Monday, 27 June 2011

Target: 100 push ups and more

I have set myself three small targets for the next few months: 100 consecutive push ups, 250 consecutive sit ups and 250 consecutive squats.  This is a big step up from my usual circuit training in the park!  I am expecting the strength gains to help my running, through improved injury resistance, better form and stamina.

The key to progress is:
  • regular sessions
  • enough rest between sessions
  • increasing the load at each session
  • tracking.
Tracking is easy with three simple Android apps from Rittr Labs, simply titled Push Ups, Sit Ups and Squats.  To start using the push up app, for example, simply determine how many consecutive push ups you can complete and enter the number into the app.  The app gives good guidance on how to execute a push up correctly.
You are then set for regular practice.  The app prompts you to do a session of, say five sets of 8 push ups (the number will depend on how many you can do now).  You tap when you have completed each set and the app counts down a rest period of 60-90 seconds, depending on the level.  At the end of the five sets you simply enter whether the session was too easy, just right or too hard and your next session will be adjusted accordingly.

All you have to do is take enough rest between sessions (every other day is recommended, with longer between sessions if necessary).

I have been using these three apps for a few weeks now and I'm makin gradual progress towards my targets.  Note that I am fitting all this around a busy travelling schedule and a lot of walking and running, so I often choose to skip the squats to avoid completely overloading my legs.

My last successfully completed sessions were:
- 60 push ups.  Five sets of approx 12 push ups each.
- 144 sit ups.  Six sets of approx 24 sit ups each.
- 237 squats.  Eight sets of approx 30 squats each.

I'm finding the push ups hard, having hit a plateau for the past fortnight that I just can't get past, but sit ups and squats are progressing well.  The squats leave me pretty wobbly and I'm guessing the app will start ramping up the number of squats per set and decreasing the number of sets, now that I am close to the target number.

These small apps make a big difference because they accurately track progress and increase the load, much better than trying to keep it all in your head.  And you can choose your target (for push ups it can be 50, 75, 100 or 125).

These are great little apps from Rittr Labs.  I like them for their simplicity.  There is no sharing your progess on Facebook, no complex setup and no difficult to master exercises.  Just good, basic strength training.