------------
                              F, 48, 5'10"
                              Start Date: 25-06-12 @ 161lbs
                              Goal Reached: 30-09-12 @ 143lb. Now bouncing between 145lb - 149lb. I'd like less bounce and more consistency :-)

                              Started Cross Fit 20.12.12 ---- Can't wait to submit my success story on the 1st anniversary of starting primal.

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                              • #30
                                Can you do a bench press with a barbell or dumbells? If you can, choose a very light weight and build up over a couple of weeks. This should help you develop the muscles necessary for pushups. Do not use a bench press machine, use free weights as this will build your stabilizer muscles. Also do some supine db laterals.
                                Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

                                https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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