Pushups and Backpacks

About six weeks ago, I made a decision that would be a nightmare for almost any male between the age of twelve and eighty: I nixed bench pressing from my training program. "Why" you ask? There are multiple reasons, but the primary reason being that I've had a pissed off shoulder for quite some time now, and benching (even correctly) certainly isn't going to help my situation. As such, here are just a couple of the things I've ensured to include in my programming:

  • LOTS of horizontal pulling, on top of other various exercises to make sure I'm hammering the external rotators, horizontal abductors, scapular depressors and scapular retractors. My guess is that, over time, via awful lifting technique throughout high school+college, benching too much, and not giving my shoulder enough tender love and care, my glenohumeral joint (where the upper arm bone connects to the shoulder joint) has shifted superiorly into the subacromial space. Basically, this = pain.
  • Made the Pushup my primary "horizontal push" exercise.

For any of you who have read my writing before, you know that I (and the entire SAPT staff) LOVE pushups. However, as the pushup is now my PRIMARY pressing movement, and no longer my accessory lift, I've had to become more creative on how to load it enough in order to achieve the strength stimulus I'm looking for. I don't have a weight vest, and I don't always have a training partner with me who can pile weights on my back.

That's where the backpack comes in. I realized that, conveniently, I have quite a large backpack I use for hiking trips. However, why settle for it being a unitasker? I've already used it for HICT, so why not fill it with some sandbags for some loaded pushups?

In the video below, I'm putting two sandbags (one is 60lbs, and the other is 45lbs) in the pack for a total of 105lbs added resistance. This is the first time I've tried the backpack, so I didn't want to risk falling on my face or having the bag slider over my head.

It ended up working way better than I thought, and I'm really excited to continue to experiment with loading it. Adding band resistance is certainly a viable way to load your pushups (as shown in the pushup article linked above) but I don't like to use it too often due to the eccentric stress it places on my elbows. Also, with the backpack, you have consistent loading throughout the entire movement (whereas the band resistance changes throughout the course of the exercise).

Anyway, for those of you who don't have a weight vest, this may be an option for loading your pushups. The sandbags I'm using in the video were purchased at home depot for just a few bucks, so they're way cheaper than weight plates for those of you who work out at home.

-Stevo