Tuesday, January 14, 2014

100 Pushups!

It finally happened today. This morning was hurried, since Maria, our housekeeper, was coming, and things were too messy to clean. If you have a housekeeper, you know what I mean. Because of this, I didn't have time to do my usual morning workout, so I decided I'd make it a pushup-test morning.

I felt pretty good, although I had taken about a week off of exercising when we went to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl, and I had definitely lost a bit of capacity in my regular routine. But I'd been back at it for two weeks, and was performing about as well as before.

It's hard to know how many you're going to be able to do, while you're doing them. They don't gradually get harder and harder until you fail, they're easy for most of the time, then they suddenly get challenging, and then you hit the wall and can't make another pushup. I felt good, though, through 50, then 60, then 70. When 80 was still not a problem, I started to think I was going to make it.

About 90 was when I started to feel like I was approaching the end. At 93, I had to pause at the top to take a breath. Up to then, it had been push-push-push, continuous, but the last 7 were individual, locking the elbows at the top each time, the way weightlifters do heavy bench-presses. To my surprise, it wasn't a great struggle to get through the last two. I probably could have done two more, but I was satisfied to make the 100 milestone.

What is my usual morning workout?

Five days a week, I do pushups and either squats or lunges. I use no weights besides my body weight. I alternate days, doing longer sets of pushups followed by stationary lunges, and shorter sets of pushups followed by slalom squats. This routine comprises all the exercise I do, although one of these days I'll get back to swimming.

I alternate the placement of my hands in pushup sets. The first set has them lower, beside my ribcage, the second in the usual shoulder-level position.

Long sets are timed at 1:30 per set; it takes about half the time to do the pushups, and the other half is resting time. I do 50, 50, 40, 40, and whatever I can manage (30-40) for a total of 210 or so.

Short sets start every 1:00. I do 6 sets of 30, plus one set to failure, another 30-40, for (again) a total of 210 or so.

If you don't know what a stationary lunge is, Google can direct you to explanatory videos. My variation is that I do 7 lunges, then "pulse" in the down position for a count of 5, then do 5 more, before switching legs. I do 8 sets of 12 this way with no rest between sets.

Slalom squats are like regular squats, except that instead of coming straight down every time, you shift your center of gravity over each leg. I do center, right, center, left. After each 8th squat, I pulse in the down position for a count of 5. I do 12 sets of 8 with no rest between sets.