Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Road to Four Hundy: The 20-Push

To return to a prior entry's theme, I'm still slogging along on the Road to Four Hundy. I'm trying to spend more time inclining and declining these days, but I'm still making sure to hit my regular 5 x 5s and the Kraft Singles. Another key component along the way is something called the 20-Push, which I am doing whenever I'm home and have 20 minutes to spare but don't have time or feel like going to the gym.

I recommend readers try this, because if you stick with it, you're going to see serious gains in your chest, shoulders, forearms, upper arms, back, and abs. And because you're incinerating a massive number of calories while doing it, it's going to help you with all-around tone, too.

All you need is a floor and a stopwatch, though a radio or iPod will help a ton as well.

In exactly twenty minutes, do as many diamond, regular, and wide-grip pushups as possible. Don't worry about how many you get at first -- it really doesn't matter. Just focus on form -- above all else, keep your back straight. Don't do the butt-in-the-air pushups, and don't let your lower back sag so as to make you look like a marine mammal. Also make sure you're getting the range of motion -- locked up at the top, and to that special 90-degree mark on the way down. If you're not sure about your form, just have someone watch you at first.

Now, back to the workout. Use a notebook or scrap paper with three columns (in-mid-out, or diamond-regular-wide) to keep score. Let's say after twenty minutes you've gotten 15 diamond, 40 regular, and 30 wide. Great. Your score is 15-40-30. Wait at least 24 hours before going again. Next time, your goal is 16-41-31. This is a pass-fail test. If you got 16-41-31, congrats, next time shoot for 17-42-32. Don't go past that. Every time you go, you're just trying to beat each category by 1, for a total of three additional pushups. If you don't reach your goal (one more in each category) that's okay, but you're still stuck where you were before you started. So if you had 75-100-82, and then you got 76-101-82, you don't advance. Your baseline is still 75-100-82, and it stays there until you beat all three in one session.

I've just started to augment this with Hindu squats (just Google that term to see how to do them) using the same principle (beat the # by 1) with 10 minutes as the allotted time.

My promise to anyone reading this -- forget excuses about not having time or space. I don't care whether you're stuck on a submarine, in a berthing on an aircraft carrier, or if you're getting your PT on the roof of an old regime palace in Tikrit or Ramadi. All you need for this is a stopwatch and a flat surface.

If you stick with this, you will get yoked. After a couple months, people will start asking you what happened. With the wide-grips widening your lats, and the diamonds swelling your arms, you will start to fill out all your suits, shirts, etc. much more fully.

And it will add pounds to your bench, too.

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