Today I want to share with you how the principles we use while lifting kettlebells apply to ANY sort of lifting, even bodyweight exercises. Pavel talks about this in the Naked Warrior. I am going to use the classic pushup as our example today.
The pushup is one of the most well known exercises of all time. But well-known doesn’t necessarily mean being well liked! Based on my experience, most people really HATE push-ups. Why is this? I think it is because push-up tends to be really difficult for-
A. People who carry extra body weight and
B. Most ladies who feel they do not have the upper strength to ever be able to do anything but “girl pushups" on the knees.
A big part of this is because of the dangerous and ineffective way the I see a lot of people doing their pushups. This article is written to address everything you need to know about performing the push-up with proper form and to learning how to do more push-ups quickly and safely. People tend hate what they are not good at it, and I believe that though you may currently hate push-ups, by using the info in this article you will finally cover your true push-up potential. You may never be psychotically love the push-up, but you WILL be able to use them to get stronger!
Push-ups (along with pullups) are one of the best total body exercises around. You don't need any equipment and there are dozens of variations that you can do to make them easier or harder.
You may think of pushups as a chest and tricep exercise, most people do. There is a lot more to it than that. Done correctly, pushups are a great FULL BODY exercise that also affect your core strength and stability, shoulders, legs and back.
How to Perform a Perfect Push-up
Nearly everyone has attempted a push-up at some time in his or her life, but the vast majority of people have never performed a full range of motion floor push-up with perfect form and technique. If this is you, don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault if no one ever taught you how to perform push-ups properly. That is about to change.
Here is a list of technique and coaching points that will help YOU perform a perfect push-up:
- Pack your shoulders. We do this with Getups and presses and the same principle applies to your pushup. Tuck your elbows to your sides and pull your shoulders blades down and back: It’s critical to keep your elbows close to your ribcage while performing push-ups. Letting your elbows “sprawl” away from your torso puts your shoulder at a much greater risk for injury. Most of us tend to shrug our shoulders UP during push-ups. This puts the shoulder in a compromised position especially when we add the load of our bodyweight to the mix. A good thing to visualize is "screwing" your shoulder into it's socket by bringing the shoulders closer to the hips.
-Brace your abs for power and safety: As mentioned earlier, the push-up is a great core exercise. By pulling your sternum toward your pubic bone and bracing your abs as if you we about to be kicked in the gut, you will activate your core muscles while performing push-ups.
- Zip up: tense your thighs and squeeze your glutes: The straighter your legs are during the push-up the more stable you will be. Like the top of the kettlebell swing, we pull up our kneecaps and squeeze the glutes. This will make you plank-straight and protect your lower back by preventing it from sagging.
- Power breathing: Fill your belly with air during the lowering portion of the push-up. This intra-abdominal compression will increase your power output and stablize your spine.
Try this out and let me know if it helps!