Sunday, January 9, 2011

Boy Push-Ups? Me?

One of the great things about CrossFit, is that it is entirely scaleable to your fitness level/needs. Any age/sex/weight/breathing individual can participate, just some of the moves might require modification. Probably one of the most familiar modifications people think of is performing push-ups on your knees if you can not do them on your toes.

I've never been able to do push-ups on my toes. I've gotten quite good at doing them on my knees. On Friday, after learning the workout, we were figuring out how or if we would be scaling the workout. There is always a "prescribed" (Rx) workout, and if the trainers don't think you should attempt that, they give you lesser weight to move. The workout of the day included push-ups. I went to go grab an ab-mat to cushion my knees, and my trainer stopped me and said "you will be doing push-ups on your toes today, fully prescribed." I had a slight heart attack. I didn't know if I could do a push-up on my toes.

My trainer says, "this is what I want you to do: get into push-up position, and just fall to the ground (he demonstrates with a rush of air and a thud as his chest and body hit the ground) then push yourself up. Repeat."

"But" I say. "What about lowering myself down? Isn't that part of it?" He says, "the goal is to get from having your chest on the ground to full extension in your arms. It doesn't matter how you get down, either by lowering or dropping, but since we do these workouts for time, I suggest dropping since gravity is doing the work."

Still not sure I could push myself up onto my toes from lying on the floor, I tried. I DID IT. It felt way to easy. I couldn't believe that counted as a push up. So I asked, "what about when people say to do 'negative' push ups to build up for on the toes push-ups?" My trainer laughed and said "don't even bother. You are using the wrong type of muscle movement (slow, few tissues) and it's just not effective." What is effective is fast, explosive movements. So, the burst from going from the floor to pushing myself up on my toes is WAY more effective then trying to focus on lowering myself to the floor. And, since gravity will ensure I get to the floor faster, its better to just drop anyway.

So yeah. I do push-ups on my toes now. Just one more exercise I DON'T have to scale. That makes me feel like a rockstar.


  1. I had to do them that way the other day too! I was shocked I was actually able to since I have ALWAYS just done them on my knees!