Pushing requires nearly the same skeletal mechanics as pulling; however force is applied in the opposite direction. This requires a different pattern of muscular activation. As with the pulling, get the movement pattern right before pushing against resistance.
I often ask people to demonstrate how they would push me over and they look a lot like I do in these pictures. Then I have them do pushups or bench press and the first thing they do is raise their elbows and lift their shoulders (a strategy that will quickly damage the shoulder under load).
When performing pushups, mimic the positioning represented in the pictures above.
- Start in the plank position.
- Take a deep breath into your belly to establish a positive bridge.
- Hold your shoulder blades down against the back of the rib cage as you do the pushup.
- Break the arms toward your sides and lower your chest toward the ground.
- Keeping the body in a rigid bridge, press your hands into the floor. Create tension in your abdomen, around your ribs, in your chest and the backs of your arms. Notice how the body aids the arms and chest while pushing away.
- Be sure to extend your arms all the way, while leaving your shoulders back against the ribs.
- For pushups from the knees, keep hips in line between knees and shoulders.