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Practice Better Push-Ups

5 Movement Training Tips to Maximize Healthy Movement Habits

(This post is Part 2 of a four-part article series to help you improve your Push-Ups)

Do you struggle to find and use the right muscles to do the work on Push-Ups? 

Push-Ups aren’t easy, especially for us gals due to the weight distribution in our bodies.  But that doesn’t mean doing them is an impossible dream!  Men naturally have more upper body strength and typically not a lot of “junk in the trunk.” This makes Push-Ups easier for them because there is not as much mass in the hips to have to move up and down.  Men tend to have wider shoulders and narrower hips. Men also tend to be stronger from where the movement is initiated (Chest, Upper Back, and Shoulders). However, that strength is both a blessing and a curse because stronger, tighter shoulders can easily get pulled out of position while moving up and down on your arms.  Women tend to have less upper body strength, narrower shoulders, and wider hips.  We have more weight to hold up that is farther away from the pivot point of a Push-Up.  Regardless of whether you’re male or female, we ALL need good arm and shoulder mechanics for both our fitness and daily life activities because without the right muscles working, one bad rep during your push-ups can quickly lead to a shoulder injury, rotator cuff problems, or chronic neck and back pain.

Every body CAN do Push-Ups.  Paying close attention to what muscles you’re using and how you’re moving matters if you want all the benefits possible from your hard efforts practicing Push-Ups.

If you haven’t read my article with tips on Push-Up Prep, you might want check this out first to help you practice getting into a good starting position.  Finding and maintaining a good position is the first step in being able to practice a better Push-Up.

Here are 5 Movement Training Tips to Help You Practice Better Push-Up Exercises

  1. Strive to “Un-grip” your Pecs and keep the Ribcage lifted with the Serratus Muscles along the sides of the body.
    • If you are sagging and pinching your shoulder blades together to start your Push-Up, your body is out of alignment right from the start. Not everybody talks about the Serratus muscle – it’s a much-needed muscle to strengthen and use for a great Push-Up.
    • If you “grip” your Pecs, it’s impossible to lower your whole body down. Instead, the head and hips will drop first and your shoulders will be the last thing to hit the ground.
  1. Find and Use your Multifidi Muscles! They are the magic bullet for helping to stabilize the spine position while moving your Push-Up down and up.
  1. Keep Your Weight in LOW Center throughout the exercise (avoid shifting your body weight forward onto your hands and arms; keep your weight back over your heels and hips) 
  1. “Tighter is Lighter” If you relax any of the pieces of the body that you organized in your setup, it will be more difficult to execute good Push-Ups. People tend to relax the Glutes, Inner Thighs, and Low Abs when they pull the shoulder blades down to lengthen the upper back. Or, when they release the arms to lower the body, they relax the whole body! The strong support below is what the top of the body is lengthening away from to move on your Push-Ups. 
  1. BREATHE
    • Inhaling lengthens the spine and helps maintain your plank line while you lower the body to the mat.
    • Exhaling helps gather more low core support while you lift UP away from the floor.

These five healthy movement habit training tips might sound simple (or overwhelming) depending on how many of these muscles you are familiar with using during your workouts.  Ultimately, it’s about connecting mind, body, and movement.  Being able to find and use not just the big muscles in the body, but some of the smaller muscle groups that help support and stabilize a good position, will help you improve your range of motion and body mechanics to maximize the benefits of practicing your Push-Ups.

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Don’t miss the next post in my How To Improve Your Push-Up Exercises, article series.  Subscribe now to the Centerworks Wellness Success eNews to get article updates, and more…

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