Just like everyone else, I had seen those online articles titled “I did 100 push-ups a day for 30 days and here’s what happened.” I had been a fan of pushups but never consistent with them until Jan. 3 of this year. A challenge between myself and a wellness client in Nevada started my daily commitment and I’m still at it.
At the end of last summer’s bike ride across the southern border desert, I began to return to my normal routine of a morning run followed sometimes by push-ups. Prior to the ride, I could do 40-45 in a row. Following the ride, I could only do 37 on the first day back. I had lost some weight prior to the ride and a little more during it. My arms had too much loose skin between the elbow and the bicep, the main muscle in the front of the arm. Riding a bike, especially on uphills, uses the arms and especially the bicycle’s handlebar to apply leverage for powering the legs. It’s likely those biceps were tired at the end of the long ride.
The client’s name is Skyler Loibl and my challenge to him was that I would do 100 push-ups a day if he would do regular workouts for four to five days a week. We are both still at it, and I have begun a habit that won’t end anytime soon. Today marks my 41st consecutive day and I’m hooked.
The results have been amazing. Although I started push-ups on most days again in late September, I didn’t get serious until the Jan. 3 challenge began. With steady average increases, I can now do up to 60 continuous push-ups and just two sets now net 110-115. There is more definition to those biceps and the loose skin below is gone. My chest also has more definition and of course my lifting capacity has improved.
Push-ups are one of many bodyweight exercises. Contrary to popular belief, push-ups aren’t just for the arms, chest and back. In essence, push-ups are a full-body exercise that makes use of almost every muscle group in the body.
A proper push-up involves activation of the core and lower body, strengthening the legs and building lean muscle in the abdomen, and all the stabilizing muscles. This gives you great balance and also improves your oxygen efficiency.
Furthermore, while push-ups alone can help build and tone muscles all over the body, the full-body activation it entails means that it uses up a whole lot more energy compared to exercises that target only specific muscle groups, such as sit-ups and squats.
You can also modify your push-ups to suit your needs and your current fitness level. Changing hand and feet positioning, elevation and speed can change the basic push-up drastically. You can start by doing push-ups on your knees or against the wall.
Do enough push-ups every day, and you’ll begin to notice athletic improvement across the board. You’ll develop strength in all areas, particularly in your ability to carry your own body weight. I’ve especially noticed an improvement in my posture.
Girls on the Run is kicking off their spring program. Lindsay Peiffer, program manager for the Greater Piedmont, said, “Girls on the Run is a national non-profit organization that designs programming that strengthens third- to eighth-grade girls’ social, emotional, physical and behavioral skills to successfully navigate life experiences. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities. The life skills curriculum is delivered by caring and competent coaches who are trained to teach lessons as intended.”
There are programs at many of the elementary and middle schools in Rowan County. Lindsay wanted to share that locations and signup are currently underway at www.gotrgreaterpiedmont.org. The season starts on March 14 and ends on May 15.
Girls on the Run has recently partnered with Carolina Complete Health to bring more opportunities for programming to low income, in-need girls and families. Any family that has insurance through Carolina Complete Health receives a free voucher to participate in a Healthy Living program in the community — Girls on the Run being one of them!
GOTR also has a great community option this season for any girl whose school doesn’t participate. There will be a community team at Bell Tower Green Park coached by board member Liz Senn, a communication specialist for Carolina Complete Health and a perfect advocate for all of this!
The next race locally is the Will Run for Food 5K on Feb. 26. Look for it and other events at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org.