Me aged 47
Over the next 18 months I plan to conduct a series of exercise tests to find out which are the best bodyweight exercises. For each test I will spend six weeks doing just the exercise I am testing at that particular time and shall not do any other training what so ever.
The purpose of these tests is to find out exactly what benefits each exercise offers when performed to a high intensity over a short period of time. Therefore, I will keep every other factor such as diet, sleep and rest days the same.
At the end of all 12 tests I hope to identify the 3 best bodyweight exercises for overall strength, muscular development and endurance building based on the results each exercise produces.
The first exercise up for testing is the press up which I will begin on March 23rd 2009. For this experiment I will do 500 press ups every other day consisting of 7 different types which are, standard press ups, elevated press ups, triceps press ups, hip press ups, Spiderman press ups, handstand press ups and elevated wall press ups.
Each set will be made up of 10 to 20 reps and will be done at a count of 6 seconds with 2 seconds allocated for the downward faze, a hold of two seconds at the bottom of the rep and two seconds to push back up to the starting position.
At the end of the six week trial I will judge the press up on any increases in strength, muscular development and endurance noted.
I will keep a training journal throughout the experiment and post a report on this page every week to say how things are going so please feel free to come back and read the reports regularly.
At the end of the trial I will post a full update on this page to report my findings on this exercise test which I hope will be of benefit to others when deciding on what to include in a training routine.
End of week one report on the press up test dated 30, 3, 2009.
The first week of press up testing has gone very well. I experienced muscle soreness in my chest, triceps and surprisingly my abs the day after the first 500 reps but the chest and triceps tenderness was to be expected as although I have always included press ups in my training routine I do not normally do anything like 500 reps.
The only real surprise so far has been the effect on my core muscles as I did not expect the area to be so tender because I always do advanced ab exercises such as dragon flags, full ab rollouts and hanging leg raises.
However, after the initial muscle soreness I have not had any adverse effects and felt stronger towards the end of the week as my body began to get used to the work load.
So far so good, I will put another exercise tests report up next week.
Second week of the press up report dated 6, 4, 2009.
I am in to the second week of my press up test now and I am flying through. The only down side is it takes a considerable amount of time to complete 500 press ups when they are done in sets of 10 to 20 reps at the slow speed required. However, I feel really strong in the movement now and after a days rest I am ready to go again no problem.
I have noticed that the high number of hip press ups I am doing has left me feeling really strong in the shoulders so I definitely think they help anyone trying to master planche press ups.
That’s all for now.
Another exercise tests report next week.
Third week of the press up report dated 13, 4, 2009.
This week has been pretty straight forward although I have noticed a little bit of weight loss and more upper body definition starting to appear.
The 500 press ups is getting easier to complete all the time and so I have increased the number of sets of the more difficult versions like elevated wall and triceps press ups.
As well as more definition the high number of reps is definitely increasing my muscular endurance so triathletes, boxers and military personnel to name just a few could benefit greatly from such a program.
That’s all for now.
Another exercise tests report next week.
Fourth week of the press up report dated 20, 4, 2009.
Another good week for my exercise tests has seen the improvement in my definition continue which is pleasantly surprising. I have increased the number of harder press up versions as I mentioned last week and all is fine except for some little elbow soreness which I will monitor for a few more days to see how things develop.
The Standard press up has become amazingly easy over the last few weeks and I am now at a point were I can do set after set effortlessly so anyone wanting muscle tone and endurance should get cracking with them.
More on exercise tests next week.
Fifth week of the press up report dated 30, 4, 2009.
I have nearly finished the 6 week press up test now and I have to say it has been a great way of improving not only my endurance but also my mental focus during training.
The simplicity of doing only one exercise has given me the chance to concentrate entirely on the feel of the press up without any of the distractions a complete workout has, so it is a great way to improve the mind muscle connection.
More on exercise tests next week.
The final report of the press up part of the exercise tests.
Sorry I took so long to put up the final report but my gym has been so busy that I just havnt had time to do anything else -well thats my excuse and I am sticking to it-
The whole press up experiment went very well, whilst it is true that the first couple of weeks were harder than I thought they would be, once my body adjusted to the work load it was both an enjoyable and rewarding experience that has made me an even bigger fan of the humble press up than I already was and taking in to account that I always had thought they were great that is saying something.
The conclusion I have made is that anyone who wants to build good upper body muscular endurance, develop great abs and improve their mind muscle connection should definately include all kinds of press ups in their workout routine.
I personnally noticed that the standard version is the best one for toning the abs and the advanced wall press up is the best for building overall upper body strength.
I also found I lost seven pounds of weight over the six week program and my body fat percentage is lower as a result. So for great upper body endurance,abs and fat loss get down to knocking out high numbers of press ups and you cant go wrong.
The next one up for inclusion in my exercise tests is the pull-up which I will start on July 23rd 2009. For this test I will do 200 pull-ups comprised of 20 sets of 10 reps every other day.
I plan to use the standard grip, rope grip, wide grip and narrow grip versions of the exercise and for the six weeks that I follow this plan I will do no other exercise.
Once again I will post weekly reports on my progress and will see how the pull-up compares to the press up at the end of the experiment.
End of week one of the pull up report Dated 31-07-2009.
Well the first week of the pull up part of my exercise tests is now complete and overall it has gone very well. I have not found it hard to do the 200 reps every other day and feel pumped and strong when they are finished.
The only down side is the slight soreness I have in my elbows but I think that has to be expected on such an extreme pull up program. It is undoubtedly a harder exercise than the press up and because you are lifting your entire bodyweight with just your arms unlike the press up it may prove to be a better upper body strength builder but having said that it does not work the core muscles anything like the press up does so only time will tell which one will prove to be better overall.
That’s all for now I will post another report next week.
End of week two pull up report Dated 10-8-2009.
Again the week of pull-ups has gone very well. I find doing so many reps taxing but also very enjoyable and another aspect of this experiment that I hadn’t considered before is the benefit of stretching the spine that hanging on to the bar for so long offers.
I am still feeling an immense sense of power when I have completed all the 20 sets that I do and I can see how this exercise alone would build amazing upper body strength.
I am still experiencing some soreness in my elbow joints and although it hasn’t got any better it hasn’t got any worse either so that is a plus. I can also say that the grip strength the rope pull-up develops is truly amazing.
Another report next week.
End of week three pull up report Dated 16-8-2009.
Well another week of the exercise tests is over and again it has gone great.
This week I have been concentrating more on the wide grip version of the exercise and although it does restrict the movement and will therefore not build the pulling power that the standard one does it is never the less a fantastic exercise for the lower lats that can really isolate them especially if you hold the position at the top and bottom of each rep.
On the down side I have noticed that the soreness in my elbows is feeling a bit more tender which I think has been caused by doing so many of the wide grip pull-ups that I have just been praising. What can you do?
More next week
End of week four pull up report Dated 23-8-2009.
I am now two thirds of the way through the pull-up part of my exercise tests and so far it has been both a rewarding and frustrating experience.
The rewarding part is the power I feel I have built up by sticking to a routine that concentrates solely on such an awesome exercise done with such intensity.
The frustrating part of this test is the soreness I have had in my elbows since the first few training sessions which hasn’t got any worse but is never the less annoying after awhile.
I am convinced that the standard press-up is a better all over upper body exercise because it does work the core far more but the pull-up does have some advantages such as the gripe strength it builds which is unsurpassed.
More from me next week.
End of week five pull up report Dated 01-9-2009.
Well another week is finished and the pull-up part of my exercise tests is now coming to its conclusion.
For the last several days I have been concentrating on narrow grip pull-ups as I find the close grip enables me to really build up the explosive pulling power needed to become a master of all types of this exercise.
With the results I achieved so far I have come to the conclusion that for building strength, power and endurance in the lats, biceps, forearms and grip there is no better exercise so I see the pull-up as a must do exercise for all those who are serious about becoming strong in those areas.
Is it better than the press-up? Read the final pull-up test report next week to see which one wins.
The conclusion of the pull up-test Dated 10-9-2009.
So the pull-up part of my exercise tests is over and what a great six weeks it has been. I have experienced some great highs when focusing on this exercise has left me feeling full of power and almost invincible. I have also had a few lows when the constant tenderness in my elbows caused by doing so many reps has been annoying to say the least.
Overall I have dramatically increased the power, strength and endurance of my lats, biceps, forearms and grip and for the muscles involved I can think of no better exercise.
Is it better than the Press-up?
I would have to say no simply because although both exercises work many upper body muscles the press-up is also very effective at working the core which is not the case with the pull-up. So if I could only do one of the two exercises it would be the press-up but having said that anyone who wants serious pulling power or the classical v shape lats should have the pull-up as their number one exercise.