The requisite characteristics of this push up were that it would have to look good aesthetically (i.e. others would want to do it too, or simply gawp in amazement at how good it looked), the design and form would enable me to do at least 3 sets of 20 whilst still having un-mussed hair and most importantly, it would enable a core strength that allowed me to run fast! My first experiment came with the frog push up: this is done whilst on your knees with your legs at a 90-degree angle. I also read somewhere that this is also known as a 'girl's push-up'. Ha! if only! I managed to get to 3 sets of 20 but still found the position a tad strenuous for my knees. So came my second attempt which was the body on the ball push-up. Coming up from a prone position on the ball made me feel nauseous, and was quickly abandoned. Next came the close-grip push-up. This follows a normal push-up, except your hands are close together directly under your shoulders. This is also supposed to be very good for the triceps. I couldn't do more than 5 of these at a time, so on to with the next.
This was the half-crow push-up. From the push up position, you have to bring your right knee forward, out to the side, touch your right elbow and then do the push-up! Clearly you do alternate legs. The main challenge here was in keeping the correct form, and after struggling with this for a bit, I moved on to the scorpion push-up. This involved getting into a push up position and raising your right leg behind you across your body towards the back of your left shoulder. All this, and simultaneously lowering your body down into the push-up. I managed to work up to 2 sets of 20, but I still have doubts whether my form was any good. By the way, I got these push-ups in a circuit workout from Jillian Michaels.
After all this it seemed as though my quest for the perfect push-up which had been fairly dismal, was doomed. Undoubtedly all these push-ups help in increasing core strength and various body parts, but in the end there is nothing more elegant and impressive than being able to do 20 normal push-ups correctly, with perfect form. An added bonus would be doing all this and then lifting your hands off the ground and clapping them together (plyo push-ups). However it is one thing seeing it illustrated by Adam Sandler, or reading about the technicalities of the deed in the 'Marine Corps Daily 16 Workouts: Marine Fitness for the Civilian Athlete', and it is quite another to try and do it yourself. The less said about this one, the better.
Therefore the 100 push-ups in 6 weeks challenge comes at a perfect moment: it offers the possibility of increasing core strength and acquiring good form. This then could be the definitive moment of discovering the essence of the perfect push-up. If anyone has already encountered the perfect push-up, let me know!