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Fitness

Keep Pushing

Sharpen the press movement and you’ll be better prepared for a mission
Raphael Ruiz, owner of fitness company aXis, is a Tampa, FL–based trainer who has worked with special operations forces, Olympians and professional athletes. Photo by Chris Harrison; illustrations by Jason Lee
Raphael Ruiz, owner of fitness company aXis, is a Tampa, FL–based trainer who has worked with special operations forces, Olympians and professional athletes. Photo by Chris Harrison; illustrations by Jason Lee

On the battlefield, a Soldier must be able to push, thrust, strike, throw, hoist and smash if needed. But these skills aren’t merely a result of a maxed-out push-up score or a record-setting bench press. Soldiers develop these skills by learning to press or push weight from many angles, in multiple directions and in various planes of motion. You might need to lift something above your head, or keep an enemy at bay with one arm, or quickly rise from a low position. 

This workout, the second in our five-part series concentrating on specific movements needed for maximum readiness, focuses on the push movement. These exercises train that movement by working on muscle and dexterity in your arms, core, back and legs.

REVERSE WALL CLIMBS

Start in a standard push-up position with your feet butted up against a sturdy wall and your midsection tight. Steadily walk your feet up and your hands toward the wall into a controllable handstand position. Once you’re vertical against the wall, start walking back down to the start position. Perform four to six reps; rest for one minute, then repeat for three sets.

SHOULDER PRESS TO SQUAT CATCH

Begin with your left leg raised in a high-knee step-up position while holding a pair of dumbbells at the shoulders. Steadily press the dumbbells overhead while maintaining good posture. After full extension is reached, bring them back down to the shoulders. Transition into a squat—dissipating the downward force by keeping your hips steady. Be conservative when choosing a starting weight, around 15 to 20 pounds. While alternating legs, try to get four to six reps on each leg. Rest for one minute, then repeat for three sets.

ELEVATED PUSH-UP TO REACH

Return to the push-up position and place one hand on a dumbbell that’s resting on the floor, causing the shoulder to be slightly elevated. Lower into a push-up while keeping your weight equally distributed between your hands. When you complete the push-up and your arms are fully extended, pull the dumbbell upward and press it to the sky. Keep your body straight and your hips raised. Start conservatively with a 10- to 15-pound dumbbell and perform four to six reps on each hand; rest for one minute, then repeat for three sets.

Warning: Always seek the advice and guidance of a qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have before commencing a fitness program. This article should not be relied on or substituted for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. The exercises presented are for suggestion only. Participate at your own risk. Stop if you feel faint or short of breath.

Raphael Ruiz, owner of fitness company aXis, is a Tampa, FL–based trainer who has worked with special operations forces, Olympians and professional athletes including Deion Sanders, Gary Sheffield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Click here to read the first article in the series. 


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