One of the most commonly taught things (to do) while exercising is also one of the WORST things you can do for yourself – and that is what today’s email deals with.
If I were you, I’d read this tip very carefully indeed. May offend some folks who think otherwise, but so be it …
What most of us are commonly taught to do (and what most people do) when exercising – lets consider pushing movements here – is to “stop short of full extension”.
Apparently when doing pushups or other pushing motions this “stopping short” leads to “more stress being placed on the triceps” and “stimulates more growth”. Not only that, it supposedly leads to more reps.
Well – if you’re amongst the many who does pushups, and stops short of a elbow LOCKOUT i.e. full extension – – I’m here to tell you you’re doing them WRONG my friend.
I tell you how to do pushups the RIGHT way in the 0 Excuses Fitness System book and videos, and one of the main things I tell you is to do FULL EXTENSION pushups.
None of that “stopping short” mamsy pamsy rubbish – – and why not?
Well, first, stopping short of a full extension ensures that you do not extend the triceps – – or the arm fully. And while this may “feel” like more pressure is being applies on the triceps, in reality, does it help the muscle go stronger?
Not a chance – – and if you don’t believe me, do a set of SLOW, STRICT military style pushups – – with FULL extension — elbows held close to your sides.
Do about 20 of these.
Once you’re done – – do a set of 20 while “stopping” just short of full extension and tell me which set was easier.
I’ll bet the second gave you more “pump” – – but does it make it EASIER? Not a chance, my friend. Not a chance.
Other than this, stopping short of full extension ensures that you end up taking the stress off some of the most important parts of the body – – those being the tendons, ligaments, and other supporting musculature — ALL of which need to be strengthened just as much as the actual muscle, if not MORE.
‘Tis NO use having a “pumped” up abnormally large muscle with weak tendons and ligaments surrounding it – – an invitation to injury if there ever was one, my friend.
And this doesn’t just go for pushups. If you’re lifting weights – – for example, doing the military press – – then you do the SAME darn thing. You do NOT stop short of full extension as doing so robs you of the benefits of the movement, and also promotes poor “bouncy” form (in lieu of higher rep counts) as opposed to PROPER form.
Strict, slow and ALL THE WAY up and ALL the way DOWN, my friend. That is how it’s supposed to be done.
The U.S. Marines don’t consider a pushup to be a real pushup unless it’s full extension, my friend. And if some of the most elite soldiers – – and TOUGH guys on the planet say so- – I’d say there must be something to it, eh?
And lest you think this applies just to pushing movements, well – – think AGAIN. It applies equally to pull-ups as it does pushups – – and I mention this repeatedly in “Pull-ups – – from DUD to STUD within a few WEEKS!” as well.
You do NOT stop short of full extension. True, this may be hard for some of you with shoulder injuries and such – -but you don’t ignore weak areas – – you STRENGTHEN them!
And the most important thing I’m going to tell you today is THIS – it applies even more so to handstand pushups and anything done from a handstand position.
ANYTHING in that position done short of a full lockout is a recipe for not only disaster- – but stunting your future progress in the exercise.
Not only that – – it’s dangerous.
How do I know?
Well, first because I’ve got a wealth of experience doing ’em. I’ve been in the trenches a long, long time when it comes to all this my friend – – but even I make mistakes occasionally – – and I did the other day.
I forgot to focus on keeping the elbows locked while descending to terra firma from the handstand position – – and that, combined with a bratty kid that decided to run in front of me at the exact same minute I was “descending” made me land on the floor without my usual control – – and land SQUARE on my chin at that.
OUCH! Ouch times 10 actually but it could have been a lot worse.
I’ve got the control in my fingers and supporting musculature so though I hit my chin on the ground it wasn’t with full force. Though it hurt, and left a nasty bruise, it’s certainly nothing permanent.
But if I hadn’t built up my supporting musculature – – I’d have come tumbling down FULL FORCE – – and risked a broken chin or flattened nose – – or both, and let me tell you – – THAT combo ain’t pretty, my friend.
So that’s today’s tip — keep the arms LOCKED out fully when engaged in any serious pushing or pulling movement (during the “pushup” part of the exercise while doing push-ups and after lowering when doing pull-ups).
You may progress slower this way – – but you’ll build a solid base, and when you do progress WATCH OUT. You’ll be blazing past the rest in no time at all.
P.S. – Stay tuned for another important tip coming your way tomorrow – – yet another one of those “fallacies” put to bed as it were.
P.S. #2 – These, and other tips are mentioned in the 0 Excuses Fitness System. Pay special attention to the videos though as I give you plenty MORE tips in these – – stuff you do NOT want to miss if you’re serious about your workout. Grab the System right HERE – – http://0excusesfitness.com/0excusesfitnessystem/