Pushups, Pull-ups and Dips

For Beginners


There’s no reason why a novice or deconditioned exerciser should attempt pushups (other than maybe, just for the fun of it to see where she stands as far as upper-body strength, but attempting pushups can cause shoulder injury in a deconditioned person), even though some trainers immediately start their female clients-including very heavy-set ones-on pushups.

Struggling with pushups can create a rotator cuff injury for an out-of-shape person, even men, including exercisers who are light-weight. It’s a myth that any thin person could do a pushup. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Secondly, there’s just no point if the individual can’t lower herself or himself at least three-quarters of the way with good form. A pushup is an inverted bench press. A good personal trainer recognizes that doing a bench press only half or one-quarter-way is worthless, because this limited range of motion won’t effectively work the chest muscles. If your personal trainer is making you do pushups, and you can’t even get down half way, you might want to question your trainer’s judgment. After all, you’re paying HIM (or HER), not the other way around.

In a bench press, the novice exerciser would adjust the barbell weight so that she could lower the bar all the way to her chest (without resting it on top) and push up again. This is also what a personal trainer would do with a client. An incomplete pushup is like an incomplete bench press. A person is better served when he or she first builds strength and joint conditioning with full-range-of-motion bench presses, dumbbell presses and seated chest presses. With proper training, an individual in time be ready to work on pushups.


Same rule applies! Shoulder injuries lurk just around the corner when the novice attempts pull-ups. The novice can better utilize his time on pull-over and lat pull-down apparatus. To develop sufficient strength for pull-ups, a person must train at about a 6-10 repetition max level, always striving to increase the weight (or reps if under eight) with each pull-over session. The wider the grip, the harder the lift.

Seated dips

This is another routine that beginners often attempt. Rather than fight through these, only to end up folded like an accordion due to lack of strength, it’s better for a person to develop triceps strength via other routines. Dips also recruit some chest muscles, and even a little shoulders. Novices who go all out with dips can end up with pulled chest muscles and injured shoulders.

For Intermediate Exercisers


If you can do a pushup three-quarters of the way, with correct form, it’s a good idea to pursue these. Pinpoint-form comes first. Doing 12 sloppy pushups, in which the back and hips sag, and shoulders protrude, is nowhere near as effective as doing three or four pushups with perfect form: body in solid alignment, from head to toe. This means there is no forward thrust of the head, in which the person’s nose touches the floor before the rest of the body. The cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae should be in a straight line, and this line should extend down the legs.


Pull-ups are just plain difficult, especially if a person is carrying extra weight. Nevertheless, it is a myth that a thin person should be able to do a pull-up. The reason, in general, why a person cannot do a pull-up is because he or she hasn’t been practicing them. But practice isn’t always enough, if a person is carrying extra body fat.

Pull-ups are always tempting, and are often attempted out of fun, to see how strong somebody is. But acquiring notable strength from lat pull-down machines–which are safer than hanging and struggling with pull-ups–will eventually get you up the pull-up bar. Additionally, a good shoulder routine is needed, since trying to pull your entire body weight up places considerable stress on shoulder joints. If you’re hell-bent on developing the ability to do pull-ups, you may want to consider indoor wall climbing once or twice a week. While you’re having fun doing this, you will be improving the strength in your ability to pull your body weight upward.

Gravitron or other assisted-pull-up machines are always a smart choice. The problem is that many women set the assistance too high, and end up bouncing or floating up and down. I’ve also seen men doing this. The assistance should be set just enough so that the person must struggle to get out 6-12 reps. Bouncing up and down like a puppet on strings for 25 reps will do very little for strength-building in the intermediate exerciser.


These guidelines for Gravitron use also apply to dips, though the intermediate exerciser may want to focus more on an 8-15 rep range. However, a woman or man with good base conditioning in her chest and shoulders, as well as acquired triceps strength, can safely pursuit seated dips at the challenging level.

Setting Resistance Training Goals

If you are looking to gain strength, the first thing you need to do it set goals. Not just any goals, but goals that are achievable and work. There are a number of things you would needs to look at. First, what are you going to achieve? Then, how are you going to achieve it?

The answer lies in the details. Forgetting one important detail could minimize your chances of ever accomplishing your goals. I will list 10 things that need to be a part of any strength training program. While some are more important than others, each has its own place in your program.

  1. Be reasonable. This should be the first thing you think about. There is no way you have lift 500 pounds in 2 weeks if you are only lifting 150 pounds now. You can’t gain strength that fast, not even with illegal supplements.
  2. Be diverse in your workouts. Your body is smarter than you might think. It will get accustom to your training patterns and you won’t gain any strength. Use different workouts than hit all of your muscles in different ways.
  3. Get lots of rest. Sleeping 8 hours a day will give your muscles a much needed break. You muscles grow when you are resting, not in the gym.
  4. Lift heavy weights. You need to be lifting weights that you can only get up 6 to 8 times. If you can lift it any more than that, you will be defeating the purpose of strength training.
  5. Watch your diet. Diet is half the battle. You need a diet that consist of low fat and lots of protein. Proteins builds muscle and without it, you can’t build strength either.
  6. Change the intensity. You need to sometimes shock you body into growth. You can’t do the same workouts, with the same intensity all the time. Switch it up to keep your body guessing. You don’t want to hit the “strength wall”, which is basically not getting any stronger because your body feels like it isn’t being challenged anymore.
  7. Don’t over train. You could risk causing an injury and that’s the last thing you need. The rule of thumb is to workout no more than 1 hour.
  8. Set both short-term and long-term goals. If your long-term goal is to bench press 400 pounds and you are only benching 200 now; what are you going to be doing in between? You need to set yourself up to reach 315 or 325. This will help you stay on track and keep the focus on you long-term goal.
  9. Always have a partner. This is a good rule of thumb with any workout plan but especially with strength training. You will be working with heavy weights and you muscle may give out on you in the heat of the moment. This is where you partner comes in to avoid something catastrophic form happening.
  10. Always warm up. You need to get your muscles ready for heavy lifting. Warming up your muscles prior to lifting will help you lift more in the gym, give you more endurance, and help avoid an injury.

Strength Training Nutrition

Nutrition plays an essential role in building lean muscle mass; therefore it is important to have the right type of diet and nutrition when you are performing a strength training routine, so that you can achieve the best results.

So what is the right nutrition to build muscle? Below are the 4 key elements of good strength training nutrition.


Carbohydrates are the energy source for strength training as they are stored as sugar in the muscles. This means that carbohydrates help to supply the energy for short periods of intense bursts of power (i.e. strength training). Therefore it is essential for strength training that the right amounts of carbohydrates are eaten.


Fats are am essential nutrient but should only be eaten in small amounts if you want to stay healthy, as too many fats can be bad for strength training and your overall health.


Those how are strength training need to eat more proteins then people who do not exercise, as protein is vital for the growth, development and repair of muscle tissue.


It is essential that fluids are replaced during strength training; however you should also be drinking at least 8 glasses of fluids everyday but more when you are training. It is important to drink fluids before, during and after strength training. The best fluid to drink is water however you can also drink sports drinks however these should not replace proper meals.

It is essential that when you are strength training you ensure that you eat carbohydrates and proteins after you have trained as this is vital to help fuel the growth and repair of your muscles.


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