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40 push-ups = new stress test; discuss

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40 push-ups = new stress test; discuss

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Old 02-19-19, 08:01 AM
  #26  
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Winning the TDF is a pretty good stress test. Won't protect you from gunshot wounds or cancer though, if you're an American.
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Old 02-19-19, 11:04 PM
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Not a realistic or particularly useful test, and the researchers acknowledged possible flaws. Are the people who can do 40 pushups (per the test parameters) more likely to have good cardiac health, or are people with good cardiac health more likely to be able to do 40 pushups? Either way, don't do pushups on the chicken or the egg, whichever comes first.

For most people the arms get the least exercise of any body part. In a GCN video interview Alberto Contador joked that he never did arm exercises -- maybe he wasn't joking. But his technique of standing to pedal did involve some arm use. Even indolent people get a little core exercise for the back and abdomen just from normal moving, sitting and standing, etc. But some folks can go for years doing nothing more strenuous with their arms than lifting a phone or remote control. Yet if their jobs involve significant walking they'll have reasonable cardiac fitness. A better test for most people might be squats or lunges.

BTW, for folks with various upper body and arm injuries -- sternum, shoulders, elbows, wrists -- try push-offs leaning against a wall or countertop. Helps, especially for riding drop bars, and may help conditioning for full floor dip pushups.

That's what I did after a May injury (hit by a car, broken and dislocated shoulder). When I tried in August and later in the autumn to do full floor pushups it was too painful and felt like I was on the verge of re-injuring the shoulder. So I stuck with the push-offs for months. I was finally able to do full floor dip pushups starting last week. On my first try I did 3 sets of 5 without too much effort. I'm up to 5 sets of 5. So far, so good. I'm still a way off from the 3 or 4 sets of 10-15 pushups I was doing this time last year, and a long way off from the 4 or 5 sets of 20-25 pushups I could do in my teens and 20s.

And if push-offs feel like there's a risk of injury, do range of motion exercises including shadow boxing. The latter, including straight punches, hooks and uppercuts -- not fast or snapping, just moving the arms -- will help tone even badly atrophied muscles. After a 2001 wreck that broke my neck and back it took months before I could do more than a few range of motion exercises. And for years I could do only those arm range of motion exercises, including easy shadow boxing (again, without snapping punches or hitting a bag). But it helped with muscle tone and eased the gradual process toward being able to do full pushups again. But it takes time and patience to get results.

As a nurse and family caregiver I've seen the results of avoiding arm exercises and it's not pretty. Shoulders sag and become dislocated from the mere weight of the arms. They can't propel a manual wheelchair, and even have difficulty using a wheeled push walker or cane. While there are legitimate disabilities that can hinder or prevent some recovery, there's also a risk of *perceived* disabilities (discomfort or genuine pain, but not bone or cartilage damage) leading to real disabilities from neglect and atrophy.

My latest scans show I've experienced normal age related bone and cartilage loss but surprisingly little due to multiple injuries. The worst is the C2 from the 2001 injury. But the shoulder isn't as bad as it could have been. I'm very lucky in that regard, compared with some family who've suffered osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. I won't risk joint damage with heavy weight lifting and I do pushups and bicep exercises very slowly -- no jerking, snapping, no shortcut moves such as collapsing to the floor during a pushup, or shoving myself up suddenly -- conscious of any popping or grinding that signals joint stress rather than using muscles. It'll be interesting to see the results of my ortho followups later this year.
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Old 02-20-19, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Are the people who can do 40 pushups (per the test parameters) more likely to have good cardiac health, or are people with good cardiac health more likely to be able to do 40 pushups? Either way, don't do pushups on the chicken or the egg, whichever comes first.
Speaking of causation vs correlation, I heard about a guy who was told that fit people tend to live longer and get more dates, so he got in shape.
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Old 02-20-19, 08:28 AM
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Yeah, why don't they just have people walk up stairs. I'd think they'd get winded before their legs give out. Push ups? Terrible test.

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Not a realistic or particularly useful test, and the researchers acknowledged possible flaws. Are the people who can do 40 pushups (per the test parameters) more likely to have good cardiac health, or are people with good cardiac health more likely to be able to do 40 pushups? Either way, don't do pushups on the chicken or the egg, whichever comes first.

For most people the arms get the least exercise of any body part. In a GCN video interview Alberto Contador joked that he never did arm exercises -- maybe he wasn't joking. But his technique of standing to pedal did involve some arm use. Even indolent people get a little core exercise for the back and abdomen just from normal moving, sitting and standing, etc. But some folks can go for years doing nothing more strenuous with their arms than lifting a phone or remote control. Yet if their jobs involve significant walking they'll have reasonable cardiac fitness. A better test for most people might be squats or lunges.

BTW, for folks with various upper body and arm injuries -- sternum, shoulders, elbows, wrists -- try push-offs leaning against a wall or countertop. Helps, especially for riding drop bars, and may help conditioning for full floor dip pushups.

That's what I did after a May injury (hit by a car, broken and dislocated shoulder). When I tried in August and later in the autumn to do full floor pushups it was too painful and felt like I was on the verge of re-injuring the shoulder. So I stuck with the push-offs for months. I was finally able to do full floor dip pushups starting last week. On my first try I did 3 sets of 5 without too much effort. I'm up to 5 sets of 5. So far, so good. I'm still a way off from the 3 or 4 sets of 10-15 pushups I was doing this time last year, and a long way off from the 4 or 5 sets of 20-25 pushups I could do in my teens and 20s.

And if push-offs feel like there's a risk of injury, do range of motion exercises including shadow boxing. The latter, including straight punches, hooks and uppercuts -- not fast or snapping, just moving the arms -- will help tone even badly atrophied muscles. After a 2001 wreck that broke my neck and back it took months before I could do more than a few range of motion exercises. And for years I could do only those arm range of motion exercises, including easy shadow boxing (again, without snapping punches or hitting a bag). But it helped with muscle tone and eased the gradual process toward being able to do full pushups again. But it takes time and patience to get results.

As a nurse and family caregiver I've seen the results of avoiding arm exercises and it's not pretty. Shoulders sag and become dislocated from the mere weight of the arms. They can't propel a manual wheelchair, and even have difficulty using a wheeled push walker or cane. While there are legitimate disabilities that can hinder or prevent some recovery, there's also a risk of *perceived* disabilities (discomfort or genuine pain, but not bone or cartilage damage) leading to real disabilities from neglect and atrophy.

My latest scans show I've experienced normal age related bone and cartilage loss but surprisingly little due to multiple injuries. The worst is the C2 from the 2001 injury. But the shoulder isn't as bad as it could have been. I'm very lucky in that regard, compared with some family who've suffered osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. I won't risk joint damage with heavy weight lifting and I do pushups and bicep exercises very slowly -- no jerking, snapping, no shortcut moves such as collapsing to the floor during a pushup, or shoving myself up suddenly -- conscious of any popping or grinding that signals joint stress rather than using muscles. It'll be interesting to see the results of my ortho followups later this year.
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Old 02-20-19, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
This makes more sense. If you race too fast, you're not likely to go fully down and/or up.



I did the plan for a least 6 weeks, got up to about 60 and lost interest. Now many years later, I can do 25-30 depending on the day. Thanks to this thread, I'm going to ramp up the training so I can make the all important 40! I'm 58 years old.
I can do 20-25, but I only try once every few weeks. I think that's above average for my age (almost 60) but it would take 35-40 to be exceptional.

In fact, any adult doing over 40 pushups is above average and likely doing them on a regular basis. Or some other upper body exercise. That probably accounts for their better cardio-vascular health.
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Old 02-20-19, 08:51 AM
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Do "girl pushups" count? So many ways of cheating when doing that exercise. I used to see guys in PE class that would do hip thrusts instead of using their arms.

Complicating things is the fact that almost no one seems to agree just how far you're supposed to go down for it to count as a "real pushup".
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Old 02-20-19, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Yeah, why don't they just have people walk up stairs. I'd think they'd get winded before their legs give out. Push ups? Terrible test.
https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/he...72129aa012cdf3
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Old 02-20-19, 10:57 AM
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Righto. Problem with stairs instead of pushups is repeatablity in any environment. Stairs aren't all the same and there would have to be stairs, same count, same size, in every environment.

I go to the dentist for tooth cleaning a couple times a year. The office is on the 4th floor and there are outdoor stairs. So, one of my little fitness tests is to see if I can run the 4 floors, 2 steps at a time, and get to the top without starting to breathe hard. So far, so good.

Only 27 pushups again today. Upper body not as good as lower.
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Old 02-20-19, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post

I go to the dentist for tooth cleaning a couple times a year. The office is on the 4th floor and there are outdoor stairs. So, one of my little fitness tests is to see if I can run the 4 floors, 2 steps at a time, and get to the top without starting to breathe hard. So far, so good.
I'm not surprised that someone who climbs a lot on a bike wouldn't have much trouble climbing stairs. The two activities aren't dissimilar.
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Old 02-20-19, 11:21 AM
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Stairs are more like climbing a hill with no hands on flat pedals. I find they get me out of breath quicker and for a longer duration, than the same perceived effort on a bike, for whatever reason.
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Old 02-20-19, 11:33 AM
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Upper body strength is not an indication of good heart health (per the article). 40 pushups is nothing especially to those that have base strength already developed from lifting in the past (I'm one of them).
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Old 02-20-19, 11:45 AM
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I think just about any measure of cardiac performance could stratify people into high risk/low risk.

40 pushups in 30 seconds?
Running up 4 flights of stairs?
Cycling 10 miles in 30 minutes?
5 minute mile? 6 minute mile?

The firemen are an interesting group. I would think their average fitness is above average for the American population. But, still can be stratified into high risk and low risk individuals.
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Old 02-20-19, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Do "girl pushups" count? So many ways of cheating when doing that exercise. I used to see guys in PE class that would do hip thrusts instead of using their arms.

Complicating things is the fact that almost no one seems to agree just how far you're supposed to go down for it to count as a "real pushup".
Yup. My personal method has always been to dip until the chest touches the floor. But more recently some trainers say we should avoid any exercise that hyperextends a joint. Depending on physique, a full dip pushup touching the chest to floor can hyperextend the shoulder. I still do that, but much more slowly and gradually than I used to.

During military PT tests some of us developed tricks using momentum to exceed the minimum requirements, or to compete with each other. Once a baseline fitness is established it's relatively easier to get more reps by doing them as quickly as possible without losing form.

For pushups, the trick is to pretty much fall to the floor, with relatively little resistance on the dip. Save the muscles for pushing back up. Get a rhythm going, do it quickly, and it was possible to do more than 20 in a row easily. I think my personal best when I was a teenager and in my early 20s was 50 or so without a break. Form was good so the testers didn't object.

But for pullups the testers didn't like the trick I learned from some SEALs who did part of our training course. They would swing from the bar like a gymnast. If you were careful you could minimize the apparent swing yet still have enough momentum to assist on the pull back up. With that trick it was relatively easy to do 50 or more consecutive pullups without a break. But the testers caught on and made us lower ourselves more deliberately against resistance, rather than simply falling, and pause briefly at the bottom of the cycle before pulling up again. Slowing the cadence really cut back on the reps and it was hard to do 20-25 before the arms gave out.

Neither technique was "better," just different. But the speed pushup/pullup tricks were probably harder on the joints.
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Old 02-22-19, 07:42 AM
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This reminds me of some recent GCN shows where all the hosts were seeing how many push ups they can do. Apart from a couple of them it was pretty pathetic to watch. I spend large chunks of my day at work alone, so I usually do anywhere from 50-100 push ups a day (not all at once) and in my experience push ups are probably the easiest thing to increase in a short amount of time. If you can do ten, then by the following week you should be able to do 20 at once if you do them a few days a week.
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Old 02-23-19, 03:57 AM
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I'm doomed. Barely managed 1 PU before yesterday's leisurely 154.7 miles of riding.
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Old 02-23-19, 06:35 AM
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"DOOMED!"

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Old 02-23-19, 09:23 AM
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Good find. Recent too. Seems to make a ton more sense.
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Old 02-23-19, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Do "girl pushups" count?
Depends on how heavy the girl is. However, I recommend these:

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Old 02-23-19, 05:24 PM
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Instructors often put a slightly cupped hand, fingers extended, under the chest (not the belly). The trainee is to touch the top knuckle on that cupped hand. Thus, as commented above, the idea is to not hyperextend the shoulder joints, yet do complete pushups. The upper arm will be approximately level. Pullups are to be done with full range of motion, not like you see on TV.
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Old 02-23-19, 08:08 PM
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Wow how I have deteriorated. Test = Ten pushups and failed to complete day one with only two push-ups in last set. Motivated now. I guess I should repeat day one until I can successfully get the 5+ pushups in the last set. It's on now!
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Old 02-26-19, 06:47 PM
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I did 40 continuously but was way beyond the time limit.
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Old 02-26-19, 11:27 PM
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I was the queen of pull-ups back in the day when I was a skinny fast pitch softball pitcher. Push ups weren't half bad either. Now, I'm not even gonna try.
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Old 02-27-19, 02:01 AM
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Yup, getting back into pushup shape is harder than I'd expected. Last week I did a few sets of 5 each. This week I could do 10 the first set, then 7, then 5, then nothing... no burning or cramping muscles, just like paralysis... couldn't do another no matter how hard I tried. Flopped on the floor and had roll over to get up.

On the plus side I can do pushups again. After my shoulder break and dislocation last May it took months just to get most range of motion back, let alone any real strength.

I'm still not convinced any test involving arm or upper body strength is as useful a cardio fitness indicator as leg strength for most folks. Even among dedicated athletes, including dancers and skaters, there are far more sports requiring leg strength and relatively little arm use.
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Old 02-27-19, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I did 40 continuously but was way beyond the time limit.


I highly doubt that even 1% of the population of males could perform 40 continuous push ups. Maybe one in two could do 10 continuously.
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Old 02-27-19, 11:31 AM
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I hadn't done any in years, but I managed 20 last night while leaving some in the tank to not tax arms that haven't had much load bearing exercise in a while.

Seems like 20 reps is basically my default floor. In my teens I would do 20 reps regularly. During grad school I maxed out at about 65 following the 100 pushups training plan before losing interest. That was maybe a decade ago. Picking up cycling a year ago doesn't seem to have affected my pushup ability.

My dad turns 70 this year. Last year he decided to work toward 100 pushups, just by doing them whenever he felt like it througout a day, and he actually did. I forget what he started out being able to do, maybe 20-30.
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