It’s no secret that we throw in some super challenging exercises here at Wild Workouts and Wellness. And sometimes it’s daunting to be told to do an exercise that you can’t do yet. YET being the key word. Persistence and consistency are the keys to success when it comes to mastering an exercise, but here are some tricks to help you get a leg up (sometimes literally!) on our most challenging movements.
Let’s start right off with our most groan-inducing exercise. Is it intimidating to think about pulling yourself up and over the bar without any assistance? Me too! That’s why I break the pull-up into manageable pieces. Before I even think about using a band, I start by standing on a bench and hopping up to a flexed-arm position while pulling with my arms. And then I go right back down to the bench. It sounds simple, but try it for 45 seconds! Once you feel good about that, you can hop up to the bar and then lower yourself down slowly. These are called slow negative pull-ups and they are a great way to build strength. Once you have mastered the slow negative, you can add that band assistance and start to really pull with your arms. Use as many bands as you need at first! Eventually you will be able to rock a pull-up with just one band, then one thinner band and you get the idea. Remember – persistence and consistency are important. So when you see that pull-up in a workout, don’t shy away from it. Try one of these tricks and congratulate yourself for taking on the challenge
Push-ups are difficult for many of us. The first thing to be aware of is your form. Make sure your arms are not coming straight out from your shoulders at a 90* angle. This makes the exercise quite a bit more difficult. If you bring your elbows in to about a 45* angle, you will use your chest and shoulder muscles and will put a lot less unwanted pressure on your shoulder joints. Think of it this way: from a birds-eye view, you should look like an arrow at the bottom of your pushup, NOT a T.
Now that we have form established, let’s talk about those manageable pieces. An elevated position is a great place to start. The wall, the suspension straps, or a bench work well for this. Once you master this, you can go to a stepper with a few risers. Then a stepper with less risers. And keep going until you have reached the floor.
Another way to rock the pushups is with band assistance. Start with a purple band up high, then lower it, lower it, lower it until it’s at its lowest position on the wall and you are ready to go to a lighter band.
Going from your knees is also an option. But going from your knees to your toes with nothing in between can be a bit of a jump. So when you’re ready, lift one leg up and keep one knee down.
Finally, try the slow negatives just like I mentioned with the pullups. Lower yourself down as far as you can from your toes, THEN drop your knees and push up from there.
TAKE YOUR TIME.
Don’t think that you need to make a 5# jump in weight every single week. Pick a heavier weight, lift it until you feel like you can’t anymore and then go back to your lighter weight. If that’s 2 reps, awesome. If that’s 6 reps, awesome. If that’s 45 seconds, awesome. If we were all able to lift 5 pounds heavier every single week, we’d be chest pressing each other by now! Slow progress is still progress.
And those pushups and pullups? It might take some time to get to that full, unassisted version. And that is OKAY. It’s not a race!
A final note: By far my favorite thing about this gym is our community. I can say with confidence that the people surrounding you in a workout are encouraging and kind and they’re not thinking twice about you doing your pushups on the wall or jumping into your pull-up or going back to a lighter weight in your goblet squat. So if “gymtimidation” is something that gets to you from time to time, remember – you do YOU. Everyone is on a different journey with different goals. And hopefully these tips will get you one step closer to smashing yours!