This Push-Up Workout Always Ruins Me, and It Could Ruin You Too -

This Push-Up Workout Always Ruins Me, and It Could Ruin You Too

 This Push-Up Workout Always Ruins Me, and It Could Ruin You Too

Some months ago I decided I was going to use this “downtime” to get in better shape. Maybe not objectively in shape, but less soft and wheezy. This is about when I tripped across a push-up workout in an Instagram post by a mildly tattooed guy named Jacob Manning. He calls it “Building a Dog House.” I don’t know why it’s named that; doesn’t make much sense at all. But I tried it, and it kicked my ass. Because it kicked my ass, I’ve returned to it semi-regularly to gauge whether my quest to get less doughy and wheezy is progressing. It is, thank you for asking—but even as I get fitter, the Push-Up Ladder, which is what I call this workout in my brain, continues to kick my ass.

The workout involves two movements: the push-up and a kneeling reach straight up with both arms, shoulders high, biceps by your ears, then back down with elbows bent to 90 degrees like you’re doing a Cornholio impression. You assemble those into a laddered reps structure, like so:

1 pushup, 1 arm reach2 pushups, 2 arm reaches3 pushups, 3 arm reaches

…and so on, until you reach 10 push-ups and 10 arm reaches. That’s the top of the ladder—at which point you have to go back down, from 9 and 9, to 8 and 8, all the way to 1 and 1. In total, the Push-Up Ladder is 100 push-ups and 100 arm raises. Simple! And hellish.

See, written out like I did above, you’re deceived into thinking things are gonna be easy. Ten pushups, max? Ten is a small number! And the rest of the sets are smaller. Raising your arms to the sky like a third-grader who’s gotta pee? WATCH ME DO THAT 20 TIMES RIGHT NOW, EASY.

But then you try the Push-Up Ladder. And if you’re like me, it goes like this:

Rungs 1, 2, and 3: This is a joke, or I am The Rock. Probably I’m The Rock.

Rung 4: Huh, felt that one. Also, my shoulders sound like a pepper grinder.

Rung 5: [Grunt a bit on the fifth push-up]

Rung 6: Doing that heavy-aspiration gym breathing like I’m giving birth. I’m also resting 5-10 seconds between reps, too, rather than going directly from push-ups to raises to push-ups again.

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