A long time ago, I set a club record for the 500m ERG Concept II indoor rowing. It was 1:27 of pure hell. Basically I broke the race plan down to about 47 strokes. I started with 7 very hard pulls (to use up my ATP/CP) followed by counting 30 strokes hard but very relaxed with a good rhythm and good breathing patterns, then finally the last 10 pulls I stopped counting and pulled for dear life!
The secret is having a plan. But what are the thoughts going through your head during the 1 minute of hell?
Do you count steps or reps? Even UK marathoner Paula Radcliffe counts steps for a mile.
I asked Alica Weber, holder of numerous rep-based WR, this question.
SpeedEndurance: Congrats on your 35 push up WR on med balls. What is on your mind when performing repetitions for a WR? Are you actually counting the reps? Is someone yelling out every 10 reps for you? Can you describe some of your mental strategies on your other world records (i.e. pull-ups, chin-ups)? Tell us more on your other med ball pushups WRs!
Alicia Weber: I gauged my pace and counted my reps in my mind for my 3 med ball pushups. In other exercises and longer exercises, I may have someone call out reps or I count and call out my reps every so often. I block everything out and enter my own world when I am record-setting. From my practice sessions, I knew I could do 35 reps correctly in 1-minute. For this record, I am required to start the video at 0 with my arms in extension and end at 1-minute with my arms in extension. My full body must be in the view of the camera at all times with no distractions. Med ball pushups and regular pushups must be completed on a hard surface. My legs must stay straight with a flat back (no hips sticking up and involved) with only abs working. I am required to have a full-body side view and full-body front view. The arms must come to 90 degrees or break parallel for pushups. The record-setter must wear clothing that shows the arms and legs (i.e. tank top or short-sleeve shirts and shorts or other form-fitting clothes). NO long sleeve shirts and/or baggy clothes. Proper clothing is mandatory to accurately assess proper form for the exercises. This is a standard in any physical fitness test setting. If any of the above rules are not followed correctly, the record attempt will be thrown out.
Due to the intense concentration and balance involved in 3 med ball pushups, I learned to find a rhythm and keep it. If I get off my rhythm or go too fast, I will lose balance.
The balance aspect puts this exercise in a class by itself. I will have a different sport psychology with this balance exercise than in pushups, pull-ups, chin-ups, dips, sit-ups, etc. In general, I practice the exercises so much that I begin to formulate a rhythm. Unlike the med ball pushups, I can learn to go really fast, while keeping proper form with all the other exercises. The muscle memory kicks in and I know what to expect in each exercise.
Official WR Double Screen of the 35 reps/min Med Ball Pushups:
*The 3 med ball elevated leg pushups are 2 times more difficult than the 3 med ball pushups and the 2 med ball tricep pushups with the elevated leg (with the chest touching the med ball for a rep to count) are 10 times more difficult than the 3 med ball pushups.
On March 9, 2010, I completed 25 reps a minute of the 3 med ball elevated leg pushups. Also on March 9th, I completed 6 reps a minute of the 2 med ball elevated leg tricep pushups. Here are double screen highlights from those record exercises:
I hope I answered the questions well and gave readers some things to think about!