I was at my daughter Rachael’s track meet the other day (she ripped it up, by the way. She won the 100m hurdles, 100m dash, high jump, and her team obliterated the competition in the 4×100 relay).
Before the middle schools in the meet took the track, the high school team was still completing their practice. There was a group of 20 or so male athletes on the infield grass. They were going through a series of conditioning drills which included lunges, squats, reverse crunches, planks, and more. Their form was terrible and they really looked like they were just going through the motions, thinking about how fast they could get through the exercises and not focusing on quality and getting the benefit from the time they spent. Especially when the coach turned his back.
One exercise really caught my attention though. The worst push ups EVER! Bodies were flopping around, middles sagging, butts up in the air. One participant was pretty tall and from a distance looked like he had a bit of muscle on his frame and he probably had the poorest form of all. His arms were moving and his chest was coming up, but the rest of his body was staying on the ground. His waist and legs never left the ground the whole time. Imagine Gumby doing a push up, how’s that for a visual?
These are high school athletes?
A couple of lessons here:
1. Focus on quality. Don’t just blast through the workout to say you’re done. Think about your goal and how the workout is getting you a step closer. If your goal is to get it over with, blowing through the workout as quick as possible so you can get back to your cell phone and catch that all-important text message, then follow the high schoolers routine. If you really want to get stronger, do it right. It doesn’t take much longer. Everything else is just a waste of time.
2. Learn do exercise properly. Maybe they didn’t know they were doing it all wrong. Maybe nobody ever worked with them to show them how to get the most from the exercise. Maybe you’ve never had that help either. If you’re not sure if you’re getting the most from your workout program, ask for help.
If you want to know the right way to do a push up, here are a couple of examples that anyone can do!