Why would anyone want to do a pushup challenge in which you wind up “flying” in midair? Great question. We all have a “wild” streak in us, and for me, on of my biggest obsessions has been pushing myself harder physically. I’d imagine many of you reading this can probably relate, am I right?

I turn 46 this week, and I discovered the weightroom when I was 14, and it was love (obsession) at first bench press! I’ve worked out at least once a day, every day for over 30 years. So now, I try to keep things fresh by switching up my workouts often and trying to push myself in new ways so that I keep my body in an adaptive state and keep my mind from becoming numb to training.

This week’s @andywhatsnext challenge, for example, was the “finisher” for a bodyweight circuit that really tested my old-man strength Here’s what I did: 10 Rounds: 15 squats, 15 pushups, 20 situps, 10 pullups, run two minutes in between rounds. Then did this advanced push-ups challenge. Ugh.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Advanced Pushups: Toe-touchers to Supermans

KEY INSTRUCTIONS: As a heads up, Toe-Touchers to Supermans are very advanced variations of the classic pushup, and can be dangerous if not done correctly (and successfully). If you’re ready and crazy like me and want to try, the basic instructions are simple, even if the execution isn’t.

  • Toe-Touchers: from a strong push-position base, lower yourself, then explosively push yourself up off the floor, bringing your hands to your feet underneath your body and return them to your base position quickly enough to land safely and not smash any or your vital body parts on the ground…
  • Supermans: same basic instructions, except during the airborne moment, you extend your fingers and your feet to shape your body in a straight line, before returning them to your base position quickly enough to land safely.

WHERE YOU’LL FEEL IT: The explosive “leaping” muscles are mainly the upper body pushing groups (pectorals, triceps, deltoids), core muscles (abdominals, lumbar, obliques) and even your lower-body major movers (hip flexors, quads, glutes, and hamstrings). Your entire core/pillar is challenged, first by creating a strong pushup position, then by performing the explosive body movements in the air.

HOW TO BUILD UP TO THIS: Again, since these are advanced movements, a solid pushup base requires a strong core. You can build this type of strength with various plank exercises, hanging leg raises, and other core work. The pushing power required to generate enough force to launch your body off the floor can be developed with a variety of upper-body pushing exercises such as bench press, dumbbell work, and cable/band squeezing and rotating. I recommend a combination of resistance exercises — just because you build up to a 300-pound bench press doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to perform bodyweight challenges like this successfully — this is a total-body demand. Also, it bears pointing out that the heavier your body is, the stronger your pushing muscles must become!

That’s it. Enjoy responsibly and have fun beating yourself up! Let me know how it goes …!

Personal trainer Andy McDermott performing his escalator of death workout challenge

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