We 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.
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.
When we’re having a great day and really enjoying ourselves, it’s pretty easy to say that we’re having the best day ever. Have you noticed that?
What happens when less than ideal things happen to us? Maybe we were in a car accident, lost our wallet, dropped the cell phone in the loo…maybe we broke a bone, found out we’re experiencing an illness, or are mourning the loss of a loved one.
Perhaps you’ve realized that you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship and you sit there, on your bed, locked in your room, with a bottle of Tylenol next to you, wondering…
“Is this all there is to life?”
Or, perhaps the emotional pain you are feeling is too present, too intense to process and…
…you beg on hands and knees for some sort of physical pain so you don’t have to feel the pain within your heart.
You receive that pain only to spend three years learning how to get out of it, chasing your tail in circles. In that blind, circle-chasing process stumble over your own two feet to discover
in order to let go of the physical pain you’ve been feeling, you have to allow yourself to feel all of the emotional pain you’ve been numbing yourself from and hiding from.
What happens then? Do we say that it’s the best day ever? Probably not. Chances are, we’re more likely to sound like Alexander from “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
I get it. I’ve been there. Up there, that woman who sat on her bed, who numbed herself, who begged for physical pain, over 10 years ago, was me. I understand what it’s like to have hit some sort of rock bottom and to wonder if you’ll ever pull yourself out of the hole that you’re in.
Just as a rainbow can light up the darkest of skies, we can choose to light up our own sky. Regardless of what happens to us or what we’re experiencing, we have a choice. We have a choice to choose whether or not we’re going to have the best day ever — regardless of the circumstances that come our way.
You may be sitting there saying that that is absolute cockamamie bullshit. That’s OK. I invite you to hear me out.
I suspect one day, you might reach a point in your life when you’re tired of “having bad days.” Is any day really bad? What defines a bad day? The day itself doesn’t change. The sun rises and sets, the earth rotates on its axis and around the sun, the moon waxes and wanes, the tides rise and fall. So, what’s different other than our perspective about that particular day?
You see, we fall into the carefully designed trap of living a life of comparison. We consciously and subconsciously compare each moment of our day, each experience we have, to all of the other experiences we have experienced and decide — good or bad; the best day ever, or the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Why? Why choose to compare? Why live your present life in the past?
Each and every single moment of every single day we are free to consciously choose what kind of day we are experiencing.
Wouldn’t you like to experience the best day ever, each and every day? Now, I’m not saying that dark, negative, or challenging experiences won’t ever fall your way because they will. It’s inevitable. It’s part of this human experience. However, you can choose how you react to those dark, negative, or challenging experiences. You can choose to flip the coin. You can choose to open the door to a part of yourself that you may not have experienced.
You can choose to reclaim your power rather than victimize yourself by giving your power away to the situation.
Notice the next time you find yourself saying “I’m having a bad day,” or “this is the worst day ever.” Make a conscious decision to flip the coin. Make a conscious decision to open the door behind which a new experience of your Self lies in wait.
I invite you to choose to say “I am having the best day ever.” You may not believe yourself at first. I certainly didn’t. Once I said that a few times to myself though, I experienced the cathartic, cleansing release of tears.
In that moment, I realized that the only thing holding me back from having the best day ever was me — my mindset, my thoughts, beliefs, and opinions, and my attitude. You too can choose to shift your perspective.
When you stop comparing this day, this one moment which you have never experienced before, with any other day or any other moment, when you choose to live life like there is no past and no future, and all that exists is right here, right now…you will shift.
If all that exists is this one precious moment, regardless of the experience and the visitor that has landed on the doorstep of your Home, what will you choose?
It’s autumn here in the States and with autumn comes everything pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin smoothies, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin costumes, oh and…
If you’re not familiar with the Headless Horseman, check this out:
Here’s a way to over-indulge in pumpkin without turning into a pumpkin yourself.
- 3 TB pumpkin puree
- 16 oz milk/mylk of your choice
- 1/2 tsp bee pollen (if not allergic)
- 1 heaping tsp reishi
- 3 scoops Super Meal L.O.V.
- to taste:
- real maple syrup (not Aunt Jemima’s or Mrs. Butterworth’s)
- fresh ginger
- cayenne pepper for a kick and to keep an internal warmth
Place in blender. Blend. Enjoy!
Let me know how you like it below. If you have any of your own suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
It’s coming…can you feel it? The stress of the holidays, the to-do lists, the go-go-go’s.
Why not learn some tools that will help you get through it all a little less frazzled and will help you jump start the New Year?
If you’ve been on the fence and curious about what it is we do here at On A Limb, now’s your chance to stop on by, learn what sets us apart from any other holistic movement and wellness studio in the area, and check us out free of charge!
Join us for a FREE info session THIS Thursday (11/6) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. All ages welcome.
- Learn what holistic movement and wellness is
- Participate in a free 1/2 hour movement class
- Learn what it’s like to listen to your body and move it mindfully without counting sets and reps
- Movement therapeutics demonstration
- Learn about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and what it can do to help you
- Learn how to alleviate stress related illnesses such as anxiety and depression
- Learn how to live in the present moment, have better attention, awareness, and focus
- Improve your relationships
- Participate in a free mindful living class
We look forward to seeing you there!
Amanda & Sally
Are you strong? Do you train your body? Train your mind? Explore your inner world? Let me ask again – are you strong? What does it mean to be strong?
Are you one of those people whom everyone looks up to and says “wow, you are so strong! I don’t know how you do what you do.” Are you a caregiver? A mom? A dad? Do you find yourself doing everything on your own and depending primarily on yourself? Do you find it challenging to ask for help? When you cry, if you allow yourself to cry, is it only behind closed doors where no one will see or hear you displaying such a show of emotion? Do you hide your true emotions and feelings behind your smile so that others may continue to see how strong you are in the face of various challenges?
Parts of me have fallen into those very categories for years. I am known as “the strong one” because I held back my emotions, am raising two boys on my own, and opened a studio (what?!). I made sure I would do everything on my own and not become co-dependent on anyone ever again. Parts of me find it challenging to ask for help. And, there are days when I cover up my tears, my anger, my fear, or my frustration with a smile. More often than not, my tears.
Would you be willing to consider that parts of us were led to believe that strong people don’t show emotions, they’re fully self-reliant, they don’t ask for help, they always appear happy and grounded? And, that if you displayed emotions, were co-dependent (as a child), interdependent, or asked for help that there was something wrong with you?
Would you be willing to consider that it takes much more effort to maintain the facade of being “the strong one” than it does to allow yourself to be yourself, to show emotion, to ask for help, to create space for healthy interdependence? It certainly doesn’t feel like it at first. It may even feel like you are breaking down and falling to your knees…becoming “weak.”
What if, in fact, you are allowing yourself to experience a new level of strength? What if by allowing yourself to see and accept those parts of yourself which you were led to believe were weak, needy, or shameful, you are becoming stronger?
Have you experienced the grace and the strength required to admit to ourselves and to others the following:
- I experience strong emotions and I have days that I cry off and on all day.
- Although I’m doing, xyz, parts of me are experiencing fear.
- I need help with…can you help me?
Would you consider that it takes a tremendous amount of strength and surrender to see, acknowledge, and accept those parts of ourselves? And, even more strength and surrender to openly share it with others? May I share with you a secret?
“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness that comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and attend them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.” ~ Rumi
In my opinion, you are not alone. You do not have to do everything alone. We need other people. I do not believe that you have to be “the strong one” in the way you think others want or need you to be strong. Would you be willing to allow yourself to experience the deep surrender and incredible relief that comes from being authentic with yourself and vulnerable with others? Would you be willing to allow yourself to experience the tremendous growing pains from the heart that comes from opening yourself up, much as a flower experiences as it bursts forth from its shell?
Would you consider allowing yourself to experience the experience of being vulnerable, and share the experience that connects us all – that of being human?