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pushup problems posted: Tue 2012-01-31 13:36:06 tags: fitness
Martin Cohen's The Marine Corps 3X Fitness Program describes 3 tests used to assess Corpsmembers' fitness: running, ab crunches, and pull ups (not push ups). Minimum male running performance in my age range is 3.0 miles in 30 minutes, i.e. 6mph; 45 crunches in 2 minutes; and 3 pull-ups or 15 seconds flexed-arm hang.

My best running session to date is 3.3mi at 5.5mph, and a sustainable 6mph pace seems inevitable. I did 30 or 35 crunches before coffee this morning; probably not with good form, and I took a good breather after the first 20, but again, Marine-grade fitness is foreseeable by that measure too.

The pull-up is a kind of oddball test, in that you need a bar to perform it. Who has a chinning bar handy? The Army and Navy use push-ups instead, which is good enough for me. So let's figure on Army standard, 30 push-ups in 2 minutes (vs. Navy, 24 in 2m).

Great except for 1 thing: despite 2 months since I started upper-body work, I still can't really do a proper push-up. No matter how I position my hands, it hurts my wrists. The middle of the motion isn't all that hard, I can bounce around in a restricted middle range of motion quite a bit, but at the top and the bottom of the motion I feel like I'm endangering my carpals. And as someone who lives by the keyboard I can't afford to endanger my carpals.

The push-up primarily engages the pecs, and secondarily the triceps and deltoids. These are the very same muscles engaged by the Cybex chest press. In theory, if I can chest-press close to my body weight, I should likewise be able to do a comparable number of push-ups. In practice, after 2 months I'm only just breaking into the 90# weight level on that machine, about half my body weight. Knee push-ups don't really make it any easier.