Tag Archives: Challenge

Push Ups 101: A Cheater’s Guide To Lousy Push Ups, 35+ Push Up Variations, And Fast & Effective Bodyweight Upper Body Workout

If you read yesterday’s post, then you’re already aware that I have a big challenge ahead of me. Over the next 4 months I have to master my ability to do pull ups and push ups. *Panic mode!*

panic mode

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According to the plan, I have to be able to do 30+ push ups and 15 pull ups at the beginning of summer. Well… I’ve got quite a bit of work cut out for me because… *Okay, it’s really embarrassing*… right now, I can do a grand total of… DRUM ROLL… *please, don’t judge me!!!*… 2 pull ups and 10 *big girl and not girly!* push ups in a row. There!

Anyhow, I’m hopeful, because as they say, it can only get better from here on! *TA DA!* 

push ups for babies

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So what are the benefits of push ups?

  • Improve posture
  • Upper body conditioning
  • Strengthen core
  • Increase metabolism = shed some extra weight
  • Can be done anywhere!
  • Oh, and a nice SEXY back & shoulders!!! *My top selling point! Haha!*

By the way, this is how you do a push up correctly!

how to do a push up

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According to CrossFit Smyrna, here is “A Cheater’s Guide To Lousy Push Ups”:

‘Avoid each of these and you are nearly guaranteed an honest push-up.

1. Sagging: Dropping the belly in an attempt to hit, or reach bottom early
2. Piking: Sticking the butt up in the air. This is usually accompanying a rest (see resting, below).
3. Resting: Coming to a stop. This is usually tried at the top, often while piking, but may manifest as a collapse at the bottom.
4. Bouncing: This cheat is, exactly as the name implies, bouncing off the floor to rise to top again without effort. This is a big hit with fat guys.
5. Yogaing: With this cheat, the head and neck lead up followed by the chest then belly. It is a dynamic variant of sagging, but often performed as though it were a plus or artistic.
6. Reaching: Reaching’s most common form is with the head and neck. Some cheaters can extend their head and neck an extra six inches in an attempt to find bottom early and avoid the pain of a real push-up. Look for the nose a foot below the chest.
7. Speeding: The count should be a slow “one-two” up and “one-two” down unless doing timed efforts like the Tabata Interval. For reps, they have to be slow and controlled.
8. Shorting: This is the worst and most common cheat where the cheater typically doesn’t go all the way down. Not rising to the top is less common but still cheating.’

We can do it

My plan to success is to incorporate plank workouts in my routine and also Fast & Effective Bodyweight Upper Body workouts like this one:

Also I found a great Ultimate Push Up Guide: 35+ Push Up Exercises from The Art of Manliness. You should definitely check it out!

How many push ups can you do? How do you incorporate them in your workout?

xoxo
Olena

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Pull Ups 101: Red Bull Doesn’t Give You Wings… Pull Ups Do!

Yesterday I was reading one of my favorite blogs Run For The Pizza by Emmeline. She came up with a super duper idea to have a contest: All you have to do is to train to do as many push-ups and pull-ups as possible. Now, it really works out perfectly for me! Why? Because I literally SUCK at doing both of these exercises!!!

Oh well, at least I’m not alone…

1106-bieber-pullups-akm-gsi-3

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*Okay there, Justin Bieber’s fans, calm down! This picture IS funny! Haha!*

However, in all seriousness *hmmm… not sure if I could really be serious after that picture…*, I could really benefit from this challenge, since I have to strengthen my arms and core big time to successfully complete the Spartan Trifecta this year.

I actually was really good at doing pull ups when I was 10-11 years old. I remember how impressed some older boys looked at me when I would go for a set of pull ups or ‘walk’ the entire curved monkey bars back and forth. *Ah, good old days!* Imagine my shock, when I asked my hubby to put up his chin up bar and tried to do a couple of them… It was a BIG FAIL!

 
big fail

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*Believe me, this what your reaction would look like if you saw me doing them! I SWEAR!*

I must admit though, Justin was very supportive and even told me I was doing great… *Yup! I guess that’s what they call a great husband. LOL!*

Anyhow, back to the subject. There are many benefits of pull ups:

  • Strengthen fingers, arms, shoulders, back, and core;
  • Can be done pretty much anywhere;
  • There are many variations of pull ups; thus, the intensity of the exercise can be adjusted easily;
  • Get your heart rate up = make that fat sweat!

pull up your big girl pants

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*LITERALLY!*

My commitments is to be able to do at least 30+ push ups and 15 pull ups in a row by summer. I think, it’s doable. What do you think? In any case, I’ll have to videotape it, so now my pride is on the line too! Haha!

I was trying to look online for some guidance on how to get this thing started and came across this great post by another blog that I love, The Art Of Manliness. Here is what Brett suggests.

“So if you’re ready to start cranking out pull-ups, here’s your routine.

If you currently can only do one pull-up, start out by doing 12 sets of 1 pull-up with a 45 second break between sets. Do the routine two times a week. Once you can do two pull-ups, begin this routine:

Week 1: 6 sets of 2 reps. 45 second break in between sets. Twice a week.

Week 2: 5 sets of 3 reps. Twice a week.

Week 3: 4 Sets of 4 reps. Twice a week.

Week 4: 3 Sets of 6 reps. Twice a week. If you’re able to do more, go ahead. Like I said, by this time I was able to increase my reps to 10.

When you get to the point that you’re able to do more than 12, it’s time to start adding weight to your pull-up routine.”

In my opinion, it sounds like a reasonable plan. Does it?

progress vs perfection

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Need some motivation? According to the Guinness World Records, here are some EXTRAORDINARY achievements:

  • Most pull ups in 1 minute: 41
  • Most pull ups in 1 hour: 1,009
  • Most pull ups in 6 hours: 3,288
  • Most pull ups in 12 hours: 4,020
  • Most pull ups in 24 hours: 4,030

Anyone dares to compete with any of these? Haha! Well, let’s start from a baby pull up first!

baby-pull-up

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What are you focusing on right now? Are there any exercises you’d like to improve on? 

xoxo
Olena

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The Benefits Of Stair-Climbing For Runners & Arnold Strength Workout

It probably won’t sound like a big secret, but GOSH, I’m fed up with this snow… and winter… and cold! Despite living all my life in countries with cold winters, I don’t think I will ever accept it or get used to it. Yesterday, on the way home with my hubby from work, I kept on daydreaming. I was like, so one day when we are rich we’ll move to a warm country. But Justin bluntly cut me off, he said he’d rather take winters than hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires or earthquakes. What’s your take on that?

Now-I-remember-why-I-hate-winter

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On second thought, I think my hubby forgot about having to deal with my cold feet every night… I might have a chance! haha!

As you know, lately I’ve been looking for different ways to strengthen my legs to improve on speed during my runs. There is a StairMaster at my gym; however, I don’t use it. I don’t even know why. Most likely because I just feel so comfortable with my routine. I guess it’s time for change because there are many benefits of stair-climbing for runners.

stairmaster

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According to this article posted on http://www.canada.com, the benefits are as follows:

  • ability to increase your cardiovascular fitness;
  • burn more calories;
  • improve muscle conditioning in your legs and buttocks;
  • improve balance

Pretty sweet, don’t you think?

Burn baby burn

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Then, I came across a great article on Runner’s World: Why Stair-Climbing Is Good for Runners. The article proposed these 3 amazing stair workouts:

  1. Run Up Like… A Competitor: “After a 10-minute warmup, run hard up stairs for 20 to 30 seconds, then walk back down. Repeat for 20 to 30 minutes. Or run stairs for 10 minutes after a long run to help your body build endurance and learn to push through fatigue.”
  2. Run Up Like… November Project: “Warm up for 10 minutes. Then climb 20 to 30 seconds up the stairs at a tempo effort—slowing as needed to keep your ascending pace consistent—and without pausing, run back down. Repeat the cycle for 30 minutes. If you’re in a stadium, run from section to section at the tops or bottoms of flights, maintaining tempo effort.”
  3. Run Up Like… A Gym Rat: “After a 10-minute warmup, crank up the incline *on a treadmill* (slowing your pace as necessary) to 15 percent (or whatever the machine’s maximum incline is—the higher, the better). Do one minute at the hardest pace you can manage, then reduce the incline to zero and recover for one minute. Follow with two minutes at maximum incline and two minutes of recovery, working your way up, minute by minute, to five minutes of each. Then work your way back down to end with one minute hard and one minute recovery.” 

turn intentions into actions

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I am really looking forward to trying them out over the next couple of weeks. As for today, I have Arnold Strength training according the training guide.

Repeat this 3 times, using a weight you can lift within the desired range, 10-15 reps each:

** For dead bug and flutter kick, make sure the lower back stays neutral.

good things come to those who sweat

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Now I’d like to hear from you! How often do you incorporate StairMaster in your workout? What is your favorite way to break some sweat apart from running?

xoxo
Olena

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HIIT Training & The New Spartan 30-Day Challenge

Happy Monday all!

Okay, fine, I’m pretty sure not everyone is super excited to go back to work after 2 weeks of holidays or short work weeks. But hey, we gotta stay POSITIVE!

I had a wonderful weekend. The definite highlight of it was a 10 km run on Sunday, my first run this year! After running, I feel re-energized, inspired and relaxed. Oh, and let’s not forget about the runner’s high! LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! What about you?

In addition, I started using dailymile to track and share my workouts. It is a pretty awesome tool because there is a big community of active people behind it, who support each other, inspire and get inspired, not to mention that it’s absolutely free. I also love that it shows how many donuts you’ve burnt. I mean, how AWESOME is that?! If you decide to join or have already joined this community, make sure to add  me (just click on the link above or on the right panel of my blog), so that we can motivate each other!

dailymile

I was also super excited and pumped for the new Spartan Challenge: 1 Mile a Day for 30 Days. I know, it’s super easy, all you have to do is  walk/run 1 mile every day for 30 days; however, the main purpose is ‘ to get everybody off the couch and living like Spartans with small daily challenges’ or, in other words, to stay active and consistent . You can join the movement here.

1 mile a day for 30 days

On a side note, the Spartan Race has got a very talented design team. I LOVE their pictures! They are so simple and creative: I get blown away every single morning when I receive their WOD (Workout of the Day) & FOD (Food of the Day) emails.

While training for the Spartan Race, I realized the importance of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). It takes fitness to the next level while not sacrificing any extra time at the gym. It is super easy to incorporate in your daily workout:

  • If you are going for a run, every so often start sprinting as fast as you can, then jog for a minute, then sprint again, and so forth.
  • What you could also do is run a mile then do some high-intensity exercises such as burpees, push-ups, squat jumps or mountain climbers (as many reps as you can in a minute each), then repeat: run and do exercises as many times as your fitness level allows.

It’s definitely tough, but it’s worth it! You’ll see results very quickly ,BUT you’ve got to be CONSISTENT.

Here are some of the benefits of HIIT training.

Benefits of HIIT Training

Finally, I came across the following video. It is super inspirational. I thought I’d share it with you today to start the week off on the right foot: full of energy and confidence in your abilities.

And some words of inspiration from Bella…

Dream Big and believe in yourself

Now it’s your turn. What’s your biggest fitness achievement this year so far? What is your favourite HIIT workout?

xoxo
Olena

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