It’s Day 3 of the Mykidstime 21 Day Health & Fitness Challenge! If you missed yesterday’s video, catch up with Day 2 here.
Our health and wellbeing expert, Fiona O’Donnell, explains what’s involved for Day 3 in the video below. We want you to tell us during the challenge how you are getting on so tag us on social using #mkt21days and we’ll give you some encouragement!
Mykidstime 21 Day Health & Fitness Challenge: Day 3 – Upper Body Strength
Today’s focus is on upper body strength. One of the areas that I find most women fall down on in their strength is on their upper body strength. I want to bring you a challenge today that’s going to start you off at the very bottom rung of the ladder in terms of building your upper body strength.
Women aren’t inclined to jump on the ground and do press ups straight away, because if you haven’t been working your upper body strength for long periods of time, you may not have the strength to do a press up. It can be uncomfortable on the elbows, uncomfortable on the shoulders and you might feel under pressure in your core.
So what we’re going to do is start on the bottom rung of the ladder today, and I’m going to also teach you how to progress this movement if doing a press up against the wall is far too easy for you.
The first step is just to get your positioning correct and to plan a series of attempts across your day. If I’m trying to build my upper body strength, if I don’t have time to go to the gym or if I’m thinking about how to integrate a movement into my day, I think about where I’m going to do the exercise. I think about what time I’m going to do the exercise, and I think about how many reps I’m going to go for.
In order for you to understand how many reps you’re going to go for – repetitions means how many times you’re going to do an exercise – you have to have a trial set first. There’s no point in me saying ‘do 10 reps’ if you get to three reps and your arms are shaking and you can’t do any more. So your first time doing this exercise is a voyage of discovery.
I want you to try to discover how many reps you can do in a row. Now I’m going to add to that by saying, if you’re able to do 10 to 12 reps and keep going, you should probably progress to the next level of the exercise to make it a little bit more difficult, because ultimately what we’re trying to do is build your strength and we’re not creating much of a challenge if you’re at 25 reps and you still feel you could do another 25! Today’s voyage of discovery is to get an understanding of how many reps you can do in a particular position.
When we want to do press ups against the wall, I put my hands against the wall at shoulder height and my feet are going to be positioned under my hips. I’m not at an angle, I’m standing straight up, but I’m standing at arm’s distance from the wall, hands in front of my shoulders – don’t have them up too high because you’ll be planting your face against your hands.
Have your hands at shoulder height, and from there you’re just going to allow the top of your chest to move towards the wall and let’s go. Don’t let your core sag towards the wall, keep your belly button pulled back towards your spine. If that’s uncomfortable in any way, you can change your hand position to a little bit wider. The wider you go, the more focus is on your chest muscles, the narrower you go the more focus is on your triceps or the muscles at the backs of your arms. Starting off nice and wide, just outside the width of your shoulders, is quite comfortable.
Starting off nice and easy, keeping the movement simple, is going to allow you to progress over the next number of days. If you find that too easy, you can try doing this exercise against your kitchen counter at home. Have your hands over the edge of the kitchen counter and bring your chest down towards your hands. You’re going to have your hands again at arm’s length, bring your legs back, standing up tall and then lower yourself towards the level of your hands on the kitchen counter.
If you have any questions throughout the Challenge, email Fiona or send her a message on Instagram, Facebook and use hashtag #mkt21days to let us know how you are getting on with the Challenge!