Summer weather is very inspirational, isn’t it? Unlike winter, when I just want to snuggle in bed for as long as possible, I find that when the light hits my face early in the morning I want to get up and get moving. Since my husband and kids are still sleeping for a little while longer, I take 15-20 minutes to do the Pilates 5 exercise stomach series. And just lately, I‘ve added push-ups.
Despite my fitness background, I have always hated push-ups. HATED. I decided long ago that they weren’t for me, that my wrists were too weak and that it wasn’t worth the damage I might do to them. Then I started taking Yoga classes with Julie Gayer Kris (who incidentally is still teaching while 3rd trimester pregnant with her first child). Julie has taught me without directly saying so, that not only have I been a wuss, I’ve been approaching push-ups all wrong. I repeat that she did NOT say this directly.
It started with planks. Julie showed me that I was not using the strength of my legs, back and core enough, and instead collapsing too much of my weight into my wrists. Once I understood this, I could apply the same principle to push ups. When I feel discomfort in my wrists, I use the strength of my legs. I use my back, pulling the lats, or ‘wings’ together towards my spine. I pull my abdominal muscles up and in. I think of wrapping my gluteus muscles around to the back of my body.
If you have 20 minutes or so for yourself in the morning (or anytime during the day), try the Pilates, Planks and Push-Ups trio. For inspirational Yoga classes from Julie Gayer-Kris (at least until the end of July, when she is due) come to the 14th Street Y 9:30AM Friday mornings, or 7:45PM Monday evenings. Our complete fitness schedule is here.
At least while the summer lasts, I’ll be doing it too!
Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y.