OK so recently I’ve been seeing a lot of poorly executed push ups. This is a basic bodyweight exercise that most of us do, and yet it seems that we don’t spend much time focusing on mechanics of this movement like we do the squat. So it’s time we showed the push up some love.
Starting Position AKA the plank hold
Position your shoulder over your hands, hands just a touch outside the shoulders. Make sure your index finger is pointing straight forward. Then think about having your elbows point back toward your toes. This creates a bit of external rotation of the shoulder and loads the tissue for use!
Now, find and maintain tension throughout your body! This is key! Keep your stomach tight, flex your quads to extend your legs, squeeze your butt, and keep your ankles together. Lock this tension in and keep it through the entire range of motion!
A. “You better lock it up.”
B. “You better lock it up!”
A. “No you lock it up!”
B. “You lock it up!”
A. “Lock it up!”
*Bonus! Name the movie those lines are from?
The movement begins by moving your shoulder forward and down. Do not begin with an elbow bend! Move the shoulder first. Think about how to correctly initiate a squat: by moving the hips back and down. It is the same with the push up. As the shoulder goes forward and down, the elbows track away from the body at a 45 degree angle, supporting correct movement of the shoulder. DO NOT SHRUG! This is the most common fault I see in the push up.
We are working shoulder extension on the way down.
Keep that body tension on the way down. The middle part of the push up is when your chin, chest, and thighs touch the ground. Your elbow should be stacked over the wrist, and forearm should be straight up and down.
From here, you raise your entire body up as one piece. Think about rising from the ground mid-back first. Do not let your chest rise before the rest of your body!
We are working shoulder flexion on the way up.
Once you have returned to your starting position you have completed one push up!
There is a saying that “knowledge is power.”
A: “Negative GhostRider.”
I believe it was Bruce Lee that said “applied knowledge is power.” When you apply the mechanics described above, you will be in position to fully express your strength! Not to mention build more of it!
So now you know! In strength and conditioning: position is power.
Start paying as much attention to how you do push ups as to the way you squat, and you’ll realize…
The push up is the new squat……..NOW drop and give me twenty!
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In CrossFit, we recognize ten general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are capable in each of these ten skills.
Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance - The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
Stamina - The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
Flexibility - the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
Balance - The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.