Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pushups, Squats, and Situps

Stand up straight and slowly bend your knees. To keep your back straight up and down, you will probably have to lift your heels. I had to do that when I started because my ankles were not flexible enough. Jujitsu great and author of Happy Body, Jerzy Gregorek was interviewed by Tim Ferriss and talked about ankle flexion and squats, and that's how squats got into my routine.  My ankles now bend enough that I can get my butt to my heels while keeping my heels on the floor.

Once your butt gets to your ankles (or the floor), stand back up quickly. I count to ten on the way down because I'm resisting gravity, but letting it take me, and this makes the standing up more powerful. Repeat this three times so you've done four squats, but don't stand back up at the last one.  Instead, bounce, stretching your thighs and butt, and helping those ankles become more flexible.  I bounce sixteen times, going up and then back down about two inches.  It's a thigh workout all by itself.  After that, don't stand up.

Instead of standing up, put your hands flat on the ground in front of you.  You might need to catch your breath after the bouncing. When you're ready, see if you can kick your legs out straight behind you into a pushup position.  Now you can slowly (count to ten again) bring your chest down to the floor, and then push back up quickly.  Again, repeat this three times but don't push back up after resisting to the lower position the last (fourth) time.  Bounce (sixteen times is what I do) using your upper arms and pectorals, just an inch or two.  I used to not have any noticeable pectoral muscles but now I can do that weird thing from that movie.  Bonus points for identifying it.

From the upper pushup position, bring your knees to the floor and then, keeping your hands flat on the floor and in the same place, push your butt backwards over your calves, and down toward your ankles.  Your arms will be sticking out in front of you and stretching out your shoulders and your back. Push your hands into the ground to increase their grip and pull away from them to enhance the stretch.  When you're satisfied with that stretch, roll over and sit with your legs straight out in front of you and feel your hamstrings stretch.

Slowly (count to ten again), lay back down, resisting gravity with your stomach muscles.  Once your back is on the floor, raise your legs up vertical, together, and be careful not to hurt your lower back.  Once they are straight up, lower them slowly (yes, to ten again) until you're laying flat on your back.  Finally, thrust your arms forward and sit up again into that position where you can feel your hamstrings stretch.  Restart this paragraph three more times, and then, instead of thrusting your arms out to sit up again after the fourth one, just lift your feet and shoulders (and as much of your back as you can) off the ground and bounce, sixteen times again.  It's exhausting and it will eventually give you abs of steel.  At least that's what I tell myself :-).

Now you've done four squats, four pushups, and four sit ups, incorporating "super slow strength training".  I do that routine four times just about every day after I walk and before I meditate.  It takes me about ten minutes.

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