One of my favorite things to do is experiment with different ways to work out and track the data. And this time around, I’m curious as to whether I can break my push-up record without actually doing push-ups. Rather, will work on my triceps, chest, and shoulders in other ways contribute to this goal?
I know there are probably studies and expert advice out there that may say whether or not it’s possible. But, I’m the type of person who needs to figure out if it works for me.
Because when it comes to health and fitness, everyone is going to have a different perspective and experience.
Realistically, though, any type of strength and endurance training on your triceps, shoulders, and chest should contribute to the number of push-ups you can manage. What I’m curious about is how much mostly cardio activities can contribute.
Why Focus on a Push-Up Record?
To be honest, I just like trying to beat my own personal bests. I could focus on breaking records for any exercise, really. In fact, I plan on setting quite a few before this year ends.
It’s one of those things that can usually keep me focused and motivated. It’s all about finding whatever I can to keep my mind engaged in the activity.
Gamification Aids in Motivation
I’m quite the data dork with a spreadsheet. I love collecting data and running numbers. And because these things are very fun for me, it’s a way of gamifying my workouts.
Gamification works by turning any mundane task into something you enjoy. The more you like doing something, the more motivated you are to continue. It’s why many businesses use gamification to boost employee morale and productivity.
For me, trying to break my push-up record is a game that I intend to win.
Going Beyond My Limitations
I remember the sense of pride I felt when I went from 8 to 22 push-ups to set a new record for myself. One of my sons kind of chuckled until I explained how much of an improvement this was for me.
For most things in life, people put limitations on themselves. I could say that I can do 22 continuous push-ups and just say, “welp, that’s my limit.”
Instead, I try to find ways to go past my personal bests to become a better version of myself. I do this with work, and I do this while exercising.
Eventually, I’ll get to a place where I am content with the number of reps I can do in any particular workout. At which point, I may just focus on improving speed.
But for now, I simply want to do more than 22 push-ups in a row.
It’s a Good Place to Start
In reality, I could have picked any exercise to focus on for the next week or two. Setting a new push-up record just popped into my mind this morning. And then I thought, “I wonder if I can beat it without actually doing push-ups for the next couple of weeks?”
I’m also fairly confident that I’ll be able to set quite a few other records afterward simply because of the muscle development that will continue through other routines.
Regardless, I figured push-ups were a good place to start.
Besides, it’ll help me get that superhero physique I want for Halloween. Especially now that I have a few audience members who are looking forward to seeing that on WriterSanctuary’s YouTube channel.
In this instance, my audience is holding me accountable to lose weight, which is something I’ve talked about before.
How Will I Break My Push-up Record?
OK, how am I going to set this new record for push-ups without actually doing push-ups?
Finding My Baseline
The record of 22 reps I set was from a couple of years ago. And I haven’t been the most active since then, which means I have a lot of work to do.
First off, I need to find my baseline. How many push-ups can I do right now versus how many can I do in two weeks? This morning, I was able to do 17 before failing. And it took quite a bit of effort to get that last one.
This is already a bit of an improvement from a couple of months ago when I struggled to get 15.
More Virtual Smash
When it comes to Kinect games for fitness, Virtual Smash is one of the most intense. It relies on rapid movement to break blocks to make as many points as you can.
It’s also the game that works me up into a sweaty mess the fastest.
The reason why I am focusing on this game to help break my push-up record is because of the muscle activation while playing. This game intensifies a workout to the same muscle groups needed for doing a push-up.
This includes ab and oblique work.
If I can get to the point of playing 18 rounds while wearing three pounds on each hand, I’m sure I’ll shatter my previous push-up record.
Dumbbell and Resistance Cable Work
One thing I do want to add to my 12-week fitness challenge is doing more dumbbell work. I have 20-lb dumbbells that don’t get a lot of attention as of late. And now that I bought a new stability ball, it’s time to put in the effort.
For this experiment, I’ll do Swiss ball dumbbell flys and kickbacks. One will help with chest development while the other focuses on triceps.
As for the resistance cables, I have mine set to 45 pounds. And there is a slew of exercises you can do with these rubber tubes. For example, I could try to do some reverse flies with them to work on my triceps and back.
Not that I’ll need much back work to break a push-up record.
And finally, losing weight will contribute to the number of reps I can crank out doing push-ups. This is because there is less weight for the arms and chest to adapt to.
Granted, the difference in pounds is more of a percentage of the total weight lost. This is because of the angle you are at when doing a push-up…you’re not supporting your entire weight when laying at an angle that is less than 20 degrees.
But, every pound counts. Even a single pound could mean the difference in one more push-up counted towards setting a new record.
In reality, losing weight will help you set a lot of personal bests. The less you weigh, the less your muscles have to work to move your body. It makes most exercises easier to handle while helping you define muscle mass.
Let’s See What Happens Over the Next Week
I’m not sure how much of a difference 7 days will make for setting a new push-up record. But as I am tracking all of my exercises for the 12-week fitness challenge, I’ll be able to see how other workouts contribute.
It’ll be interesting to observe how much of an impact this all makes and whether it’s something I’ll have to monitor for longer than a week.