There’s Something About Push-Ups

By | January 26, 2012

I live and work with a group of people who are very conscious of their effect upon others. They work at being nonjudgmental, refraining from gossip, and accepting others’ thoughts and feelings. Yet there is one odd little item that stretches their tolerance.

It started to show itself couple of weeks ago: so-and-so has poor form, so-and-so has her butt way up in the air…looks like a slinky worm…does them too fast. A little regression into tittle-tattling and judging was one thing, but then I overheard an unabashed comparison: “You should see so-and-so’s push-ups—that’s the way they should be done.”

Was there a sacred way of push-ups inscribed on a stone tablet that I was not aware of? Were my comrades members of a secret exercise cult? Or maybe we were just genetically programmed to execute push-ups in a certain way and I didn’t get my full quota of chromosomes.

After contemplating the issue on a (very brief) meditative retreat, I came to realize that my partners were probably still under the spell of their school days sports coaches, who indoctrinated them in the right way—The American Way—to warm up. You know, God, mom, apple pie, and proper push-ups.

I’m happy to report that my friends have joined Push-Uppers Anonymous. They come home from meetings all aglow, talking about how addiction to conventional push-ups can cause repetitive motion injury and asymmetrical muscle development. And get this: a couple of them have gone cold turkey—they’ve sworn off of garden-variety level ground push-ups forever. One of them has the shakes pretty bad, but he says he’ll be alright as long as he doesn’t run into his old coach.

On our training runs, you’ll now see the crew doing push-ups on hillsides, straddling logs, one hand forward, a leg out to the side. And yes, even butts up in the air. I know; you wonder what this country’s coming to. I think we’re good as long as we still have mom’s apple pie.

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