I remember my Taekwondo teacher in eigth grade praising me for my pushups - deep stretch, all the way down, all the way up, even at that young age where I was stiff as an iron dog, inflexible, and so forth - and had no-one to learn from.
I remember him laughing as the splits hurt me - and telling my partner to "hurt me more" (though till an acceptable limit).
OUCH! I can remember my groin almost ripping apart. Hehe.
But that was a good thing, that flexibility is something all martial artists need.
You might think kicking power comes from the quads - you couldn't be more wrong.
It might contribute to it, but hips, core, transfer of power GRACEFULLY through the core - and so forth - and the HAMSTRINGS are far more important.
Ditto for punches, while you might be able to power your way through sometimes it really your back, traps and core at play here - and your legs.
I remember him asking me in ninth grade, when I stopped going to Taekwondo class "some stupid thing at home about concentrate more on studies".
(while now they say the opposite - can't win for losing, eh. Hehe.
"Rahul, why don't you come to training!" I still remember him stopping his motorcyle on the road, asking me, smiling ...
I told him.
Anyway, we'll get to this later. I'm at the risk of running off topic, but, as I get done with 90 pushups, all in strict form, I want to talk about something els e(the above will tie into it later).
I've mentioned in 0 Excuses Fitness, Fast and Furious Fitness, Pushup Central, my blog, my writings, my subconscious, my yet to be engraved "tombstone", hehe - that pushups are the one exercise that along with pull-ups, but more pushups - tend to lend themselves to more lousy form than anything else.
They also attract max number of Bozos and braggarts, ruffians that claim "bouncing up an down " does the trick, and so forth.
And then the idiots at the gym doing the same thing, jiggling their bloated pecs.
As if thats real strength - real strength is a PACKED chest - DENSE, strong, tough muscle, now if you have big on top, thats great, but big ain't what adds strength for the most part.
But anyway - some of the advice I've seen on sites you'd think would know better.
"Your thighs and chest should touch the floor at the same time!"
This must take the cake for the most idiotic piece of advice on a site I saw yesterday - ranked highly by Google at that.
Just when do the thighs touch the floor with pushups?
Maybe wierd Bozo Schofield "on knees" ass pushups, if there is such a thing, but I cannot recall a single real pushup where this happens. (unless you're slopping your way through reps).
"Do half reps!"
Apparently doing a half rep after one rep is a pushup and a half.
What the fuck.
I can understand WORKING up to a regular pushup that way, but half reps - nah. Not for me!
A better alternative, and one I did NOT mention in Pushup Central, because I still feel it mangles form, or lends itself to so, is pausing the top of the rep, bringing one arm up to your chest while you rest on the other, and then bringing it down again and completing the rep.
Yet, that is overkill.
I'd rather the Spiderman pushups or the torquing pushups I mention in the book.
Those make good form and a ball busting, heart thumping workout far more "doable" than taking limbs away which is a great thing to do if you can do it, I plan on having books out on it in the future, but it dont replace the basics, never.
I don't know whether Clint Eastward is still doing one arm push ups at age 90 or not (I've never seen him do any) but either way I don't rate the one arm push up as a serious exercise, it's more of a skill demonstration than an exercise in my humble opinion.
that was the great John Walker, who left a great review on Pushup Central.
And he's right.
One arm pushups reqire far more skill than "strength and conditioning".
Although they still require serious strength, as do one arm chin-ups, I'd rather do them on both limbs for most of my workouts.
The Clint Eastwood comment, of course, was made by me - I've often spoken about Clint before.
Gotta love the cranky ole keeping it real dude, hehe.
But anyway - even fitness "gurus" fall prey to this.
I regard someone like Matt Furey as a legend and inspiration - but even him, some of his videos I've seen, he actually tells you to do pushups "quickly and half reps" - "combat pushups" is what he calls them.
Now if you can do 'em quickly in proper FORM, then I ain't got no issue with it.
But at the risk of sounding overly anal, which I am about form, period - you cannot compromise form for speed or anything else. Period.
I can make 10 pushups harder than a 100. Period.
Its about form over all, period, true, sometimes during long hard workouts form might be a bit compromised, but you work at it so it's not.
You don't think "I'm still getting a workout in anyway".
I mean, trust me, the littlest details matter.
While doing table pushups, if you do it right, you'll feel areas like the BASE of your neck stretch and strengthen beyond belief.
You might laugh at me for saying it.
But, DO them in right form, you'll see.
The arms in that case are just support in a static manner, the body does the work, and the neck "goes along" if you do it right (and you get rid of turkey neck too for those that have it or dumbphone "Hunchback of DumbPhone Dame" syndrone.
Dumbphone dames, ugh - I have LOST TRACK of the number of times dames have almost bumped into me - so busy are they on their dumbphones.
Of course, it's Rahul's fault these Bozos and fools can't look away for their phones for a minute. Some men are equally cuplable here (Bozo Schofield being one prime example- nary a minute passes without him trolling some inanity on the phone). (when he has a phone, of course).
Back to Matt - I highly respect the guy for his accomplishments, and also think when it comes to pushups, he's a stud.
Or, he was at some point.
You can tell!
But you dont have to agree with someone on everything to respect them either.
And there are some areas I disagree with him, most notably all he says about pull-ups, and the fact you've never actually seen Matt, either back in the day or now do a single pull-up himself- its always Ed Baran who does 'em.
Thats fine if that works for Matt and his base - hey, its probably why he's putting out videos on pushups like I spoke about above.
Gotta do what a man's gotta do, gotta eat. Hehe.
But I truly hope Matt, if he ever reads this takes this as CONSTRUCTIVE criticism from someone that has always admired him and wished him the best mentally.
Those things transmute, I'm sure he will.
And hey, he's a legend. I credit him in 0 Excuses Fitness for one for bringing Hindu squats and pushups "to the masses". Credit where it's due. Respect! (amigo)
But writing books like "Primate Power", and chapters like "pullups that make your lats scream with pleasure", then not even doing them himself because he's out of shape, or maybe "too much spread around the midsection" (Furey admitted as much himself in an email, so it ain't me saying that) - not on for me.
If I write a book, I want to be the one doing the exercies, workouts, period.
Not saying you cannot teach without doing yourself, you can, but you only impart a quarter of the benefit if even that to the student in that manner.
My base - and me - demand - and aren't satisfied with anything other and less than me giving it to you straight, brutally frank and honest. I would't tolerate anything less from YOU Either!
As Iron Mike said ...
Ah, but anyway.
Do pushups right, or don't do them, period.
Plus, how much do you ever hear from the so called gurus on BREATHING right during the exercise?
Big mistake, you're robbing yourself of most of the benefit of any exercise if you don't focus on your breath.
Your breath is indeed your power, many an old time strongman has said it.
I'll quote John again on this one: -
With regard to numbers, it is not the numbers that are important it is how hard you are working that really counts, yes high numbers are great for the ego but you have to wonder how many of those ultra high numbers are quality reps.
If you've ever seen some of those Navy Seal training films on t. v. you'll soon realise that it doesn't take long for the form to breakdown and the recruits form just goes from bad to worse until the exercise they're supposed to be performing is totally unrecognisable.
From my own personal perspective I only count the reps I know were completed correctly and with good form, this is not to suggest that other people don't but it does give one pause for thought.
I cannot abide watching someone performing a exercise sloppily it makes me want to slap them and tell them to do the thing properly or don't bother doing it at all.
What is the point of performing exercises in a half-arsed manner, you get nothing from it and you open yourself up to injury, the trouble is these days so few people actually know what good form should look like that people just accept that what is being demonstrated is how it's supposed to be performed.
Yes Sir - my point exactly!
Well, you and I are on the same page in terms of doing exercises in proper FORM with the right breathing as well - especially pushups, as that (as you've no doubt read in my books) tends to be the exercise which lends itself most to chest thumpers and braggarts - I hate the way many people do them as well, "bouncing up and down" (I know you know what I mean there). Truth be told, I've been called "anal" by some because I constantly (according to some of my detractors, as you know there are plenty) "carp on form", but Id rather be anal on form and do it right or not at all as opposed to sloppy (but given how lazy the world has become in general "shying away from the tough stuff" it doesn't surprise me, the number of people slopping their way through reps just for the "rep count").
I dont know, but here's something else.
How often do you see people calling exercise TRAINING - or practice?
My martial arts teacher back in the day would always use the term "practice", he's right.
That is what makes perfect.
"I fear not the man who practises 10,000 kicks one time, but I do fear the man that practises ONE kick 10,000 times".
You TRAIN the body - and the mind to adapt, improve, and overcome through your physical exercises, martial artists, Marines, Navy Seals etc know this better than most.
You PRACTICE until you get good, damn good at what you do, and you never stop learning ...
I'm anal about all this.
(And it tiesinto the reason most people call my books "books" - and not "manuals".
I have spoken about this before. They're manuals with illustrations, and examples - and instructions, both in the written word and pictorially.
They turn you into a beast, a machine.
Much as you wouldn't call an instruction manual for opening a car engine up "book", same thing for my books that literally "open you up from the inside out"). (no pun intended))
But I will continue to be till the day I die.
Because I'm RIGHT, and I know it. Hehe. (I got that from my buddy in the Marines once, we were discussing something and he told me something, I said you're right, Vincent, pat came the rejoinder, I KNOW I Am, Rahu!).