Push Your Limits

You’ve heard it so many times about fitness and exercise that it’s become an easy-to-ignore cliche by now: “push your limits” or “push yourself” or “no pain no gain”.

While these phrases are cliche and quickly dismissed nowadays, it’s important to remember why these phrases became so popular in the first place.

In exercise, you truly do not make any gains without pushing your limits. Think about it. If you drop and do 20 pushups without a single problem, what did you accomplish? Well, you’ve taken a small step to help maintain your current fitness level, but you didn’t actually make any progress. After all, your body could already do 20 pushups no problem. How do you expect doing 20 pushups to make it any stronger?

Look at your workout regimine and ask yourself, “are the workouts I am doing helping me to increase my overall fitness level or simply maintain my current fitness level?”

If your goal is merely to maintain your current level of fitness, congratulations on reaching a point in life where you’re comfortable just going into cruise control for the rest of your life.

For the rest of us, let these cliche phrases like “push yourself” and “no pain, no gain” be an important reminder that without constantly pushing ourselves during every workout, we would be naive to ever expect an improvement in our overall fitness level.

So don’t just drop and do 20. Drop and do as many as you possibly can and then do two more. Get it? Or drop and do 20 so many times throughout the day that by the end of the day, 20 becomes challenging again. That is how you make gains in your fitness level: by pushing your body past its capabilities thereby telling it, “I need you to be able to do more than you can actually do now, so pick it up!”

Pushups and Jogging

A great way to make your pushups more effective is to complete them with a significantly increased heart rate. This sends more blood to the pectoral tissues which makes the muscles more inflated.  Weight lifters refer to this as “the pump”.

Find a local school with a standard length track. The track should be one quarter mile long when ran from the inside lane. How much you run and how many pushups you do depends on your level of fitness. You should be able to attempt to run at least two miles, which is eight laps around the track. After every lap, drop and do a series of pushups. The number of pushups should be done in an A-shaped fashion allowing for a build up followed by a cool down.

After your first lap, drop and do 10 pushups for a quick warm-up. After the next lap, do 15. After that, 20. After that, 25. After that, do as many pushups as possible effectively “maxxing out”. From there, back track so that you end your workout with a 10 pushup cool down.

The key to this exercise is to avoid the temptation to stop for breaks. By never allowing your body the chance to rest, you’ll keep your heart rate increased and blood flow at a maximum. This entire exercise should only take about 20 minutes, but it will strengthen your chest and shoulders while aiding your cardiovascular health.

Keep things creative by varying the type of pushups that you do. You can do close-handed pushups after some laps, wide grip after others, and you can even use the bleacher stairs to do incline and decline pushups.

Just remember, above all else, keep pushing yourself! There’s no gain without some pain. This jogging and pushup exercise will be pretty painful, but you’ll see some noticable gains almost immediately!