Article Written by Bud Gibson
Imagine coming to the gym, and every so often, this image confronts you, somebody (i.e., Jes) doing pushups with her feet on one medicine ball and her hands on another. It’s not every day, but it’s a few times a month, and it seems effortless. After a while, you begin to wonder if you’ll see a demonstration of this “two ball pushup” every time you go to the gym.
You sort of want to because you think you could figure it out.
You know the two ball pushup is not effortless, but it seems in the range of the feasible, if only you worked hard enough. And, this exercise is certainly not as insane as some of the things you’ve seen Jes do: like stand upright, balanced on a large exercise ball without assistance.
So, I decided to take on Jes in the two ball pushup, her one impressive exercise I thought I actually had a chance of doing.
I didn’t know what I was getting into….(JES: Finally he admits it!)
Something I thought would take a few weeks wound up taking six months. And, I never suspected how surprisingly honored I’d feel to have had the experience.
I guess what I most learned is that it’s really just one surprise after another with Jes!
Surprisingly, training to try to do this exercise became one of my favorite past times, particularly when Jes wasn’t around, and I could think I was getting a leg up on her. Surprisingly, I made progress after what felt like a fairly dim initial prognosis.
Surprisingly, in the course of just over two years now…I became one of Jes’ “surprisingly favorite clients”.
Here are some of the secrets Jes taught me about the two ball pushup that I’ve carried with me all this time:
- Core conditioning is the central component of the two ball pushup. You need to have control of your core to stabilize your body, and it takes a lot of work:
- Jes started me just trying to hold a plank with my feet balanced on one ball, and I couldn’t do it, until with lots of practice on my own, eventually I could.
- Simultaneously, I worked on doing the plank with my hands on the ball. This is not as hard, but it’s amazingly taxing to do for any length of time.
- Balance strategies are important but only secondary to core control. You can balance with so-so strategies, but balance is impossible without core control. Once you have core control though, the following will help:
- Lock your shoulder blades down and back using your lats. The shoulder is the least stable joint in the body. You will be tempted to hunch your shoulders in an effort to concentrate power there to control the ball. That’s the kiss of death. Don’t do it.
- For the ball at your foot, put one foot on, balance it, put weight on it. Then, lift up the other foot gently.
- The trick to getting up on two balls is to stabilize the arms and shoulders first on one ball, then move the feet onto the second, like I just described. If you don’t have adequate core control, you’ll find this IMPOSSIBLE.
- Once you can hold yourself on two balls for a minute, the pushup is nothing. Just go slow. I knew pushups already though. If you can’t do pushups, tackle that first on the way to doing this.
Those are the technical secrets. If someone had told them to me back when I started, it would not have made a difference. I needed Jes’ insight and coaching. She had to diagnose the core strength issue and prescribe a plan to fix it. She had to suggest the balance strategies, repeating often with patience. She had to put up with and manage my impatience.
Jes was right when she said we both shared a passion for performance and excellence. I couldn’t have asked for more. Jes is the best fitness professional I’ve ever known, and I hope to continue working with her for some time to come whether in person or remotely through one of her training plans. This is someone I want to stay connected to. She is a personal and professional resource without peer.
See the results for yourselves: