I love big bang exercises! Get your head out of the gutter, what I mean is exercises that work different things together. Last time we talked about the squat and today I want to talk about another exercise that forces the whole body to work together. I’m talking about the push-up.
Many people think of the push-up as an upper body strength exercise, and it is, but before it can be that it’s one of the best core exercises you can do. Let’s talk for a second about what our core is supposed to do. It’s supposed to stabilize our body so that our upper and lower body can do what we’d like them to do. In the case of the push-up, the core acts as a coordinator between our upper and lower body as everything moves together. Once the core can do that effectively it allows the muscles in our chest, shoulders and triceps to enjoy the full benefits of the exercise. If the core can’t do that effectively then what will usually happen is a combination of either sagging or elevated hips, a drooping head, and shoulders jammed up towards the ears.
Here are a few hints to help you get the most out of your pushups.
1. Get your position set first. You want to be in a straight line with your hands under, but slightly wider than your shoulders. You want your head looking down at one spot slightly above your hands. You should NEVER take your eyes off that spot. Take a few seconds in this position so that your body knows where it wants to get back to.
2. Be active with your hands. Try to grab the floor and at the same time try to rotate the floor outside your body like you’re turning a doorknob. (You don’t actually turn your hands.) This will engage your back which and rotate your elbows slightly downward and give you greater stability.
3. Concentrate on keeping your midsection and glutes tight. This will allow your whole body to work together which, after all, is why this is such a great exercise in the first place!
Let me know what you think and if you need any help.
Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Lean Eating Coach, FMS
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley
I Help People Discover Their Strength!