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Pushups - what is wrong with me?

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  • Pushups - what is wrong with me?

    I'm trying. I will get there. I cannot do a single regular pushup.

    My boyfriend couldn't believe me that I could not do one so I demonstrated. He said my problem was my arms are out too wide. He demonstrated doing pushups with his arms closer together. So I tried it. There is absolutely no way my arms will bend when they are closer together. The elbows simply do not budge. This happens when my core fitness instructor tries to get us to do tricep/bicep pushups. I cannot get the elbow on the arm that's supposed to work the tricep to budge. Are my elbows deranged? Why won't they bend in that direction?

    I can do pushups using my chair. I'm getting better at them. But try to put my arms narrow and even if I can bend a little bit, there's absolutely no strength whatsoever there. What is wrong with me? What do I need to do?
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  • #2
    keep doing those chair pushups, or even back it up and do some wall pushups. do them slow. go for 50 wall push ups, then move to those incline push ups (50), then pushups on your knees (50), then progress to half or full pushups...all while going slow. sound like a lot? it is. sound like it'll take a long time? it most certainly will. but, it's important. i just started a new program and am trying it from the very beginner level...and i feel like i'm still getting something out of it because of all the smaller muscles and connective tissue that's being worked. it'll literally be months until i'm back to a level i know i can perform at, but i'm building a strong base. start out slow and keep progressing, and there will come a point at which you blow your brother away doing push ups.
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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    • #3
      Primalrob's suggestion is good. I'd also recommend trying chataranga push ups:

      Yoga Position: Chataranga Dandasana

      This pose helps strengthen the muscles that support the pectorals. Even a half-chataranga will get you stronger for real PU's, just remember to focus on keeping your elbows glued to your rib cage and all ten fingers pointed in front of you. With time, you'll be able to widen your arms and voila, you're doing a push up!
      “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

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      • #4
        I can do lots of chair and knee pushups. But I can't do a single regular one. I'll get there.

        That Chataranga thing: that is what I simply cannot do at all. A pushup with your arms in that position. I can just hold myself there okay, but move up or down? Ha! Not possible! I'll try seeing how long I can hold that position. Maybe that will help.
        Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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        • #5
          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.
          what is your speed like? going slow really helps build up those extra muscles (convict conditioning recommends 2 seconds down, 1 second pause, 2 seconds up...that's pretty good timing).
          i also forgot to mention that playing around with hand positioning can be helpful too. different arm widths, hand tilting in/out/stright, hand position related to the body (closer to shoulders, or closer to ribs).

          you're right, though. you'll get there.
          http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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          • #6
            You could also try pushups on your knuckles, or those perfect pushup things.

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            • #7
              You could also try reverse push up, go up to push up position knee push ups or just getting up on your knees, bum in the aie style then lower as slowly in control, I do these at the end of a set if I don't get to a target number to finnish off. There was a post about reveres loading a few weeks ago, that will give better info as to why it works.
              You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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              • #8
                A problem may (repeat, "may") be core strength, leaving your arms and shoulders (and elbows) to work from a disadvantage. How are you at planks? Forearm planks and hands? If you can go 3 minutes on a plank, I'd think your core will be holding its own. If you tend to sag in the pushup, work on planks to learn and strengthen the strong body through the entire move.

                Just a possibility - may not apply to you.

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                • #9
                  Try starting from the up postion and doing negatives to lower yourself.
                  Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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                  Don't forget to play!

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                  • #10
                    Part of it might just be a mental block, too. If you can do a bunch of knee pushups strictly, then you should be able to at least lower yourself in a full push up.

                    Perhaps if you put some books on a bed, and practiced lowering yourself where, if you fall, the face plant won't hurt!

                    Also, in addition to the good suggestions above about progressing from the wall to the floor (I have my boy doing the same thing, and he is getting there - he's not close to a full pushup yet, either), you could look into some assistance. There is a device sold by LifelineUSA called the Pull-up revolution. It comes with an attachment for pushups. That will help you practice the form, and build you up that way until you can go solo.

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                    • #11
                      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.

                      That Chataranga thing: that is what I simply cannot do at all. A pushup with your arms in that position. I can just hold myself there okay, but move up or down? Ha! Not possible! I'll try seeing how long I can hold that position. Maybe that will help.
                      Have you tried starting from the floor in that position and just working on pushing up, even if you don't make it all the way. Holding in the up position with the elbows locked probably won't build enough strength through the range of motion needed for the push up. You'll just get really good at staying in that position.

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                      • #12
                        Ideally, your hands should be right at shoulder-width. Too much wider than that and it starts getting into weird angles of pressure on your shoulders. Keep working on your knee pushups, but tuck your elbows in and do them slowly. Go back to pushing up from a chair or against the wall if you have to.

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                        • #13
                          I can do one, and one only full push up....but I'll get there too. A few months ago I couldn't do 10 push ups on my knees and now I'm doing loads of them - on my knees but with them pushed a long way back (sorry don't know what the technical term is - if there is one). It's just a question of strength.

                          I do a fair bit of yoga and used to find chaturanga (or however you spell it) really tough too, but once I started doing regular strength training - which includes lots of unstable base work to stress the core muscles - I find it much easier now. In fact I did some yoga last week for the first time in ages and was amazed at how much stronger I am.

                          Keep at it. It's possible that the not being able to bend your elbows thing is a mental block because you think you don't have the strength to avoid collapsing if you unlock them. Work on your core and upper body strength, and keep trying. You will get there.

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                          • #14
                            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.
                            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                            • #15
                              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.

                              About the push ups. That sounds strange to me. It sure is easier to do the wider stance but elbows should be able to bend when closer together, too. You can do them on your knees with your arms close together?

                              Try the knuckle push ups. Maybe it is your wrists.
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