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Physics of a Push-up


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Hey everybody hope you caught the 2 Game 5's on friday night (both of which were sick) and the the Bills picking Vick 4 times to win. The Pats also shut up Rex Ryan, so a good weekend all around (minus no Red Sox in the playoffs of course).

One of the excerises all athletes do (yes even distance runners even though I wouldnt call Swagmeister's push-ups push-ups) is push-ups (ya kinda ruined the surprise there). But how does the push-up work? Well, 1st of all you are fighting gravity so that helps build strength. But, the main part of the force is the force applied to the floor to push-up. Newton said that forces are equal and oppisite, so the force applied to the floor helps the person push-up, with that force (called the normal force in this case), the equal and oppisite force of the force the person apllies to the ground. The stronger you are, the more force you can apply more times, so the more push-ups you will be able to do. So rather than lift weights, let Newton be your personal trainer and start cranking out the push-ups!

Random sports fact: Against the Pats on Sunday, the Jets often used 7 DBs against Tom Brady.

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Just thinking about how you could extend this, you could also calculate the work per pushup, or the power output. Then, of course, there are all the different types of pushups you can do... from diamond pushups to slide pushups to prison pushups... each designed to put your arms at different angles to work different muscles. Would be a great exploration into components of forces!

push-up-variations-exercises-2.jpg

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1) To do correct pushups, one must lift their entire body off the ground, not just their shoulders (aka daoss pushups look like / )

2) Yeah don't forget work and power teh N00bz

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