Friday, April 4, 2008

Combination after Combination

Have you ever read my blog and wondered things like:

1. “how many pushups can Justin_P do? “
2. “How many pull-ups can Justin_P do? “
3. “How long can Justin_P hold a bridge?”

You might be surprised to learn that you’re not alone. I’m not certain either. I don’t usually do my maximum number of calisthenics in one set. I haven’t pushed myself to find out how long I can hold a bridge. It isn’t that I don’t want to test myself. It’s just that I have a different viewpoint on training.

I’m not unlike a lot of you who are cramped for exercise time. Making the most of the time that I have is paramount to me. Still, I want to be strong and in my quest for getting there, I often refrain from pushing myself to my max reps in exercise. Instead, I’ll do several exercises in lesser amounts rather than one huge set of max reps. I like to do this so that I can strengthen my muscles from several different angles. In between these smaller sets, I’ll do an exercise that works opposing muscles to what I’m working on. I’ve found that I can boost my overall strength better this way.

I do know the question to #2. I can do 21 pull-ups in one set. I didn’t get there by trying to do 21 each and every time I grab a bar. Instead, my arm routine looks something like this:

Close Grip Pull-up, 10-13 reps
Handstand Push-ups, 10-15 reps
Close Grip Chin-up, 10-13 reps
Triceps Pushups, feet elevated, 15-20 reps
Towel Pull-ups, 10-13 reps

Keep this in mind too: At the beginning of 2007, I could do 17 pull-ups at 157 lbs. Now, at 180 lbs, I’m doing 21! So, I’ve been able to gain on my pull-up count as I’ve added weight onto by body! My current best pull-up was 25 at 147 lbs! So, this approach has worked well for me. It might work well for you too. It combines the “Grease the Groove” approach to fitness with a multi-angle strengthening element.

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