Time to read (approximately): 2 minutes

Push-up progressions

I was at the gym, watching a few people work on their Push-Ups today.

It’s always interesting to watch people train, without being the one training them.

I learn a lot from what I see.

Sometimes I learn a new cue.

Sometimes I learn how not to cue.

During my observation today, it wasn’t what the coach said or didn’t say that caught my attention.

It was all about how the student decided to implement the instructions they were given.

The exercise in question is one I love;

The push-up

Even if you know you can’t complete a push-up there are still so many ways to perform a version of it.

My preferred option for people who can’t complete a full one unassisted?

The push-up negative.

Heck, I like using the negative with people who’re basically experts at doing them.

You can learn a lot about how and where you’re compensating by doing an exercise slowly and only working through the eccentric (negative) part of the movement pattern.

Most of us have some form of compensation we do.

Often, it’s momentum.

The slow and negative variant of the exercise forces us to realize that something isn’t quite right (if that’s the case).

But, back to what I was observing today.

When asked to do perform a push-up, the student went looking for an incline.

This too is a fine way to work your way up to being able to do a full body-weight movement.

But I believe the push-up negative is more effective.

So then, while observing, I’m faced with a dilemma.

Do I choose to be “helpful” and step in?

Or do I let the student and assigned coach figure out whatever they need to figure out on their own.

A few years ago, I probably would have “helped out”.

These days I try hard to avoid being “helpful” to other coaches during their sessions.

Unless I’m asked to help, I don’t offer it.

So instead I was enjoying watching the student take herself through the progressions until she hit her current limit.

In this case, that involved changing the angle of the incline until she couldn’t complete the requested number in the set.

It’s not as if she did any damage to herself. Instead, she got to explore what developing her own method means.

It truly was fun to see.

Speaking of slow negatives…

Can you think of something in your training routine today you could do a couple of (really) slow negative versions of.

To see if you learn something about your own strength and movement…

Yes, I want online training!


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