Upper Body Update (week 12)

I can’t believe it has been three months since I started trying to strengthen my upper body. It has been so simple, just a few minutes of intense effort every day and the results have been worth it. I can do thirty pushups in a row! It is awesome knowing that I am in the best shape I have ever been in my life and I am only getting stronger.

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10 thoughts on “Upper Body Update (week 12)

  1. Amazing! I am waiting to see the “after” pictures. 30 pushups is a lot, particularly for a woman. I’m not being sexist here – you have less muscle mass and a different weight distribution. Well done and keep it up.

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  2. Ain’t results great? I’ve noticed that with any “body altering” program I’ve ever tried, there is, as your graphs seem to corroborate, usually a 2 – 6 week period of seemingly no change. Many people give up after 2 – 3 weeks of seeing no results, which is unfortunate, because they were probably just about to start seeing the fruits of their labor. Congratulations for pushing through until you started seeing some benefits.

    One warning from an old guy, though: People who bike a lot are subject to potential imbalances due to the forward-leaning posture they assume on the bike. Leaning on your arms statically engages the same muscles you are using to do push-ups, adding to the contraction and potential shortening of those muscles (pectorals). All this pushing and forward leaning on the arms tends to neglect the upper back and posterior shoulders. A youngster such as yourself will likely not notice anything except for a stiff neck and shoulders once in a while, but without compensation, you can end up as an older person (not “old”, just older than you are now) with postural issues, rotator cuff and other shoulder problems, and related unpleasantness such as headaches, etc.

    So, don’t stop doing pushups and planks, but if you don’t already, consider adding some pulling exercises to balance out your pushing. Pull-ups (if you thought push-ups were hard…) or rows (seated or bent-over), rear flys with dumbbells—anything that involves squeezing your shoulder blades together—to strengthen your back and posterior shoulders. When on your bike, notice and attempt to minimize (don’t go to unnatural contortions, though) rounding or hunching your shoulders. Also don’t neglect stretching your chest to prevent the rounded shoulders that may pull and put undue strain on your upper back. A good stretch I like to do is lying on my back on top of an exercise ball with arms out to the sides and just relax and let my head and arms hang down as far as possible. You can also do a similar stretch if you lay diagonally on a bed and let your head hang (gently!) off the corner with your arms out to the sides again (a bed with no foot board is required).

    FWIW.

    BTW, it is refreshing to see a blog that focuses on biking that doesn’t also focus on how terrible everyone is to cyclists. Good job maintaining a positive tone.

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    • Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to pass on all this helpful info! I definitely want to avoid shoulder and back problems so I will figure out how to include some pulling-type exercises. I do have an exercise ball so I will start using that to stretch out as you suggested.

      And as for maintaining a positive tone, it really is a tribute to the motorists around here. They make it easy. Other then a couple of issues with disgruntled and distracted drivers, people are overwhelmingly cautious around me and I have had so many people offer me a ride. (Which I politely refuse, of course :))

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