Along with the static contraction weight training, I’ve been working on bodyweight exercises. If static contraction techniques in the weight room can help you develop more top-end power and strength, I think that bodyweight exercises are great to build lasting strength and endurance. I think the two compliment each other. Plus, it is just so much easier to drop and do a few dozen push ups than to head to the gym.
Lately, I’ve decided to mash-up the two! I have been working static holds into my bodyweight exercise routine.
Most people are familiar with just pounding out push up reps or loads of crunches; but when was the last time you just held a push up for as long as you could? Most people never do this, but I think it might be a great way to stress the muscle more effectively.
The technique is this: after stretching a bit, place your arms slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and lower yourself only 3 inches. Hold this pose. Do not go too far down. Your arms should be almost (but not at) their point of complete lock-out.
The first time I did this I thought I could hold it forever (back on April 30th)….I made it 30 seconds before collapsing. Two weeks ago I made it for 2 min 30 seconds! I have been doing holds since then but haven’t timed myself. Will do a spot check later this week to see where I am at.
In parellel, I’ve been testing my 1 set max for pushups. I have been curious to see how only doing this minimal amount of training would help me progress. Here is my 1 set push up max has progressed in the past month:
- May 7th: 30
- May 14th: 37
- May 16th: 38
- May 29th: 41
- (today) June 6th: 44
I haven’t been trying to set a personal record each time…but it has ended up happenng. Between May7th and today I have primarily been doing static push holds (one hold to failure every other day) in between my one-rep max tests. I have also done (3-4 times) some Hindu Pushups (yoga combo of downward/plank/upward dog), a few yoga classes and 1 full-on weight room session.
The point is, I am finding my self making some reasonable progress by only doing 1 set of static push ups every other day or so. Could I attribute the gains to the other random stuff I do? Perhaps, but when I was really into doing pushups in high school it tool me a very long time to make the progress I have made in the past month, and I worked a heck of a lot harder! I think there is something to this technique.
I’ll keep going and see where it leads me. My personal best for nonstop push-ups is 52. If I can beat 60 using this method…I will be a true believer!
btw….if you are reading this blog, let me know what your personal 1 set max is for push ups; just curious! Pls add a comment to the blog!