After finishing up my max squat jump challenge, I wanted to bring it back to something that worked arms, shoulders, chest. Something that was hard, and wouldn’t have a rate limit.
Pushups are always a good candidate for an upper body workout, but I didn’t want to plain vanilla pushups. I started Googling around and found these so-called “Azetc” pushups. They kind of remind of me jackknife dives so I’m adding that to the name.
They are freaking hard! It requires explosiveness, like a really aggressive clapping pushup. But it also requires quads, hip flexors and abs to pull your legs in to touch your toes. In the video, you can see how after a while, I need to take a breather even in a one minute scenario.
They’re also pretty fun. I’m looking forward to seeing how many I can do at the end of the month. I personally feel that finger pushups are also high up on the list, but I’m willing to call these Aztec Pushups at least ONE OF the hardest pushups out there.
It turns out the Guinness Book of World Records for Aztec pushups was recently broken by a University of St Francis student, from 20 to 31. I feel like I could get pretty close to that if I’m diligent with my training. Let’s see…
As another month closes out, I’ve got the results from my May Fitness Challenge, which was max pull-ups. At the beginning of May, I completed 20 pull-ups. As per usual, I did my normal workout routine which includes a mix of running, interval workouts and heavy lifting.
In addition, I also started adding sets of pullups. Here’s the breakdown:
In retrospect, I should have ramped up sooner to 13/14 sets so my last week I could have been doing sets of 16. I think that could have put me over the edge and finished 30, but who knows. In any case, I’m pretty happy with the 40% improvement, especially when I watched the tape and realized I undercounted by one at the moment of the trial.
It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me on the Monthly Fitness Challenges. As you might remember, I’ve been setting these personal challenges for myself where I test myself on a particular activity, train for about month and then re-test myself. It’s a fun way to stay fit.
Well, my goal was to train for the flagpole. If you don’t know what a flagpole is, it’s where you grip an upright pole and pull yourself horizontal. It requires a lot of core strength + alternate bicep/tricep strength (depending on what side you push/pull on).
So my Fitness Challenge for February was max handstand pushups. I did 19 in my initial test and throughout the month I’ve been doing handstand pushups at the end my regular workouts. Started with 3 sets of 10, ended the month with 3 sets of 15. My goal was 30.
Well, I ended up doing 25. Not quite what I was hopping for, but still a ~30% improvement. In retrospect, I could gone a little bit harder in training, and warmed up a little bit more the day of, before my attempt.
My March challenge is the mile. I remember sucking at the mile in high school, and when I started running back in 2010, my first mile was around 12 mins. I’ll post my video attempt of that soon…
I asked you guys in my max sit-ups finale whether I should go with burpees or handstand pushups next. When all the votes were tallied, I heard more for handstand pushups so that’s what I went with.
Calling my first round “pretrained” is a bit of a misnomer. I did lots of handstand pushups as a nationally competitive gymnast, and even did a few while on stage at the Palms in Las Vegas singing Brown Eyed Girl with my buddy Ryan Hupfer.
But regardless, the point of these challenges is to see how much I can improve over the next month. I did 19 ast my start, and my goal is 30. I’d love to have you train along. There are a couple handstand pushup tutorials on Youtube you can check out.
Jason Shen is a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Smithsonian. He cofounded Ridejoy, a Y Combinator backed ride-sharing startup and his work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Outside Magazine, Lifehacker and more.
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