"Fitness is a journey and we all start somewhere"
May 13, 2021 4:33 AM   Subscribe

If you can't do full push-ups, "just like with everything else in the world, you can build up!" Hampton from Hybrid Calisthenics shows you why and how you can progress from wall pushups to inclined push-ups to kneeling push-ups and then to full push-ups in an encouraging one-minute video. (Three-minute video with more detail, still photos.) "When we're doing these exercises, we're actually building strength. When we move on to a harder exercise, all we're doing is demonstrating and using our new strength." (found via Twitter)
posted by brainwane (49 comments total) 199 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is great and I think it's based on the book Convict Conditioning, which I've just started using per my doctor's recommendation. Warning: it really good out of it's way to glorify big, strong, manly muscles. But I like the training regimen a lot so far.
posted by ropeladder at 4:47 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


I saw this pop up on Reddit recently and immediately subscribed to his YouTube channel. Hampton takes an extremely wholesome approach to what is often a pretty toxic field.
posted by knapah at 5:51 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


This guy is so positive I can imagine myself starting a pushup journey... tomorrow
posted by Morpeth at 6:23 AM on May 13 [28 favorites]


I too just discovered Hampton (did my first 3 sets of wall pushups yesterday!) and have subscribed to his channel. He has such a great energy and vibe.
posted by swift at 6:55 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


...does he have a way to request a particular muscle group next? Say, the quads for someone who's recovering from a broken knee?

...uh...asking for a friend.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:30 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


I really, really like him. I might actually try to do a pushup. Someday.
posted by signal at 7:48 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


The pullup one is the one I need.
posted by thelonius at 7:52 AM on May 13 [9 favorites]


Oh damn this is super succinct and beautiful.
posted by egypturnash at 8:14 AM on May 13


I’m not sure I’ve ever done a proper push-up. If I don’t stick my elbows out at a crazy angle I simply can’t do it, and no gym teacher was ever able to explain what if anything I was doing wrong. I am definitely going to try this!
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:26 AM on May 13


If I don’t stick my elbows out at a crazy angle I simply can’t do it, and no gym teacher was ever able to explain what if anything I was doing wrong.

Yes how does he get his arms to bend that way?!?! Mine just...don't! I am going to have to dig into those still photos and see if I can't work it out.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:46 AM on May 13


I am excited about this! One summer I walked in a park every morning where they had pull up bars. I thought if I tried every day I would slowly get closer to a full pull up and eventually do one. Throughout the summer I did rep attempts every morning. I never got any better and wasn't even close to a pull up when I left. But workout culture seems miserable and I didn't want to get into it.

I have been doing push ups (with improper form, I'm sure) for years and recently had to stop due to a physical limitation. Excited to start again with wall push ups. This is so encouraging! I have always wanted to have strong(er) arms!!
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:48 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


This is great, thank you for introducing me to him!
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:50 AM on May 13


The pullup one is the one I need.

That was wonderful and I am seriously going to try it.
posted by gauche at 8:59 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Okay, I looked over the still photos and legit just reached out to him with questions. I was kidding a bit when I asked about the "advice for a broken knee" thing, but now I'm thinking "hey, wait, maybe I COULD add a couple of these into what my physical therapist has me doing...."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:04 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


That was wonderful and I am seriously going to try it

Same here! I had a shoulder injury a few years back and I’ve been struggling to find an exercise routine that doesn’t cause immediate pain.

Is there any interest in creating a MeFi thread for folks to report their efforts and success?
posted by Silvery Fish at 9:07 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]


I tore my rotator cuff and bicep while doing a bunch of upper body strength training (pushups, I'm looking at you) without proper technique. Now I am about 2 months post-op, slowly building up strength and flexibility, with a long way ahead of me. It...continues to be a journey. So props to this pushup bodhisattva for showing a kinder, gentler way :)
posted by Bob Regular at 9:49 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


That pullup one was so great!
posted by machine at 9:49 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Long time subscriber to Hampton; he's just the best.
As I understand it, he got his start on TikTok and that's why his YouTube videos are shorter than the average.
I like that they're succinct, positive and have progressions.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 9:57 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


If I don’t stick my elbows out at a crazy angle I simply can’t do it, and no gym teacher was ever able to explain what if anything I was doing wrong.

This trick just came up on my feed! You can put a resistance band around your triceps and it's supposed to help support your arms and get them in to the 'right' position.
posted by stellaluna at 10:14 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I love this! I watched a few videos and immediately subscribed to his channel. I've been sedentary for so long (2020-21 being the worst) and maybe Hampton's channel can be my way back to movement!

Thank you thank you thank you!
posted by kimberussell at 10:16 AM on May 13


The pull-up one is so great because you come for the pull-up advice but you stay for the CHICKEN ESCAPE
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:20 AM on May 13 [13 favorites]


I love this so much. I say this as a person who, three years ago, was completely sedentary. Now I do HIIT workouts and I'm feeling pretty badass. The key was taking the babiest of baby steps, just like he shows. Those tiny things truly do add up!
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:52 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


What a happy, lovely video! I would love to do something other than walks and bike rides for fitness -- for awhile I was doing Dance Church (which is ok sometimes) and FitBit's Coach thingy since it's free for me (which I hated), but this seems more friendly and accessible and just...nice. I am happily subscribed. He just seems nice and low-key and kind. I love it.
posted by kalimac at 11:05 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


But workout culture seems miserable and I didn't want to get into it.

For many, the misery is the fun.

Here’s Why Athletes Love to Suffer: The effort paradox explains everything from mountain climbing to buying IKEA furniture

" [why do] many of us head anonymously into the mountains or run midpack marathons—or, for that matter, do Sudoku puzzles or buy hard-to-assemble Swedish furniture. That’s the riddle that a new paper in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, by University of Toronto psychologist Michael Inzlicht and colleagues from Brown and Carnegie Mellon, explores. According to the prevailing models of cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and economics, we’re wired to minimize effort whenever possible. But sometimes, Inzlicht and his colleagues argue, we value experiences and outcomes precisely because they’re hard, not in spite of that. That difficulty can add value, a surprise they call the effort paradox."

That applies to the people who are happy after having completed an activity, during which they suffered. Granted, there are "fitness" people who are miserable overall; my guess is that's often because they are focusing on what their body looks like rather than what it can do.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:15 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


years ago, late twenties, I got myself into a deep ill-health rut. Drugs and alcohol and bad eating and pretty much zero exercise for at least five years will do that. But I had fun. Except this ill-health was no fun at all. As were my first attempts to reverse the trend, pushing too hard, aiming too high, forcing the issue ... injuring myself, getting depressed.

And then a friend of a friend said, have you considered just doing slightly more than you've gotten in the habit of doing? Like, park three blocks from that record store, stop taking the elevator unless it's more than five floors up, get in the habit of walking the extra two blocks (four blocks return) to the smaller, better grocery store. And don't worry about swimming lengths, just go to the trouble of getting in the pool once or three times a week. Eventually, you'll probably find you're doing more.

He was right. More than thirty years down the line and I've never returned to that rut.
posted by philip-random at 11:21 AM on May 13 [9 favorites]


I was really happy to see that even in just a one-minute video he points out that it's easy to build muscle faster than your joints' capabilities grow. It's one of the most important things an adult beginner to strength training needs to know and not knowing and paying attention to it causes an enormous number of injuries, but it goes unmentioned so often.
posted by Zed at 11:23 AM on May 13 [6 favorites]


Oh, wow. This guy is the anti-gatekeeper for calisthenics, and I am here for it.

Really good stuff, brainwane. As usual. Thank you for sharing it.
posted by armeowda at 11:23 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Also, I memorized this statement and consider it my Go To Mantra for this type of thing:

"Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate."

posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 11:25 AM on May 13 [46 favorites]


That applies to the people who are happy after having completed an activity, during which they suffered.

I guess what I'm thinking of is people who are trying to reach a particular number or goal in their routine, whether that is the number listed on a weight or a number on the scale (and then become very intense about it). My exercise style is basically I walk or bike for a while until I don't want to and then I go home. When talking about exercise people always want to know how far or how long I walk - I don't have a number, I just like walking.

I admit I don't know a lot about workout culture, just that the people who talk about it a lot make it sound like the last thing I want to be involved in.

This guy's style seems kind of similar to yoga instruction - "if that's not available to you, try this modified pose".
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:33 AM on May 13


Great to see this. 3 years ago, after putting my back out for the umpteenth time, I vowed to exercise for the first time in my sedentary academic life. I could not do one push up. But baby steps does it as the man says. This year, on my 70th birthday, I did 200 push ups. Back problems all gone, plus as a bonus, the build up of muscle round my hips has silenced the pain in my arthritic hip, a pain that has kept me awake night after night for 20 years. Thank you very much for posting this brainwane. Take heart folks, it's an approach that works.
posted by dutchrick at 11:45 AM on May 13 [42 favorites]


I forgot to do my pushups this morning. Thanks for the reminder.
posted by MtDewd at 12:10 PM on May 13


[pant, pant...]
I started doing pushups this year, seeing how may I can do, and as I was just reminded, the first one of the day is the hardest, at least mentally.
posted by MtDewd at 12:14 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


This trick just came up on my feed! You can put a resistance band around your triceps and it's supposed to help support your arms and get them in to the 'right' position.

OH THAT IS SO DOPE YESSSSS
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:28 PM on May 13


Hampton is a precious bean we must protect. It's fun seeing the approaches to emotion and sensitivity that younger millenials/Gen Z get to bring to the conversation.
posted by Phalene at 12:36 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


...does he have a way to request a particular muscle group next? Say, the quads for someone who's recovering from a broken knee?

The muscle Wiki lets you click on a muscle and lets you choose body weight, dumbbell or barbell exercises for it.
posted by Bee'sWing at 1:25 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


If I don’t stick my elbows out at a crazy angle I simply can’t do it, and no gym teacher was ever able to explain what if anything I was doing wrong

The cue that fixed this for me don't focus on pushing, focus on lowering your elbows to the ground.
posted by bfranklin at 1:39 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


This is an eye-opener: Think "Be Healthy" Not "Be Skinny"
posted by Pendragon at 3:19 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


That was a lot of explanation and a lot of encouragement in a minute! The aim-for numbers for all the modified push-ups are incredibly useful.
posted by clew at 3:34 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Oh, I like these a lot, the approach and demeanor are so welcoming. Thanks for posting them!

I never used to be able to do pushups. And one of the things I like about my trainer is that for quite a long while now it seems he's been kind of sneaking me up on pushups while I didn't realize it--I worked on various parts of my core, muscles in arms and back and shoulders, various movements that were about settling into form, etc. etc... lots of time passes... and then recently I've tried pushups again and-- I can do some? I even like them?? Whoah.
posted by theatro at 6:32 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Justin Agustin (instagram, twitter, youtube) does similar motivational, inspirational, adapted exercise videos. He also takes requests if you have specific muscles to work out with particular injury/space/ability limitations.
posted by Nickel at 6:57 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


So very helpful and encouraging. Thank you for posting, brainwane!
posted by jaruwaan at 9:56 AM on May 14


He's just seems so gentle and unbro like, which def makes people taking their baby steps back to fitness comfortable.
posted by Damienmce at 10:38 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


If I don’t stick my elbows out at a crazy angle I simply can’t do it, and no gym teacher was ever able to explain what if anything I was doing wrong.

That was my problem for a long time. I just started working with a trainer a few months ago, and she pointed out that I was in that crazy angle position because my shoulder muscles wanted to do all the work and that's not what pushups are supposed to work. By consciously rolling my shoulders down before assuming the pushup position, we were able to insure that my back muscles were doing work, not just my upper shoulders, and that's made a ton of difference. That position also helps to make sure that my skeletal system is helping to support me instead of just powering through by sheer muscle. And that's the position it looks like Hampton's in in the videos.

And, yeah, that means I've gone from being able to do 10 'regular' pushups (albeit, kinda shakily, unless I bust through them super quick) to 10 kneeling pushups that I do slowly and steadily and under control.

I'll have to check out more of Hampton's videos. I really like his energy and demeanor.
posted by hanov3r at 11:10 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


If you like this sort of thing -- bodyweight exercise presented in relaxed, positive way with emphasis on working from where you are -- I can highly recommend GMB . They emphasize exploring movement in a playful way, and they'll take something most people haven't done since they were kids, like a backwards roll, and break it down into doable parts and show you how to practice them and put them together. Real nice if you crave variety. And they also have the biggies (pullups, single leg squats, etc.) They have a lot of paid programs you can work through, but they also have a ton of free videos.

I'm enjoying the heck out of Hybrid Calisthenics :)
posted by antinomia at 1:33 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I came across Hampton's 1-minute video via Twitter and I literally cried at getting this encouraging and informative support.

For the past few months I've been making an effort to exercise multiple times per week, with a combination of Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure, a weekly strength & conditioning class via videocall, and multiple weekly workout sessions with friends via videocall (we watch YouTube instructional videos via the Whereby or Jitsi "watch this video together" feature, leave our webcams on, and exercise along with the instructor). And the trainer for my weekly class is helpful and encouraging and supportive to those of us who cannot yet do full push-ups, instructing us on how to modify appropriately; one of us is doing wall push-ups and I'm at the inclined push-ups stage.

But I still had in me, I think, some internalized shame that I can't do a full push-up, and a lingering thought that I might be stuck forever at inclined push-ups. Hampton telling us that of course you are starting with where you are and building strength, that this is not a lesser form of push-up, it's the best exercise you can do right now to build pushing strength, and his confidence that, if I do the work, I will build strength and be able to progress -- it touched something in me that I needed.

Also, seeing the right form for a kneeling pushup was super helpful, since some YouTube workout instructors do something called a "box pushup" that I find confusing, doesn't look like that, and I can't do yet.

The instructors whose videos I've been using most: Jessica Valant (Pilates) and Joe Wicks, a.k.a. The Body Coach. (Wicks was honoured in the UK's Queen's Birthday Honours List last year because of how he helped kids stay fit during lockdown last year with his livestreamed workouts.) Valant in particular has a lot of "here's how to modify if this move isn't something you can do" explanation as she goes, which I like.

It's also been cool to explore videos for particular kinds of people, like for surfers, for golfers, for people who have just had a caesarean section, for senior citizens, for children, for people who need help with balance. I get to feel a little bit of what it's like to live in the body of someone who's having a very different experience, what's hard for them, what's easy, what they need to be careful about. Which also helps me build kindness.
posted by brainwane at 6:30 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


HOLY HELL thank you for those links, Brainwane, I am going to add Jessica Valant's "help with balance" video to my roster (along with a couple of her videos about knees).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


I created an IRL event for this Sunday morning (May 23rd) US East Coast time so people can exercise together via a shared videocall, following along with a couple short workout videos (including one of Hampton's). Gentle, novice-friendly. And anyone who wants to do something similar but for a different date/time or with different videos, please go ahead and copy the format if you like it!

Is there any interest in creating a MeFi thread for folks to report their efforts and success?

Silvery Fish: Yeah! IMO you should go ahead and start a MetaTalk thread and link to it here!
posted by brainwane at 9:27 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


Haha! Friends, these exercises are not easy. I can't even complete 1 full recommended set but I exercised 3x this week. We all start somewhere.
posted by kimberussell at 10:27 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


The videocall-with-YouTube workout today went well! If any of y'all want to do something like this, but at a time that's friendlier to US Pacific Time, perhaps you could converse and share your interest on that IRL thread? There's at least one person who's already mentioned being interested, and it only takes 2 people to make it work.
posted by brainwane at 12:55 PM on May 23


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