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Echoceanic

Challenge #1: dipping my toe in the water

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Hi. So, I thought I'd see how this works and if it'll work for me. I do love lists. A little about me, I started exercising in May, slowly increasing in intensity and slowly trying to stick to a schedule. I have already seen some progress - I have gotten stronger and have seen some definition, and this is mainly my legs and my core, with some on my arms but not a lot. I'm doing this because I like feeling strong and I like being physically capable, being somewhat weak all my life both because of lifestyle and genetics. 

 

My long term goals are:

- Increase muscle mass without losing overall weight, or even better increasing overall weight a few kilos, ideally by 4 kilos at the least (but I try not to focus on it a lot because I don't want it to take over my life). This is sidetracked by the fact I know what I eat but I can't count calories because it makes me demotivated and I mainly eat home cooked meals with family, and our version of cooking is the definition of 'approximately';

- To be able to do a full push up (while resting on my toes), a full pull up and eventually maybe a handstand - basically I want to be able to lift my own body weight which is 46 kilos at this point;

- get through my flexibility hurdle and be able to keep my legs flat while my back is straight on a 90 degree angle (no I can't touch my toes either);

- generally feel stronger and have more energy, kick more ass, you know, the usual.

 

So, doing things slow, since I can always ramp things up, these are my quests:

 

1. Drink no less than 4 glasses of water a day - since I have a real problem with just not feeling thirsty and going the entire day with just one glass of water (this has been better since I started working out but of course I don't workout every single day);

2. Doing something active every day - this is something I have already tried to do but I want to be more consistent. It can be anything, so if I can't exercise due to the fact I need to not be wiped for the rest of the day, I can do something else. This definition of active includes the stretching routine I have.;

3. Graduating to, if not 3 x 10 reps, then 3 x 5 reps on my knee push ups (currently I can do only 10 total and not sure which one is more reasonable).  This turned into eccentric push ups after I had a talk with people here.

 

I keep all my tracking in my journal (it's kinda of a bullet journal setup because I have my to do list and an actual journal in there, complete with monthly overview and trackers) and I'll also post here. Not sure what my reward will be, but I am usually good at guilt tripping myself. :D  

Edited by Echocheanic
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Hi Echo,

I'm trying this place out as well!  Your goals look great.  It's awesome that you are already seeing results already, so keep it up. 

For water, I found it helpful to set alarms/reminders on my phone to go off periodically throughout the day to remind me to drink. 
I would have marks on my water bottle and would say that by a certain time, I should have consumed to that mark.

For pushups, just keep practicing. Do as many as you can in a minute, rest, and then do it again. 

And just doing any sort of activity, even if it's just a short walk or anything like that is a great way to get in shape. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Good luck!

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Welcome to the rebellion! Your goals look good. :) There's an app called Plant Nanny that a lot of people have used for tracking their water and I think it reminds you as well?

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17 hours ago, Echocheanic said:

 

3. Graduating to, if not 3 x 10 reps, then 3 x 5 reps on my knee push ups (currently I can do only 10 total and not sure which one is more reasonable).

 

 

3x5 is definitely the better progression if you can do 10 currently, vs trying 3x10. But you can always break it down even smaller, starting with 3x4 which would be 12 total and an increase of 2, then when you can do that more comfortably, go up to 3x5. 

 

Have you checked out the nerd fitness bodyweight or other exercise programs? 

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7 hours ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

Have you checked out the nerd fitness bodyweight or other exercise programs? 

 

Yup, the routine I have currently is a variation of the nerd fitness routine and several others I've found. I like to try stuff out and see what works and what doesn't. And thanks for the tip, I have a really hard time judging if I am doing the right amount of work when it comes to anything, so I either do less or kill myself working. :D

 

7 hours ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

Welcome to the rebellion! Your goals look good. :) There's an app called Plant Nanny that a lot of people have used for tracking their water and I think it reminds you as well?

 

Thanks, this place is fun ^_^. Yeah I know of the app but I rarely carry my phone with me. I wind up reminding myself by just putting an empty glass at my desk, and letting it stare me down. :D

 

18 hours ago, whereisdaniru said:

I'm trying this place out as well!  Your goals look great.  It's awesome that you are already seeing results already, so keep it up. 

 

Hi, I hope you're finding this place to be right for you.

I've always been the type to see quick subtle progress and then see it slow down. When I was in high school we did a gymnastics exercise - on the bar that has two bars at different heights, for gym class for 2 weeks (I had 3 gym classes a week) and just that alone did a lot. But if I stop exercising it goes away just as quickly. I'm not sure the other can see it, but I can.

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On 9/11/2017 at 2:12 PM, Echocheanic said:

1. Drink no less than 4 glasses of water a day - since I have a real problem with just not feeling thirsty and going the entire day with just one glass of water (this has been better since I started working out but of course I don't workout every single day);

2. Doing something active every day - this is something I have already try to do but I want to be more consistent. It can be anything, so if I can't exercise due to the fact I need to not be wiped for the rest of the day, I can do something else. This definition of active includes the stretching routine I have.;

3. Graduating to, if not 3 x 10 reps, then 3 x 5 reps on my knee push ups (currently I can do only 10 total and not sure which one is more reasonable).

 

 

 

Hi Echocheanic!  Welcome to the game!

 

Quest #1 is great.  Straight forward on what you want to be doing and how you'll generally do it.

 

Quest #2 I've seen a lot of people do pretty much this exact quest.  Most of them don't succeed.  The people who do succeed at it have something in common:  a tracking system that they have to look at every day.  Like a calendar on their bathroom wall, where they mark the days that the 'do something active.'  The people I've seen be most successful at this type of quest usually set it up such that they have to look at their tracking system in the evening, so that they can't even go to bed without first seeing whether or not they've done something active that day - and because they're still awake when they look at it, it gives them the opportunity to stop everything else right then and there and do something active so that they don't "miss" that day.

 

Quest #3 You need a plan of attack in this quest.  How are you going to go from what you can do now, to the 3x5 that you want to be able to do?  Here's a simple plan I've given to quite a few people over the years.  It might help you too:

 

On day one, do 3 sets of pushups.  Each set, only do 1 rep.  That's it.  Done with pushups for that day.

At your next workout, add one rep to the last set.

At the workout after that, add one rep to the second set.

Next time, one rep to the first set.

Repeat the cycle.  If you happen to succeed each time, your progress would look like this:

 

111

112

122

222

223

233

333

334

344

444

445

455

555   <--- 3x5!  Yay!

 

Now, in reality, you'll probably come to a day where you can't succeed at adding one of the reps that you're supposed to add.  That's okay.  You'll do what you can for that day, and try again for the same number of reps the next workout.

 

111

112

122

222

222 <--- couldn't get the 3rd rep on set 3

223 <--- repeated the attempt, got it!

233

233 <--- couldn't get 3rd rep on set 1

233 <--- still missed

333 <--- got it! Yay!

334

and so on.

 

 

And now, one more suggestion.  I'm not a fan of knee pushups.  I think there's a better option for progressing pushing strength.  One that simultaneously works the 'core' strength that's needed for eventually doing standard floor pushups in a way that knee pushups don't do, and that also helps develop good pushup form in a way that knee pushups don't do.  Please see my suggestion to @sgeek70 on this thread

                    However, if after reading that you still want to work on knee pushups instead, I will absolutely 100% support you and continue to do what I can to help you succeed at getting stronger with knee pushups. 

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Hazard said:

Quest #2 I've seen a lot of people do pretty much this exact quest.  Most of them don't succeed.  The people who do succeed at it have something in common:  a tracking system that they have to look at every day.  Like a calendar on their bathroom wall, where they mark the days that the 'do something active.'  The people I've seen be most successful at this type of quest usually set it up such that they have to look at their tracking system in the evening, so that they can't even go to bed without first seeing whether or not they've done something active that day - and because they're still awake when they look at it, it gives them the opportunity to stop everything else right then and there and do something active so that they don't "miss" that day.

 

I have a journal I track everything in - the time I get up the time I go to bed, the water I drink, what I did that day, basically everything except food (because I don't track that in the same manner, I just look at my monthly bills from grocery shopping and see what I need to change). I also have an exercise tracker there, and next to it I have what counts as exercise, so that covers your advice. I'm also happy to say I have only missed one day this month. :) I usually wind up seeing my trackers both in the morning, and whenever i need to flip to it as I remind myself. Sometimes the evening thing happens too.

 

18 hours ago, Hazard said:

Quest #3 You need a plan of attack in this quest.  How are you going to go from what you can do now, to the 3x5 that you want to be able to do?  Here's a simple plan I've given to quite a few people over the years.  It might help you too:

 

This is kinda what I had in mind but I was thinking of starting at 3x3 reps and building up, since I can now do 10 total in one set. It seemed like a way to get progress. I usually try and add what I can to my reps every exercise (sometimes going till I can't move sometimes stopping sooner, depending on the day).

As for knee push ups, I'm not a fan of them either. I have to support the weight on my knees and that messes with them (which is why I want to get it over with) by overexerting them, leading to bruises where I have a scar from falling down. I have tried incline push ups, but I have a problem finding a space that is both low enough to be challenging (but high enough that I can do) and at a spot where I can fit my height. I'm 172 cm (almost 5,8 I'm told) and in a tiny apartment with a lot of stuff in it. The only place where I can fit an incline push up is either at my desk, which is too tall to be challenging (I can do 30) and my bed, which doesn't work for obvious 'I can't actually get a good grip on a mattress' reasons, though the height is right. I don't have a chair that is that tall either (and my desk chair rolls around so not a good fit either). So I'm stuck with these until I can do a proper one. When I can do a proper push up I can progress in peace, because I do have floor space that can fit my height. :)

 

 

Thanks for the vote of confidence and the support, and I hope I answered everything.

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23 hours ago, Hazard said:

And now, one more suggestion.  I'm not a fan of knee pushups.  I think there's a better option for progressing pushing strength.  One that simultaneously works the 'core' strength that's needed for eventually doing standard floor pushups in a way that knee pushups don't do, and that also helps develop good pushup form in a way that knee pushups don't do.  Please see my suggestion to @sgeek70 on this thread

 

 

Huh, I always wondered why I couldn't get back to my toes.  I can do knee push-ups all day (well not really), but haven't been able to get back to the toes.  Thanks for having the push-up quest, so that I could learn this little fact and I'll switch to step push-ups.  When I was in the Army so many moons ago, they "helped" us get better at doing push-ups, by making us do them repeatedly throughout the day.  Drop and give me 20!   Good luck on your challenge Echocheanic.

 

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22 hours ago, Echocheanic said:

I have tried incline push ups, but I have a problem finding a space that is both low enough to be challenging (but high enough that I can do) and at a spot where I can fit my height. I'm 172 cm (almost 5,8 I'm told) and in a tiny apartment with a lot of stuff in it.

 

....

 

When I can do a proper push up I can progress in peace, because I do have floor space that can fit my height.

 

If you have the floor space for a standard floor pushup, then what you'd need for inclines is something portable (multiple things of different heights, ideally, but even one thing that allows you to work at an incline would be helpful) that you can set on the floor and place your hands on.  If you can find/get a stool or anything sturdy (be creative :)) then it's possible you might be able to place the item(s) there to do the incline pushups, an then move them and store them somewhere when not exercising. 

 

If you can't think of any item(s) that could work in your situation, and feel like knee pushups are your only choice right now, then what you can do to work on your 'core' and begin preparing it for being able to perform standard pushups, along with working on holding good pushup form, is to include planks in your exercise routine. 

 

Gw3bOWs0zvGCL2wL5zg2hC0PsekkBxJc031k4Exz

 

The standard plank is a static hold of the pushup start position.  By having both an upper body push exercise and the plank as an exercise, you can work much of the same musculature that's worked by progressive incline pushups.  It's a bit piecemeal and not quite as efficient as incline progressions, but it can work. 

 

When using planks for pushup progression, the main goal is to be able to hold the plank solidly for 30-45 seconds.  (After around 45 sec, planks have a sharp drop in diminishing returns for strength development, becoming quickly less of a strength exercise and more an exercise in pain tolerance).

 

 

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15 hours ago, Hazard said:

If you can't think of any item(s) that could work in your situation, and feel like knee pushups are your only choice right now, then what you can do to work on your 'core' and begin preparing it for being able to perform standard pushups, along with working on holding good pushup form, is to include planks in your exercise routine. 

 

 

I already do planks. Have been doing them on my elbows and lower hands at first, and now I do the standard like on the photo. I am up to 30 seconds without my legs shaking. That is actually how I got most of my core strength (and the squats with weight I do because apparently I have really strong legs). As for items, I have been trying to find a chair that is wide enough to fit my hands and the right height but nothing so far it's either too shaky (I can hear it squeak or it actually rattles under me) or too squishy (my hands dip in it) or too high. The other thing I can use is at a work desk height, and I don't feel like it's doing anything.

Usually what happens when I try and do a normal push up is one of two things:

1. I start by dropping down, can't drop down low enough - so i only go half way and my arms can't take my weight, and wind up instinctively dropping my knees down because I either don't want to fall on my glasses or (if I am not wearing them) my vision is fuzzy.

2. I start by lifting up but I wind up not lifting my butt off the ground. If I do my hands shake. I usually feel most of the burn in my hands and my back when doing push ups.

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14 hours ago, Echocheanic said:

 

Usually what happens when I try and do a normal push up is one of two things:

1. I start by dropping down, can't drop down low enough - so i only go half way and my arms can't take my weight, and wind up instinctively dropping my knees down because I either don't want to fall on my glasses or (if I am not wearing them) my vision is fuzzy.

2. I start by lifting up but I wind up not lifting my butt off the ground. If I do my hands shake. I usually feel most of the burn in my hands and my back when doing push ups.

 

If someone goes from plank to inclined push up this means a person is actually skipping the step of training the eccentric only part of the movement as a progression. 

 

This might be hard for me to explain, but I'm actually going through this right now with a different exercise. I'm supposed to be doing sliding leg curls by I'm not strong enough for it yet, we tried a few modifications and I just can't do it. But now what he has me doing is working on strengthening the eccentric only portion of the movement and when I get strong in that, progressing to doing the regular movement. So i put my feet up on the sliding discs or roller near my body, raise my butt, and very very slowly slide my legs down, focusing on contracting core, glutes, and hamstrings. Then starting back at the top without having to pull my feel back up butt elevated. This is something that you can also do for things like push ups and pull ups.

 

You can start by working on slowly training the eccentric portion (easier portion) of the movement. So for a pull up this would be working on just trying to hang assissted or slowly lower from hanging for a period of weeks/months before you actually try to pull yourself up. 

 

You can also do this with push-up. You don't have to lower down all the way. Just work on training the part of the motion that you CAN do and work on increasing the distance you can lower down slowly over time. 


I hope that makes sense. You can google "eccentric push up" for examples.


Here's a quote that explains further:

 

Quote


Once the athlete has shown proficiency in the static High Plank position, we begin to challenge it by adding dynamic movement. Most novice trainees experience the greatest difficulty maintaining posture during the ascension from the bottom back to the top of the Push-Up, thus we use the Eccentric-Only Push-Up to develop upper-body strength and incrementally challenge posture and stability without overloading it to a breaking point.

Additionally, because the athlete does not perform the concentric phase during the Eccentric-Only Push-Up, they must reset to their High Plank every single rep. Thus, 3×5 of the Eccentric-Only Push-Up forces the athlete to properly position and align themselves fifteen times, without having to explicitly dedicate time to working on the High Plank.
 

 

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4 hours ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

I hope that makes sense. You can google "eccentric push up" for examples.

 

 

Yeah that makes sense. It's not that I lack the strength to hold up my body, I lack the strength to move my entire body from that position at once. It makes sense to exercise the movement now that I know that it is a thing people do. In that case I can even change goal from knee push up to making one push up that is a full movement. The one thing that confused me is in the quote actually. What does it mean resetting to High Plank every single rep? Don't you wind up in a High Plank position after every push up anyway, or do they mean holding it?

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6 minutes ago, Echocheanic said:

 

Yeah that makes sense. It's not that I lack the strength to hold up my body, I lack the strength to move my entire body from that position at once. It makes sense to exercise the movement now that I know that it is a thing people do. In that case I can even change goal from knee push up to making one push up that is a full movement. The one thing that confused me is in the quote actually. What does it mean resetting to High Plank every single rep? Don't you wind up in a High Plank position after every push up anyway, or do they mean holding it?

 

They just mean that rather than pushing yourself back up from the bottom, you reset yourself to the top of the push up like you would if it was your first rep. 

 

You can see in this video that once he gets to the bottom he sits back on his knees to re-start. 

 

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1 minute ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

They just mean that rather than pushing yourself back up from the bottom, you reset yourself to the top of the push up like you would if it was your first rep

 

Aaah, so basically what happens to me but voluntary. Okay I get it now. Thanks for the help, push ups are the hardest part of my exercise routine and dammit I don't want to feel like a noodle when I can't do them. :D 

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4 minutes ago, Echocheanic said:

 

Aaah, so basically what happens to me but voluntary. Okay I get it now. Thanks for the help, push ups are the hardest part of my exercise routine and dammit I don't want to feel like a noodle when I can't do them. :D 

 

Yup! The trick is he is going slow to help strengthen those muscles. It's called "time under tension" increase the amount of time you are using a muscle works it harder. 

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5 minutes ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

It's called "time under tension"

 

Got it, go as slow as you can and as low as you can. I think I'll start this tomorrow and see how many I can do of these, and change my goal accordingly.

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Okay so I managed to do 12 before my body would not do the form well enough so I stopped. I did them in 1 set-ish (I stopped to talk to someone) and the plank after that was far harder. Warming up with 10 inclines seems to help with the form too. I found out that when I go super slowly (though I need to work on not holding my breath while doing this) I can actually go lower than I thought I could. :D 

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27 minutes ago, Echocheanic said:

Okay so I managed to do 12 before my body would not do the form well enough so I stopped. I did them in 1 set-ish (I stopped to talk to someone) and the plank after that was far harder. Warming up with 10 inclines seems to help with the form too. I found out that when I go super slowly (though I need to work on not holding my breath while doing this) I can actually go lower than I thought I could. :D 

 

That's phenomenal! We are usually stronger than we think we are. ;) 

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UPDATE #1:

 

It's 5:30 pm. So far:

 

- 3 glasses of water, so I have room to drink at least another one today.

- today's something active was not really a set exercise - I instead lugged around shopping, a full jug of water, and helped carry a really heavy can of gas up 5 flight of stairs (the other one helping is quite a bit weaker then me so they were mostly just steadying it because it's really tough to carry that thing up stairs that steep). It was pretty rough, considering I fell asleep right after it :D

- today (since I worked out yesterday) and since I did the things above, I stuck with stretching. I tried to figure out how to do my long term stretching goal and figured out I can't put my legs straight with my back straight even if I lift them up. So I need to figure it out. Starting with the push ups tomorrow.

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20 hours ago, Echocheanic said:

 

- today's something active was not really a set exercise - I instead lugged around shopping, a full jug of water, and helped carry a really heavy can of gas up 5 flight of stairs (the other one helping is quite a bit weaker then me so they were mostly just steadying it because it's really tough to carry that thing up stairs that steep). It was pretty rough, considering I fell asleep right after it :D

 

that sounds like a great workout! Why were you carrying gas up 5 flights of stairs though? :excitement:

 

20 hours ago, Echocheanic said:

- today (since I worked out yesterday) and since I did the things above, I stuck with stretching. I tried to figure out how to do my long term stretching goal and figured out I can't put my legs straight with my back straight even if I lift them up. So I need to figure it out. Starting with the push ups tomorrow.

 

what position is this? I'm having a hard time picturing it. 

I'm in the same boat as basically being as flexible as a wood board. 

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1 hour ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

that sounds like a great workout! Why were you carrying gas up 5 flights of stairs though? :excitement:

 

 

We use gas to cook (it's quite cheaper than the stove) so we need to buy it, drive it to the house and then carry it up. It's a big orange beast with a valve on it. This particular canister lasts 6 months so it's really heavy, I can carry the smaller one on my own - I think it's at my limit. Funny thing though, I live on the second floor, but there are five flights of stairs. :D Confuses the heck out of people and it's a good workout.

1 hour ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

what position is this? I'm having a hard time picturing it. 

 

It's basically the same position as you sitting in a chair, only with your legs stretched right in front of you on the bed. My knees bend no matter what I do.

 

1 hour ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

I'm in the same boat as basically being as flexible as a wood board. 

 

The thing is, I am mostly fine with my flexibility (especially in my upper body, though yeah it's gotten worse over time, but not too much) but stuff like what I described above and touching my toes are things I'm really bad at. 

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Just butting in to say thank you to @Taddea Zhaan for the push up knowledge! I'm going to start incorporating that as well. I have never been able to do a proper push up (with full range of motion) and I never felt like knee push ups were helping me - will try this out!

 

Congrats on your progress so far @Echocheanic! Keep it up!

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UPDATE #2:

 

3:45 pm, just got done exercising:

 

- 2 glasses of water so far, with a third coming up after I finish typing this (I drank 7 yesterday actually)  so doing well.

- did some jumping jacks and 10 inclines for a warm up, then did 2x5 eccentric push ups (my wrists started to hurt since I apparently put all my weight on the back of my hand instead of my whole palm so working on that), a 35 sec plank and stretched. I also discovered I suck at the the rest time between sets, I either sit too long or too little. I also spent about and hour and a half ish outside in the blazing heat at noon doing adult things and waiting in lines. That always exhausts me. That also solves the do something active today as well,  so yay! I have also been getting up early (my sleepy brain is far more stubborn than my awake brain) so that's awesome.

 

@dayzee84 they do help, a lot. I actually managed to make one push up today (not all the way down but about half way maybe a little lower) so this is working. And my knees don't hurt anymore. 

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hey! just wanted to pop in and say welcome, and also say: even though I've done a burgillion challenges I learned more about how to do push-ups reading your form than I knew before. So, thanks everyone. You really helped me out - push-ups are something I can't do really well and would like to do better!

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5 hours ago, karinajean said:

hey! just wanted to pop in and say welcome, and also say: even though I've done a burgillion challenges I learned more about how to do push-ups reading your form than I knew before. So, thanks everyone. You really helped me out - push-ups are something I can't do really well and would like to do better!

 

Yay, glad I helped! We always have room to improve. 

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