Friday, May 18, 2007


I read a recent Runners World article about Ceci St. Gemme, a mother of 6, assistant track coach, and master's runner herself. Regardless of her age, which I think is 46, she looks pretty good. If you go to Runners World and do a search for Ceci St. Gemme, it will bring up a video, where you can see a brief interview she gave for Runners World.

One thing I got from the article was her belief in core workouts (pilates, particularly the V sit) and pushups. Pushups, those age old miracle exercises, that seem to shape up everything (link with a lot of info). She said she actually went to the starting line of a race and did pushups before starting. The article did not say what the purpose of that was, but looking at her and looking at myself, I knew what the purpose for me would be: to get some more definition in my arms and shoulders I am lacking.

After I had my accident, while I was forced to sit around for months waiting for the ligaments and muscles to heal in my shoulder, back, and neck, I lost A LOT of strength fitness and muscle tone, and it seemed like no amount of weight training since then was getting it back. Some strength, yes, but truthfully not much shape or definition. I suppose once you reach 50 that muscle tone isn't as easy to bring back without some serious workouts.

This article, then, peaked my curiosity. I know Fe-Lady said she does pushups, and she has good looking arms, so I decided to at least make an attempt at starting pushups again. I don't have enough strength yet to do a traditional military pushup, but I can do a modified one (the bent knee version). Over the last 3 weeks, I have worked up from 10 at a time to 2 sets of 15 or 1 set of 20 at a time. I have been doing these a lot of days, along with pilates work for the abs. What I have noticed then is a definition in my shoulders and deltoids that I have been unable to achieve otherwise up to now, and while I definitely have a lot of work to do on the abs, I am seeing the slight possibility of maybe an 8 pack at sometime (I think I probably have 2 six packs right now!). I also see a change in overall physique, in that I am seeing a hint of the V shape I think I can get close to achieving (I will never have a small waist, but I definitely think I can trim inches off the torso).

Good core strength also helps with endurance and muscle fatigue in later stages of races so they say, and I am hoping at some point I can actually do the yoga plank pose without collapsing.

With my triathlon training schedule, I was starting to wonder when I would have time for any weight training, but I am thinking by building up on the pushups and practicing my pilates more, and getting better at the plank pose, I may be able to forego some of those weight sessions.


Fe-lady said...

Thanks for the compliment! I HAVE to do push-ups as I have a "skinny arm complex!" Ha! Sometimes I will do ten to 15 pushups before a swim in a tri if I haven't had the opportunity to warm up. At least it helps me psychologically....
You'll get there! The key is to be consistent! (Do as I say,not as I do!) :-)
I always love it that I can pound out 20 in a row (with semi-good form) and there are young airforce kids (male) who are struggling to get out the same amount....makes me feel strong!

Flo said...

Push-ups are one of my goals. I can now do 5 military push-ups in a row. I'm incredibly proud of that :) I have to work more on the core!! Maybe I'll work that into my focus for the next few weeks.

Phoenix said...

Look at Crossfit. They've got some great body weight based workouts on that sight.