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Basic Push Up Progression Guide for Women

 

IMG_4705We all have different reasons why we feel called to do push-ups. Or, maybe we don’t. Maybe our only reason for doing a push-up is because our trainer says we should. o_0

Before diving into the nitty-gritty on how to go about developing the strength and confidence to rock your first push-up, or to develop the courage to push yourself out of the muck that you may fall face first in, and you will, if you are aware of it —

Yes, that did happen to me once while backpacking in Alaska. I was hiking along a river bed, tripped over a rather small rock, and, since I was wearing a heavy pack, the momentum propelled me forward until…you guessed it…I landed face-first in a pile of silty mud. Life has also landed me in the mud more times than I care to count, and it has always nourished me, even if it didn’t seem nourishing at the time. I digress…

I would invite you to consider your attention to your intention.

Set an intention.
Why do you want to do push-ups? What’s your intention behind wanting to learn this skill? Take a moment now, pull out your journal (or pen and paper if you are journal-less), and write down your why. Allow your imagination to flow. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The answers you provide, or the questions you ask yourself, are unique to you.

How often do you want to work on developing this skill?
How much time, energy, and/or effort are you wanting and willing to devote towards learning the push-up? There is a fine balance between not training a skill enough and training it too much. This balance is unique to you, your goals, your lifestyle, and your biology.

Who will help keep you on track?
Although as women, we have somewhat fallen into the trap of needing to “be strong, independent,” and do everything on our own (sound familiar?), having a support network is crucial to keeping you on track and helping you keep going when you run face-first into the metaphorical wall. Develop a list of 3 people who are in your corner, who will be here to support you, and have your best interests at heart whilst in this role.

Where? When?
The good news is that push-ups can be practiced anywhere and at nearly any time! It’s a skill that is very simple to incorporate into ones’ day if the attention to intention is there. 😉

Cooking dinner? Take a few moments to do a couple of sets of push-ups using the counter. Watching TV? Do some push-ups during each commercial using the wall, the couch, or the floor for support depending upon your current level of ability.

Now that your intentions are clear, you’ve set up a support network, and are pumped, primed, and ready to go…

Push-Up Progression 1 – The Wall Push-Up

Perhaps you’ve never done a push-up before, or it’s been years since you’ve done one. If you’re getting back into training, this is a good place to start. Continue practicing the wall push-ups until you can do at least 3 sets of 10 reps with ease and good form.

Push-Up Progression Level 2 – the Bench Push-Up

The great thing about the bench push-up is that you can adjust the height to change the difficulty of the movement without needing weight machines, pulleys, or any fancy equipment. Begin by using a bench, or counter top that is roughly waist height. As you develop the ability to do 3 sets of 10 reps with ease, challenge yourself by moving to a bench of a lower height.

It may be challenging to set your ego aside and accept where you are. A lot of people want to go straight for the lower bench without honoring the journey to “get there.” Take your time. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. When we rush through things too quickly we set ourselves up for a metaphorical, or physical, face plant in the mud.

Do you ever find yourself doing that?

One you’ve become confident exploring the bench push-ups at lower and lower heights, it’s time to move on to Progression 3.

 Push-Up Progression 3 – The Eccentric/Negative Push-Up

Pause for a moment and give yourself a virtual high five, a pat on the back, and a “heck yeah!”. Although it may seem like everyone can do push-ups, outside of people who regularly train and/or do this for a living, the majority of women have lost the capability to do a push-up.

The eccentric push-up will help you develop the strength and grease the groove towards doing a full push-up.

Watch for common compensation patterns as you get tired, such as: head dropping towards the floor, elbows splaying far out to the side, chest or bum dropping, bum lifting, and…holding your breath. Remember, breath = life, so breathe.

Push-Up Progression 4 – The Full Movement

Wowza! You’ve made it to the end of the Basic Pull-Up Progression Guide for Women. How cool is that?! You’re now rocking out all of the other push-up progressions and have hit the last phase in the basic push-up progression series. No doubt you’ve learned a lot about yourself along this journey. What have you discovered?

One thing I have noticed in my journey is that life will knock us down at times so that we can learn. There may not be a branch for you to grab onto to pull yourself up. There are times when no one may be there to extend a hand and help lift you up.

There will be times when you are invited to dive deep within yourself and find a way to push yourself up out of the muck. You’ll be invited to explore, experience and integrate an inner strength that perhaps you did not realize you had.

Incorporating holistic movement will help you do that. Training push-ups will help you do that. They’ll also help you develop those sexy, toned arms you desire, develop a strong core, and shapely legs, and they will help develop your pectoral muscles which  may help keep your breasts on the perky and lifted side.


I would love to hear about your journey through this guide. Send me an email with your questions, progress photos and/or videos, and/or comment or ask questions directly on the YouTube video that corresponds to where you are at so others may benefit from the learning experience as well.

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