Sunday, March 14, 2010

7 Weeks to 100 Pushups: Week 7

Welcome to the seventh week in my attempt to follow the workout in Steve Speirs's book 7 Weeks to 100 Pushups. This is actually the sixth week of the book's schedule, as you will remember that I repeated the third week. And just like last week, I've listed the workout schedule for each day, followed by what I actually did. (The "R" stands for Ruthless Golf.)

I was a little tired Monday -- not from pushups, but from aerobics. If you've checked out my Will Shakespeare blog, you may have seen a poem called "Sixty." It was written because our three-month long cold snap (the longest we've seen here in years) finally broke and we had a 60-degree day. Well, the warm weather has stayed all weekend and is predicted to last at least another week... so I went wild! I'm only walking right now, but the walks are fast and long, around three miles or so, and every day while the good weather lasts. So I get ready to do Monday's pushups and I see this:

M: 14 - 14 - 24 - 24 - 42+
R: 14 - 14 - 24 - 24 - 22

A one-day drop back to a 5-set workout, but with the number of pushups in each set drastically increased from last week. I did a total of 98 pushups, four more than last Monday (also a 5-set workout), but way less than the 115 pushups done in 7 sets on Friday. Still, 2 sets of 24, followed by a set of 22, isn't too shabby. I'm taking that as a success for the day.

But all was not fine in Pushup Land. My shoulder, which had been improving up till Monday, felt worse on Tuesday morning. This is the first time that's happened during this program, so it got my attention right away. I chalked this up to the increased number of reps per set. It felt better on Wednesday, but it still didn't feel quite right... and then I got a look at the Wednesday workout:

W: 16 - 16 - 20 - 20 - 16 - 16 - 46+

Usually when the program has increased the number of sets, the reps in the beginning sets (as well as in the later sets) have been decreased. That didn't happen this week; and given how my shoulder felt, I decided to call an end to this experiment and just give you guys my evaluation of the program.

Overall, I give this program an A-. While I really like the simplicity of it and believe it can increase your strength very quickly, I wish the program wasn't so one-dimensional. There are advantages to this approach -- even with my sore shoulder, I was able to double the number of pushups I could do in one set and triple the overall number I did in the first workout. I think that's pretty impressive. In addition, the extra strength I developed seems to have helped my shoulder heal, as I have detailed in the previous weekly reports.

I think that I will probably try this program again, maybe next fall or winter, once the weather forces me to start working out inside again... and after my shoulder is completely healed. In the meantime, I'm going to switch to a more rounded program of exercises designed to help my shoulder finish healing while building strength a bit more slowly... and more outdoor aerobic activity, which I have been sorely (pardon the pun) missing this winter.

Because of its simplicity, I think this can be a good program for somebody who wants to try working out but has no experience and doesn't want to enroll in a gym. It's a good halfway point, and inexpensive too. Here's the info for ordering the book, if it sounds like something you might be interested in.
7 Weeks to 100 Push-ups, Steve Spiers, © 2009
ISBN 978-1-56975-707-9, $14 95
And no, I have no connection to the guy, nor do I make any money if you buy the book.

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