One Way Or The Other, You Have To Push
Thank you for all the recent feedback. It makes me very happy to hear how you are incorporating the information I share here. Also, kudos to those of you who have added squats to your routine. That is absolutely terrific! (That includes you mum! 😊)
In keeping with the Strength Side, I’d like to introduce the next functional movement:
Generally, when we hear ‘push’ in terms of exercising, the first thing that may come to mind is the ‘push-up’ and rightly so. However, the push movement is not limited to just this particular exercise. In fact, we actually apply the push movement both horizontally and vertically. For example:
Putting your carry-on luggage in the overhead bin - vertical push
Pushing a revolving door - horizontal push
Supporting yourself on the arms of a chair if you can’t put weight on your legs - vertical push
Pushing a shopping cart around the grocery store - horizontal push
Putting something in the top shelf of your fridge - vertical push
You get the idea💡 Basically, at some point during the day, you will push something away from you or above you and it could be heavy or it could be light. But one poor movement and you could tweak your shoulder. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to push efficiently and also to build strength and mobility around this movement. So here are just a couple of exercises to get you started:
💪🏾 Horizontal push (primarily targeting the chest and shoulders)
Before jumping into that coveted standard push-up, please focus on form and ensure shoulder stability. If you are new to this movement or want to progress safely and gradually then you can start with wall push-ups or incline push-ups. By no means are these options inferior. In fact, good form and technique should always come first!
✨ Wall Push-ups ✨
Stand arm's length from a wall, with your feet directly under your hips.
Place both palms on the wall, shoulder-width apart at shoulder height and fingers pointed at the ceiling. This is your starting position.
Tighten your core and squeeze your butt. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet. Maintain this tight position.
Slowly bend your elbows and bring your chest toward the wall. Keep your elbows pointing away from your body at a 45-degree angle.
Press the wall away from you to get back to your starting position. (Again maintain a tight position as stated in step 4.)
Repeat this 6-8 times.
Note: You can increase the level of difficulty by (i) lifting one leg off the floor or (ii) slowing down your pace. When you are ready to take it a step further you can move on to:
✨ Incline push ups ✨
This progression of the wall push-up is essentially the same movement with two key differences that make it more challenging: (i) using an elevated surface such as a table or bench instead of the wall (ii) stepping further back in order to lift more of your own bodyweight
Place your hands on a sturdy elevated surface—table or bench—with your arms straight and your hands shoulder width apart.
Walk your legs out behind you until you are in a push-up position.
Keep your feet together. Tighten your core and squeeze your butt. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet. Maintain this tight position.
Slowly bend your elbows and bring your chest towards the surface. Keep your elbows pointing away from your body at a 45-degree angle.
Press the surface away from you to get back to your starting position
Repeat this 6-8 times
Note: the lower the surface that you place your hands on, the more difficult the exercise becomes. As you build strength with this move, you can make use of lower objects until eventually you are doing your push-ups on the ground. Take your take with this progression.
💪🏾 Vertical push (primarily targeting the shoulders and triceps)
✨ Shoulder Press ✨
Stand with feet about hip width apart.
Hold a dumbbell in your right hand at shoulder height. (The inside of your hand should be facing your head.)
Engage your core, and press the weight overhead until your arm is fully extended.
Slowly lower the weight to the starting position.
Repeat this 10-12 times and then do this with your left hand.
(Note: if you do not have a dumbbell, you can use any item that is easy to grip and has some weight eg. a filled water bottle. Eventually you will want to increase the weight in order to build strength.)
Add these push movements to your squats and you’re already well on your way to a full body workout 😉
If you have questions about these exercises please email me 📩 I’m here to help!
🎯 Quote of the week
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live
— Jim Rohn
🌿 Recipe - Pre/Post-workout smoothie
Banana Almond Smoothie
Sharing my go-to smoothie for when I need a quick boost before exercising or need to replenish nutrients after working out. This recipe passes my Ayurvedic requirement - it's easy to digest, contains only a few ingredients and isn’t an ice-cold beverage. Also, no added sugar!
1 banana (I always keep overripe bananas in the freezer) 1 tablespoon organic unsalted almond butter 1½ cup water (room temperature) 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon powder 5-6 organic coffee beans (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.
Benefits of the ingredients
Banana - rich source of carbs and potassium, a vital mineral which promotes muscle function and prevents muscle cramping.
Almond butter - protein packed nutrient that assists with muscle growth and repair
Cinnamon powder - regulates blood sugar and reduces inflammation
Coffee beans - I just like the aroma and flavor 😉