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  1. #1
    sbhikes's Avatar
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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", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    I can squat 180lbs, press 72.5lbs and deadlift 185lbs

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    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.

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    SophieScreams is offline Senior Member
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    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!
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    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", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    I can squat 180lbs, press 72.5lbs and deadlift 185lbs

  5. #5
    primalrob's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

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

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    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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    Annlee's Avatar
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    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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    Try starting from the up postion and doing negatives to lower yourself.
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  10. #10
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    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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