Carpet Slide Push-Ups (with reach)

How-To, Motion

A pair of carpet slides is an essential tool for every home gym.

Carpet slides add a new training dimension to a boat load of exercises. Slides can be used with exercises like reverse lunges, lateral lunges, crawling drills, hamstring curls, core work, and in this particular case, push-ups.

Probably best of all, they’re incredibly economical at $2-$7 for a pack of 3-4 sliders.  How?  The carpet slides marketed for fitness purposes are dangerously close in design and functionality to the furniture sliders available at your local home improvement store.

In the past, carpet slides have received the most attention when incorporated with lower body training.  Think hamstring curls and reverse lunges.

But carpet slides are extremely useful for upper body training also.  Using slides to introduce new variations of push-ups can be refreshing, and brutally challenging.

Carpet slide push-up variations are amazingly challenging.  Not everyone is ready for the coveted single arm push-up, and for those of you that are, maybe you’re looking for a new variation.  Something you can integrate into a work capacity circuit or load up with a weight vest and grind it out.

This is it.

Progression-wise, the carpet slide push-up w/ reach exists somewhere between a traditional two-arm push-up and full-blown single arm push-ups.

Some (not all) of the load is from the moving hand does take on some loading during the exercise, although this can be limited by the exercisee.

Exercise Technique…

 

screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-8-17-59-am

  •  Begin in the top position of a push-up, hands centered on top of the sliders.
  •  Slowly lower yourself to the floor, hugging sliding the non-working arm out in front of your body.
  •  Keep the elbow of the working arm pulled into side body
  •  Pause briefly at the bottom, working elbow at 90 degrees.
  •  Press up and repeat on the other side, alternate for scheduled reps.

Workout Integration…

  •  Rep range:  6-12 reps per side with bodyweight, beyond than add more weight.
  •  Load:  Bodyweight until 12 reps are achieved, then add weight.
  •  Sets:  This depends on goals, 3-5 sets is plenty.
  •  Tempo:  Slow it down on the descent to the bottom, 3-5 seconds on the way down.
  •  Technique break down = rest

Where does this exercise belong?

The strategy of building fitness progressively from the ground up is awesome.  Your current fitness level and past training experience will determine how and where you place this exercise into a workout.

For some, this will be a strength training drill, you’ll need adequate rest after the set.  3 simple sets of 6-8 reps will leave you drained.  That is fine.  Beat on it for a few weeks, aim for improvement.  Expect to be sore through the chest and tender around the obliques in the coming days.

For others, the carpet slide push-up will provide a delightfully saucy challenge in a short burst metabolic training session.  I’ve worked it into a long circuit or kept it simple as part of a 3-exercise burner.

Here’s an example of where this exercise could live within a total body workout:

Alternating Split Squat Jumps x 8 each side

***Carpet Slide Push-Up (with forward reach) x 8 each side***

Airsquats x20 or Goblet Squats x8 (load up here)

Suspension Trainer Inverted Row x10 or 1-Arm Bent Rows x 8 each side

Own the exercise from top to bottom to top…

I have to admit I’ve seen several YouTube videos of carpet slide push-ups.  85-90% of the people in the videos are dropping into the bottom of the push-up too quickly.  More like falling into it.

Address the concept of OWNING the eccentric descent in this exercise.  Pause at the bottom, stay tighter than a pair of skinny jeans, contract and push up and out of it.

Again, slooooooowwww down, spend more time under tension and focus on remaining as rigid as possible.

At most, the descent into the bottom of the push-up should take 1-2 seconds, with NO bounce out of the bottom.  Pause at the bottom, hang out there.  Press out.  Strict.

Core training?  This is core training…

Without sounding like a physique zealot, because I’m not, this exercise provides an unbelievable stimulus to the core.  All without any bells and whistles, just basic rigid body position, technique, and gravity.

You won’t be able to execute as full extension carpet slide push-up without activating the torso aggressively.  It’s self-limiting.

To help make my point on how much core is involved with an exercise like this, drop down into a push-up position, raise one arm forward in full extension, while the other supports the body.

Stay in this position for time.  Just remain in that position without changing posture.

Too easy?  Inch the feet closer to together, narrow the base of support.  Any exercise can be made harder.

The challenge to the core during the carpet slide push-up with reach will be intense, felt from the hip flexors, through the torso, up to the collar-bone.

There will be a tremendous anti-rotation stimulus while supporting the body with one arm. Think about it for a second… the other half of the body wants to sag toward the floor (damn you gravity). Even with the sliding arm providing some assistance, your core will be lit up.

Maintaining a rigid body from head-to-heel is a must. Stay straight. Creating rigidity will require adequate tension through the mid-section.

Progression: Make it harder…

To increase the challenge, gradually lighten the hand contact of the sliding arm, which will lessen the amount of assistance from the sliding arm while increasing the load of the working arm.  Removing assistance from the sliding arm also drastically increases the amount anti-rotation stress as the exercise inches closer to a true single arm push-up.

Increasing the difficulty can be accomplished several ways, but the most honest approach would be to lessen the contact to just the fingertips.  Start with all five fingertips, progress to three fingers, two-fingers (thumb and pointer)… etc.

Before you know it, you’ll need a weight vest, at which point you’ll begin from the bottom rung of the progression once again, with palm firmly on the carpet slide.

Regression:  Make it easier…

To decrease the challenge, wrap a band around your torso and anchor the band to a point directly overhead.  The band will assist you during the hardest point of the exercise when you’ll need help the most.  For most, the hardest point will be the bottom of the push-up.

No carpet?  

Carpet slides work on hard surfaces also.  I’ve used them on hardwood and cement floors with great success.  Of course, this will limit the lifespan of the carpet slides, so if you’re going this route, purchase cheap slides at your local home improvement store.  A pack of carpet slides at Menard’s near me costs $2.99.  Cheap.

A suspension training set to the lowest possible height (without making contact with the floor) will also work.

The other option tools like the Ab DollyHAVYK Sliders, or a more budget friendly option like Core Coasters.  All have wheels which make them ideal tools for hard surfaces.  These options cost significantly more than the carpet slides, but you’ll find a plethora of uses for each, making them a worthy investment.

Early in the article, I suggestioned using furniture slides as a viable alternative to carpet slides designed for fitness.  There is a slight difference in my experience, being that fitness specific carpet slides typically have a much better integrity.  The manufacturers know that these are going to be used frequently, the design is more durable.

Here are some fitness carpet slides on Amazon.

No equipment at all?

Worst case scenario, I’ve done these push-ups without any tools period.  Doing so requires minimal weight on the sliding hand, but it works just the same.

User beware, going this route is intense.  There’s going to be way more friction on the floor  without a slide.  This is ok, just be aware that it might be too aggressive.

The end…

That’s all folks.  I’ve written too much already, way too much.

Give this baby a try.  Mix it in wherever you see fit.  Ask questions as you have them.

 

 

Kyle

 

 

 

Advertisements

My Hero: Gray Cook + Movement Pattern Stretching/Mobility

How-To, Injury Prevention

Gray Cook is an icon in the movement and physical therapy realm.

Quite honestly, he is one of my heroes and has been since I first pick up his book “Athletic Body in Balance”.

Gray sees things years before they are fully adopted by the mainstream.  His landmark body of work, The Functional Movement Screen is the best assessment system being used in gyms across the world.

Movement pattern training is here to stay, and will be the future of quality movement and performance for years to come.  It really is landmark work.

As I often mention on a couple of my Facebook pages related to personal growth and success, it is so important to submerge yourself into networks of people who make you feel uncomfortable.  This feeling of being uncomfortable often causes an acceleration in positive change in your own life.  It motivates a person to be better at what they do.  I feel this way whenever I read Gray Cook’s work.

I would say that a lot of professionals feel this when they read or watch Gray speak.  He is on another level when it comes to professionalism and pioneering methods for improving or assessing human movement.  He really is world-class.

Let’s get into it…

 

Mobility in the thoracic spine…

The thoracic spine needs mobility.  It needs mobility in all three planes of movement, and is often one of the main culprits for influencing poor movement.  When the T-Spine’s mobility is limited, other areas of the body begin to pick up the slack and move.  This is rarely a good thing.  Think low back pain here.  The lumbar spine (lower spine) begins to over-compensate due to the lack of mobility in the T-Spine.  Shoulder range of motion goes to hell and then everything snow balls.

Just like smoking increases your risk of lung cancer, inadequate mid-spine mobility increases your risk of injury.  It’s a slow death in a lot of cases.  It may not be a situation where injury happens over night, but rather a cascade of events that lead to the grand explosion.  Your body will inevitably reach it’s breaking point and then…  boom.  Injury.

Everyone could use a little more thoracic mobility it seems.  This is a generalized statement, but we often see more people will thoracic restrictions than we do people with adequate motion at the T-Spine.  Another generalization, but sitting is toxic to spine health, especially core activation and T-Spine mobility.  Keeping a crunched posture all day leaves does little for your movement quality.

Take a proactive approach to regaining some motion.  Your body will thank you for it.

 

A quick word about joints…

The joint by joint approach is still methodology that I follow.  I think that the thought process of acknowledging that some joints in the body need stability and some need mobility is genius.  Obviously, this is a simplification, but simple is effect.  Simple can get results because we are avoiding the ever common over-complication of things.

In my experience, when things get complicated, little to no action is typically taken.  But when things are clear-cut and made simple, there is little confusion as to what needs to get done to see results.  This is what the joint by joint approach means to me.  Simple and effective.

So, in my continual effort to avoid re-inventing the wheel, I give you an extremely valuable video of Gray Cook teaching and explaining the Brettzel and the Brettzel 2.0.  I always figure that if someone else can say it better than I can, all credit to that person.  Whatever gives my reading audience the greatest return is the route that I will take every single time.

Here are two fantastic movements for not just improving thoracic spine mobility, but movement pattern range of motion.

 

 

 

Watch the video a few times and follow along.  I can assure you that you will get something out of these drills should you be diligent about implementing them.

 

How Long Should a Workout Last?

How-To

I get this question a lot.

I am never entirely sure how to answer it because I am not ever entirely sure that the person asking the question even knows what they are asking.

That was a mouthful.

Do you know what I mean though?

A training session doesn’t have to carry a time limit.  However long it takes to get the work done is how long it will take for you to train for that particular day.

I had a question from a friend who read my most recent blog post where I stated, “eat clean and you won’t have to workout 6-8hrs per week”.  I meant that statement.  I will never deny that eating is the foundation of a body recomposition program.  What you put in your mouth determines what you look like, and too some extent, how much of what you put into your mouth.

If you eat like shit, you are going to look like shit.  Sorry, but that is the truth.  The truth hurts sometimes.

Now that I am off of my nutrition tangent, let’s get back to how long a workout should last.  I advocated a shorter workout duration daily because most people will either:

a)  Lose interest if the workouts take to much of their day.

b)  Don’t have the time (so they think) to commit 6-8 hours per week to physical activity.

c)  Waste less time spacing out in the gym.

The interesting thing about “b” is that somehow people can find 12-18hrs (or more) per week to plant their ass in front of the TV and watch ridiculous reality TV shows while eating toxic processed food.  It truly is the evolution of man (and women).

But, I can ask these people what is consuming so much of their time and they will fight to the bitter end to justify every second of that reality TV watching.  That is a tough battle for a trainer to be in my friends.  That is another situation where the truth needs to be told, and the truth often hurts.

So, I have managed to evade the title of this post until now…

How long should a workout last?

Well, in my opinion, it is dependent on the person, their goals and timeline, but I really think that 30-45min is the sweet spot.  My general training template calls for 60min exactly, but I still feel like that it too much for most people.  And by too much I mean that they will view that 60min as “too much” of a time commitment to get themselves fit and feeling better.

So, when I tell someone they can train hard for 30-45min 3-4 days per week, it is a lot more appetizing to them.

But, I always tell folks that if you are going to shoot for the 30min mark, you are going to be sacrificing some valuable components of a complete training program.  You see, training is about a lot more than just looking good.  It is completely possible to walk around at 5% body fat with ripped six-pack abs yet be completed unbalanced with chronic pain and a ticking time bomb for a massive training injury (I will touch on this in my book).  A lot of injuries are preventable with a proactive approach to life and more specifically training.

I believe this down to my core.

I know what I am up against.  People aren’t going to change, so sometimes it is necessary to meet in the middle.  I am willing to do that assuming a person is willing to put forth one hell of an effort in their training and in their eating.

It’s crazy.  Most of us walk the fine line between having a body we can be proud of and one that we are ashamed of, yet most choose to go the unhealthy route until it is too late.  The statistics don’t lie, we have never been as unhealthy as we are now.

Time for a change I suppose.

—->  Here is my real issue with devoting less time to the daily workout