Sunday, 19 February 2012 16:01

Muscle power vs ego massage

A few days ago, I spotted a couple of guys training in the park a few feet away from me. Now, normally I don't pay much heed to what others do during their workout - I'm more concerned with my own training. Also, I  make it a point not to interrupt others during their training - even if I don't agree with what they are doing - and thats a courtesy I expect (but don't get all the time) myself as well. 

So, these guys were having a pushup competition. I didn't hear the actual words being spoken, but they were trying to see who could rep out 50 pushups without stopping, and who was the fastest. And it was good I didn't actually hear what they were saying - my eyeballs were bulging out of my sockets (and not in a good way) just upon seeing what they were doing - so I don't think I needed to hear the logic behind what they were doing!

Anyway, guy #1 starts on his pushups. He pumps his chest out once or twice, stretches his arms, and drops to the ground. And he starts on the reps - only going halfway down on the down part of the pushup and bouncing up with atrocious form on the up part. And he didn't even go all the way up before marking that as one rep, and immediately starts again. He made it to about 12 before dropping on the ground like a sack of potatoes, and declared "that was tough".

On to guy #2, who does much of the same thing guy #1 did - except with even more lousy form - I'm wondering what state his lower back must be in if he constantly does pushups with his stomach touching the ground before his chest does.   .   .I think he made it up to 15 before sinking to the ground like a deflated balloon.

They then started for round #2, but neither was able to reach more than 15, at which the pushup mania petered out, and they moved onto their versions of dips - something you do NOT want to hear about.

At that point I quit looking - I love a good laugh as much as the next person, but there's only so much foolishness I can take in one session.

Anyway, the point of telling you this is not to poke fun at the two guys - it's to point out that getting an ego blast from completing sloppy "half reps" doesn't count for squat. I could give these guys ten regular pushups to do in correct form, and they likely wouldn't be able to complete that number - let alone 50.  But of course, the guy's gotta tell his friend that he did 50 in a row, just so he can feel good about the number. 

And this sort of behavior is more common than you'd think - I've seen countless other examples over the years I've been training. It's sad - allowing your ego to take over your training only harms you. You'll actually take two steps backward instead of one forward, run the risk of getting injured, burning out on the exercise and all for a temporary ego massage. NOT worth it, me thinks. 

The funny part is, the guys I'm talking would actually get a great workout (considering their current levels) by doing pushups slowly and in proper form rather than think about the numbers. They would do good to start off on the basic pushups I mention in Fast and Furious Fitness - and THEN move on to other pushup variations once they get good at cranking out the basic movement.

So don't inflate your rep numbers artificially just to please your ego. And note that there is a difference between setting goals and massaging your ego.You CAN set a goal of 100 pushups and work towards that - but claiming you can do a 100 pushups when you can't do 5 in proper form is useless.

Don't be the guy that can bang out a 100 pushups within a certain time frame - be the guy that can bang out a 100 pushups in good form within a certain time frame. Two words to be sure, but they make a massive difference to your training, and the results you get.

Best regards,


PS: Order your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness now, and you'll soon be on the road to doing 50 GOOD pushups in a row.