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Military Muscle: Power pushups

Jul. 5, 2012 - 02:37PM   |   Last Updated: Jul. 5, 2012 - 02:37PM  |  
Army Lt. Col. Keith Williams, 44, is the branch chief of adaptive reconditioning at the Warrior Transition Command.
Army Lt. Col. Keith Williams, 44, is the branch chief of adaptive reconditioning at the Warrior Transition Command. (Thomas Brown / Staff)
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You can use each of the following pushup workouts as a station in a circuit routine or you can link them up into a pushup-only circuit talk about arm pump.

Pushup line dance

A shout-out to Brett Pelfery, one of our trainers in Pensacola, Fla., who devised this routine. Brett uses this in a circuit consisting of 500-meter rows, pullups, box jumps and overhead walking lunges.

Put several medicine balls in a line they do not have to be the same size. Starting position is with the entire line of medicine balls to either your right or left. Minimum effort is one complete trip down the line. Never leave the pushup position until you have done the effort you have established. For ease of explanation, we'll start with the balls to the right:

1. Do a regular pushup.

2. Put your right hand on top of the first ball and do a pushup.

3. Move your left hand to the top of the ball, forming a diamond with your thumbs and forefingers and do a pushup.

4. Place your right hand on the floor but leave your left hand on the medicine ball and do a pushup.

5. Transition off the medicine ball so both hands are on the ground and do a regular pushup.

6. Repeat as you transition up, onto, over and off each ball until you complete the line.

Progressions are to "dance" back up the line, to pick up the pace or to explode up as you transition.

Going all the way

You will need two medicine balls and a physio ball a.k.a "yoga ball" for this workout. Target five reps for each pushup variation:

Regular pushups.

Left hand on top of the medicine ball.

Right hand on top of the medicine ball.

Both hands on a physio ball.

Rolled out over the physio ball in a decline position with your toes on the ball.

A hand on each medicine ball.

Diamond pushups on a medicine ball.

Finish with two reps of a 12/24. One rep is:

A slow six-count down to chest touching the floor, then a slow six-count up to full extension.

12 very rapid pushups for which you just flex the triceps.

Immediately start the next rep.

Progression is to take a couple of breaths and then reverse the process from 12/24 to regular pushups.

Bob Thomas is director of the Navy Wellness Center in Pensacola, Fla. Email him at">

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