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Pushups.

I love pushups. 

 

Why? 

 

Because they’re the perfect no bullshit, no excuse exercise. 

 

You don’t need a gym, you don’t need any equipment, you just need a burning desire to improve yourself. 

 

You can do them in a small messy room, you can do them travelling, you can do them in a park. 

 

Barring having some arm injury, there’s literally nothing stopping you from doing pushups. 

 

In fact, let’s make this practical – I challenge you to get down on the ground and do one singular pushup right now. 

 

DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER UNTIL YOU’VE DONE ONE PUSHUP. 

 

Done? 

 

See how easy that was? 

 

You’ve just taken one important step to gaining strength, improving your confidence and unleashing your masculinity. 

 

Check out Convict Conditioning (go to YouTube and search “convict conditioning perfect pushup”)

 

My twist:

 

I’m probably not the first guy to invent this but I’ve never really heard anyone else talk about it – which is to add a hold at the end of your pushup. I’ll explain. 

 

One problem with pushups is they’re rather binary: you can either do one or you can’t. 

 

It’s not like lifting weights where you can switch to a lower weight and keep going once you get tired. 

 

I’ll share a quick story: 

 

When I was 16 I was visiting a friend in Montreal. He was a year older than me and I’d always looked up to him. In the year or so since he’d moved away he’d started putting on some muscle, and as a chubby kid, I was fucking jealous. 

 

He had a chinup bar in his basement, I looked at that thing like it was the holy grail – the answer to all my problems!

 

There was only one problem: I couldn’t do a single chinup. Not one. 

 

He could easily pump out 5 or 6 (which back then felt like equivalent that he could run a triple iron man…ah being kids), and there I was, flailing and struggling to even lift myself up an inch. 

 

I was embarrassed. 

 

Why was exercise so difficult for me! I wasn’t built for this. 

 

But there was something in me that said “don’t care, figure it out”. 

 

And so I asked myself “okay, well what CAN I do?”. 

 

And I realised that I could jump up to the top of the chinup position and hold. 

 

At first only for a few seconds. Then I’d go again: 5 seconds. And again: 10 seconds. And again…eventually holding for up to 30 seconds. Then again and again and again. 

 

And within a few days – I was able to do a single chinup.

 

(The joys of being 16 when your muscles grow so fast…). 

 

And I kept going. 

 

And by the end of my week stay – I was able to do 3 chinups. 

 

Is 3 chinups a lot? Hell no. But is it a lot more than zero? Hell yes. 

 

And I learned a few valuable lessons here:

 

First, that even if you can’t do an exercise today, practice and resilience will get you there.

 

And second, that holding a position allows you to build strength, even when you’re not strong enough to complete one rep of the exercise. 

 

So how does this apply to pushups?

 

Let’s say you’ve hit your limit – whether that’s 5, 10, 25 or 50 pushups – you hit a point where you can’t do any more – but your muscles – your arms, your chest, your abs – still have more juice in them. 

 

The hold is designed to squeeeeeeze all that remaining juice out. 

 

After doing a set of pushups, I hold in the down position for 30 seconds (or as long as I can). 

 

Imagine doing a regular pushup, but when you go down to the down position, you just stay and hold instead of coming right up. 

 

Now you may feel an intense burn. Sometimes I’ll do 5-10 seconds in the deepest position, the slowly start rising up as my arms and chest start to give up, effectively ending in a straight arm plank. 

 

Heck – if holding in the down position is too tough for you right now, start in the straight arm plank and start building up some of that shoulder, chest and ab strength. 

 

Remember: I don’t care where you start, I just care that you put in the work and don’t bullshit yourself. 

 

Get it,

-Arthur

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