Dear Friends ,
When I was bench pressing in the Gym , several months ago , I began with a 20 kgs load and over the next few weeks labouriously went up to a respectable 40 kgs . I was following the incremental approach of weight training where by you go on increasing in small steps each week .
One day I tried to do some Push ups . (Surya Namaskar ) I could hardly do a couple . I was surprised . I thought that if I was lifting that much weight in bench press , I should very well do many many push ups . So I went up to the instructor and asked him the question ."
When I am able to bench press 40 kgs why am not able to do five namaskars ? " He replied " The muscles you are employing in the two exercises are different . So lifting more weight in bench press will not result in doing more namaskars . "
I was not satisfied with the answer . So I went around and did some research on my own. I came to know that in these two exercises the main muscles used are the same . The pectorals , the triceps and the front shoulder . Back to square one .
Why am I able to do bench press and not Surya namaskars ?
So one day I took two weighing scales , put my palms on them and asked my son , Aadarsh , to observe the weight reading on them . I did some Push ups (Surya namaskar.) that way .
Aadarsh exclaimed " 75 kgs ." This was a revelation for me . I got the answer for my question , realised that the question itself was wrong and got a completely new direction.
I realised that doing Push ups(Surya Namaskar) was way more difficult than bench press . My shoulders in Push ups (Surya Namaskar) were facing a load of 75 kgs in a compound movement ( lift and rotate ) while on the bench press I am only facing 40 kgs in a simple movement ( up and down ) .
So the simple answer to my earlier question would be " Because your muscles are not strong enough. "But this brought me to another revelation . When my muscles are able to take 75 kgs of live weight even in compound movement why am I struggling with only 40 kgs of dead weight in a simple movement . My queston should have been , " When I am able to do one Push up(Surya.Namaskar) at 75 kgs , why am I lifting only 40 kgs in bench press ? "
That day , my bench press weight went up to 65 kgs ! A quantum jump . Even the trainer acknowledged that much saying " It is not the body , but the brain lifts . "
In most learning situations , we start at some place and then take an easy incremental approach . Something like last years figure over this years figures in corporate context . Though this approach has its own merit , quantum jumps cannot be achieved by the same unless we think differently .