More Than One Way to Skin a Push Up

Two years ago, on Facebook, there was the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” People were videotaping themselves getting a bucket of ice water poured over their heads. This was a successful attempt to raise awareness for ALS research. This year there is the “Push Up Challenge”, to promote awareness of military veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and attempt to take their own lives. Each participant must post a video of themselves performing 22 push-ups every day for 22 days. Each day the participant nominates someone on their friend’s list to join in the challenge. A push-up Ponzi program if you will.

I was nominated by a friend and decided to help raise awareness of those in need. I also chose to simultaneously raise awareness to the fact that there are innumerable ways to perform a push-up. Each day I chose a different style of the exercise, and the reaction it received was a little unexpected. People kept posting comments that they had no idea that there was more than one way to do a push-up. They were almost in disbelief that such a common movement could have so many variations. The main reason for this response is because most people see the push up as an exercise but not as a movement.

Break down the push up to it’s bare bones; pushing the body away from something. Then ask yourself what can be changed to make the body receive a new experience. Can I change the position of my hands? Do I need to be on my hands and toes or could I rest on different body parts? Do I need to move straight up and down or could I move in a different direction or angle? Do I need to keep my legs still or could I get them to move at the same time I move my torso? What kind of surface can I perform the movement on? Do I need to stay in one place or could I travel in some direction? Can I incorporate some type of tool or device to give me a new experience?

As you see there are many questions we can pose to create different stimuli to the body rather than the same old movement over and over. This approach to movement can be applied to any exercise. You can create over a thousand ways to do a jumpin’ jack if you understand how the body moves and the different elements you can apply.

Here are a few of the different ways I performed push-ups during the challenge. Can you think of a few more? Not a bad mental exercise for thinking outside of the norm

  1. Plank to push-up
  2. Circular motion push-up
  3. Moving hands on gliders push-up
  4. Crawling push-ups
  5. Medicine ball push-ups
  6. Clock push-ups
  7. TRX push-ups
  8. Handstand push-ups
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