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Episode 235: Brain Pushups, Part 2, Band Stabilizations

Video Highlights

- Adding bands to the brain pushup matrix
- Turning pushups into a full body stabilization drill
- Multiple variations that you can use to target your weak areas

Today, we’re talking about novelty, making push-ups more interesting, part two.

Again, you want a band. In our last video, we talked about novelty and how important it is to the brain and we said, you know what, so many different ways to induce novelty in training so we talked about a push-up matrix last time and looked at three different things that we can change and working on push-ups to make them again more interesting and often more challenging both to the brain and body.

The first thing we looked at where hand positions, so we said, you know what, we can do push-ups here, we can do them here, we can do them here or here, all right, so just basic hand positions and obviously, intermixing them is another level of complexity, really makes the brain pay attention.

Part two then was different hand positions in terms of where they are in relationship to the body, so if you were to imagine that you’re in a push-up position, you have a compass directly underneath your chest, you now have different hand positions that you can use to make the push-up much more challenging.

Obviously, we have 10 different variations that we can use there and we can also combine that with different hand positions.

I may go, okay, I’m going to be doing a push-up with my left hand internally rotated and neutral, my right hand is going to be back here, fingers facing the floor and that becomes my push-up position. Part one, change the hands. Part two, change the arm position, and then part three is change the movement path. As we talked about, whenever we do push-ups, very often, our brains use the simplest path possible, which is like a piston, down on the floor, back away.

If you’re doing on the wall, to the wall, back away. Now, what we know about brains is that often, brains are more challenged by more complicated movement paths. In the last video, we also said, hey we can do circular style push-ups. We can do half circle push-ups, so again, thinking about ways to complicate the hand position, the arm position or the movement path are fantastic variants that you can add in to increase the novelty stimulus from push-ups and then also the challenge from them.

Now, this week what we’re going to do is we’re going to add in some different requirements by using bands. What you can see, I’m going to go down to the floor and I’ve already attached a couple different bands to different anchor points. Now, very easy to conceptualize here but what we’re doing is looking at basic matrices. In other words, what are easy ways to think about this? When it comes to bands, three primary things that you can use them for. You can use the band on one or both arms, if you can do both, two bands so I can band my arm, I can band into the wrist, I can band it with the shoulder. Another thing I can do with a band is put it around my waist. A third thing I can do is I can put a band around my legs.

Male and female athletes doing pushups

Now, what happens is when you add the band to different body parts, because it’s going to be pulling you basically toward the anchor point, the stabilization requirements are going to go up depending on where the band is and how much stretch you’ve applied to it so that’s going to increase the, again, movement coordination challenge for the brain. You would kind of conceptualize this almost like part three, a different movement path. Part four will be to now have bands to it and resist the bands and how they’re pulling you.

As an example, if I were to start off in kind of a standard push-up position, I could say, all right, I’m going to go ahead and band my close arm, move away until it’s actually quite a bit of stretch on the band. Now, I’ll set up for a standard push-up and do that simple push-up. Now, maybe I want to combine that with a different hand position. Now, pretty simple, pretty easy when the wrist is banded. If I then transition this up a little bit and now put the band higher on my arm, move away, get a little bit of stretch, now, as I start to go through my different push-ups, I’m getting a little bit more destabilization from the band because it’s closer to the trunk of my body. That’s going to again add some additional challenge to it.

Remember, we can band the arm, at wrist and shoulder. The next thing that we can do is we can add a band to the trunk. For this one, it’s a little bit weird because basically, you’re going to put this around your waist, move away from the band. Just for the camera’s sake, I’m trying to go back a little bit. Now, I’ll set up for my push-up again. Notice with my feet together and a fairly narrow push-up position, as I start to do this, the band is pulling me toward the anchor point, so it again offers me some additional novel stimulus in terms of what I need to do with my body, how I’m going to create stability. When you combine this again with different hand, arm, and motions of the push-up, it becomes a lot more interesting.

Your third option is to do the same thing for the legs. Now, with the legs, you can get the band up by the hip if you want to. I’m going to recommend that you actually start down at the ankle, so pretty simple. Place the band around the ankle. Again, move away until you’re getting quite a bit of stretch on the band. Set up, so now, as I’m doing my push-up, it’s giving me another level of control that I have to pay attention to. Most of us when we’re doing push-ups, we’re very focused on our arms, our shoulders, our chest, our spine adding in the band around the foot, the ankle or hip makes you much more aware of the whole body, so again, different ways to add novel stimulus, the simplest exercise known to man, which is the push-up.

As you start to think about how to implement this in your work, even if you’re doing work just on a wall, you can still actually use bands to provide yourself another unique stimulus in this particular exercise and I promise, if you just take four variants that we’ve given you and work through them systematically, this will give you months and months of different practices that you can do changing nothing other than hands, arm position, motions, and the addition of bands.

Give this a shot. Good luck with it.

If you have any questions, let us know.

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