Sunday, March 30, 2014

Exercise Progressions and Modifications: Push ups, Planks, and Dips


Venus Index workouts are tough, even for experienced, fit lifters. Here are some ideas for exercise modifications and the progression of difficulty for push ups, planks, and dips. These are the most common exercises that newbies need help with.

Push ups


Most girls who are new to working out, and even intermediate level fitness junkies- cannot do a regular push up from the floor on their toes. I would encourage you to not sub “girl push ups” from your knees in for regular push ups from your toes. The reason is that there is no progression to get you to the goal of toe push ups. What you should do instead is to start with your hands on the wall or a bench (depending on your strength) and work your way to the floor as you get stronger. When you finally transition to the floor, you may have to drop to the floor between push ups to gain strength in the full motion.



  • If you have access to an aerobics step and risers- it will help to ease your transition from high to low to floor.
  • Keep your butt down!
  • Hands should be shoulder width apart; focus on pushing through with your chest, back, and shoulders. It is not all arms.
  • Exhale as you rise up.

  • If you have wrist issues, it may help to grip dumbbells instead of flattening your hand out. They also have push up handles that work great. If push ups are out of the question due to RA or other wrist injuries, sub chest presses instead.

    Here is a video to illustrate-

    video
                                                                                     Original Music by Chris J

    Planks and Side Planks


    For planks and side planks, most cannot hold them the whole time from the get go. You just put you knee down and take a break then get right back into it. If you are on your hands, you can down into a downward dog to rest, then go right back into the plank.
    • Keep your butt down!
    •  It is okay to shake, but breathe! 
    • Elbows or hands are fine.
    • Suck your stomach in like you are zipping up tight jeans then flex your abs, tighten your quads and glutes.
    Elbows are better for anyone with wrist issues. You can also plank by gripping a dumbell which will help some wrist injuries. As you get stronger, you will be able to hold them longer. Also, as you gain strength be sure to alternate between elbows and hands each set.

    Here is a video to illustrate-

    video
                                                                                    Original Music by Chris J

    Dips

    On dips- to make them easier, pull your feet up toward your rear. As you get stronger, you can put them farther away to increase difficulty. Make sure your back stays close to the bench and your arms stay close to your sides.
    • Arms should brush your sides as you come down
    • Bench should sweep across your back as you up and down
    • Focus on pushing through with your triceps
    If you have prior shoulder or elbow injuries, try swapping dips out with overhead triceps extensions, french presses, or lying triceps extensions as you can lighten the weight significantly.

    Here is a video to illustrate-

    video

    Original Music by Chris J

    I had a "sneak peek" of one of these vids on Instagram (IG @mlgraham09) and the response was favorable. Do you like videos? Should I keep this up?

    X- Liss