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Training to Do the Most Push-Ups

If you want to be able to do 100 pushups in a row, do not try to do as many pushups as possible every day. You'll probably injure yourself and end up unable to do any pushups at all. Training for competition requires an understanding of the stress-and-recover rule and the interval-sets rule.

The best way to improve any athletic skill is to stress your body on one day and then allow enough time for your body to recover before you stress it again. On one day, take a hard workout. On the next morning, your muscles feel sore. Take easy workouts until the soreness disappears and then take a hard workout again.

For your hard workouts, you can do far more work by exercising in sets, rather than continuously. If you can do six continuous pushups, you can probably do ten sets of two with twenty-second rests between each set. Do repeat sets of two until your muscles feel sore. Try to take workouts that are hard enough to make your muscles feel sore for no more than 48 hours. An ideal training program would consist of sets of three until you feel sore on the first day, take off the second day, do sets of five on the third day until you feel soreness, and rest on the fourth day. Repeat these four-day cycles, and you'll soon be ready to compete.


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: You recommend replacing salt after exercise; won't this cause osteoporosis?

Athletes must eat large amounts of foods to take in enough calories to fuel their muscles during exercise. A high salt intake in athletes does not cause osteoporosis because they eat so much food that contains calcium and potassium that the amount of salt they take does not cause blood calcium levels to drop, so calcium does not leach out of bones.

As a general rule, taking extra salt causes the body to retain extra fluid, which expands blood volume and increases blood flow to the kidneys to increase loss of calcium in the urine. This lowers blood calcium levels, so calcium has to be taken from bones for replacement. Sodium salt also causes the kidney tubules to lose more calcium. However, potassium blocks the exchange of sodium for calcium in the kidneys and prevents calcium loss. Eating calcium also prevents blood calcium levels from dropping so there is no need for the bones to release extra calcium into the bloodstream (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, June 2006). All fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other seeds are loaded with potassium. Most varied diets contain adequate calcium, but if you decide to take a calcium supplement, be sure you are also getting plenty of vitamin D. Because calcium blocks the conversion of inactive vitamin D to active vitamin D, extra calcium increases your needs for vitamin D.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: What causes hiccups?

Most of the time, doctors never find the cause of hiccups. When a cause is found it is almost always something that irritates or presses on the nerves leading to the heart, lungs or diaphragm, such as a tumor, stomach ulcer, or irregular heart beats.

Your windpipe that carries air to your lungs is located just in front of your esophagus, which carries food to your stomach. You certainly don't want food to pass down your windpipe, so it is covered with a trap door called the glottis. The glottis closes when you swallow and prevents food and drink from going into your lungs. The diaphragm is the huge muscle that is situated underneath your lungs. It moves down to pull the lungs down to fill your lungs with air. You get hiccups when the diaphragm suddenly contracts downward to pull the lungs downward and bring air into the lungs, but, before the air can get into your lungs, the glottis, the trap door over the windpipe, suddenly closes, and prevents air from entering the windpipe. Hiccups have no useful function after you are born, but when you were in your mother's womb, your face was under water and you closed your glottis when your diaphragm moved down to prevent water from getting into your lungs.

Everyone has a favorite hiccup remedy: touching a spoon against the uvula repeatedly while you try to breathe in, breathing into a bag, drinking water from the back side of a glass, massaging your neck, pulling on your tongue, sudden fright, pressing on your eyeball, or holding your breath. If none of those work and hiccups persist, doctors may prescribe various drugs to reduce nerve messages, make your stomach contract or tranquilize nerves.


Recipe of the Week

Mediterranean Salad

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List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

June 26th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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