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If you can’t do a push-up, is it still a push-up? And why do you care?


February 2014

Picture this in your mind… Or look in the mirror next time you do a push-up…

You’re (or you see someone) in the set position, arms in close but at an ungodly angle. Butt a foot higher than your head. You make, with the ground, something short of but close to, an isosceles triangle.

Ready… Set… Few more seconds, okay… Ready… Set.. Go. You bend at the elbows and lower your chest exactly one and one half-inch. You push and strain to reverse your momentum… Your face turns an unhealthy shade of red… Then purple… And boom, you lock your elbows. Now for number two! Rinse and repeat four more times.  I saw this just last night before my daughter’s swim class (older kids).

Now that, folks, ain’t a frickin’ push-up. I don’t care what the excuse is, it doesn’t matter.

If you’re running around claiming you can do fifty push-ups when you can really only do fifty 1-1/2″ chest drops, you have an honesty problem. The fact that someone else chuckles as you’re doing them is surely a little rude, but c’mon man! Get on your knees and do the easy ones till you’ve got the strength and form to do them right… or something!

Now, this isn’t to take away from those who are trying to improve, but for the love of God, try just a little honesty!

I am a fair cyclist. Above average speed but I probably won’t get to the next level because I’m not willing to put in the effort, nor do I have a desire to get used to feeling that uncomfortable when I ride.  A 22 mph (21.7 actual) Century on open roads is good enough!  I don’t want to work any harder to get faster.  Period.  The point is, I’m happy with how I ride.  What someone else thinks of my being happy is none of my business.

The same goes for any other of the cardio activities.  Running, cycling or swimming…and push-ups too. I read a post yesterday in which the author was “fuming” at the suggestion made by sub-four hour marathoners that a fifteen minute mile is not running, that the cutoff is 4 hours.  She had a point too.  Humorously enough, I think I’ve come down on both sides of the issue depending on my mood and the day.

First, this is why I love cycling. Buy the equipment ride in a straight line on the correct side of the road and you’re a cyclist.

There are exceptions to this of course… If your bike has platform pedals, you “ride a bike to stay/get fit”. If you ride a mountain bike exclusively you’re a “mountain biker”.  The exceptions are purely my opinion though, as is the whole sub-four hour marathon debate.  It’s all opinion.

I don’t think the debate is the problem though.  What gets people fired up is the arrogance.   The “it doesn’t matter” crowd is angry with the “sub-four (or eight minute mile) crowd’s arrogance – and they are arrogant.  Humorously enough, the “it doesn’t matter” crowd, if they’re honest, will see that their opinion that it shouldn’t matter can be just as arrogant.

This debate boils down to one simple concept: Whether or not it should be law that anyone who is chronically late set their watch/clocks 10 minutes fast.  A compelling case could be made; think of all of the tardiness that could be cured, instantly!

On the other hand you have the normal people who are regularly on time and point out that setting the clocks fast ten minutes is a step below selling snake oil.  The practice is silly.  After all, you still know that the clock is set ten minutes fast!  How easy are you to fool that you can look at the clock and not know this?

Who cares?

The reason I picked the clock analogy is quite simple.  Mrs. Bgddy has every clock in the whole house, and her car, set at different times.  The bedroom clock is seven minutes fast, the mini-van is set twelve minutes fast, the cable box is set at the proper time because you can’t adjust it, as is her phone.  I find the whole thing hilarious – and believe it or not, I still get caught by both the mini-van and bedroom clocks every once in a while.  Here’s the important part though:  I love my wife – the sun rises and sets on her.  Because I love her, I choose to see the humor in the whole clock thing.  I could choose to get angry, to take offense, but what would that solve?

My wife is set in her ways, allowing myself to be frustrated over something so trivial would only hurt me.  I must always remember that I chose my wife – all of her wonderfulness and all of her faults.  In fact, had it not been for her faults, she may have picked a better husband.  Think on that for a minute.  The trick is using the same thought process for others – because I didn’t choose them.

I must maintain my own honesty – and I honestly don’t care what the difference is between a runner and a jogger.  At least today I don’t – because being happy is more important that who thinks what about whom.

Several years ago, on the phone with a very good friend and mentor, I was complaining about my wife.  We had gotten in an argument and I left rather than lose my temper.  I was whining about what a pain in the ass she was and how she wasn’t being rational and so on…  He said, “Jimmy, sometimes you want to throw them like a dart but you just gotta love ’em”.  I started back in, “Yeah but…”  And he interrupted me, “You just gotta love ’em”.   I started in again, “but…”  “You just gotta love ’em”.

I finally get it Mike.

1 Comment

  1. Not sure why, but I have never been able to do push up or bench press very well or with any amount of weight. This is surprising when you look at my arms and chest.

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