Pushing Your Limits!


Everyday we push! Push the grocery cart, push the car door closed, push open the door to the house, push a baby stroller, etc. We push a lot more than we think, pushing up, pushing down, pushing away, pushing with both arms, pushing with one arm. You get the point, yet many people suffer injures in their daily lives or in their workouts from pushing. Shoulder injuries are the most common among the pushing exercises or movements. One of the major reasons is because of the daily amount of sitting with poor posture that we go through causing our shoulders and chest to become tight and weak. If we are pushing all day everyday and we are tight and weak in the shoulders no wonder we are getting injured in simple Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).


So breaking down the sitting posture first:

Ears over shoulders

Shoulders over hips

Should blades own and in (Scap J's)

Hiding your ribs (mini crunch)

Neutral pelvis (tucking the tailbone slightly forward)


The standing posture is the same as above with the addition of:

Squeeze your BUTT! (make them feel like apples NOT apple sauce! )

Lifting the knee caps (tightening the quads or fronts of the legs)

Feet underneath hips

Toes straight ahead


So why am I talking abut posture when we should be talking about pushing? Because the way we do things in our ADLs effect the way we do them in exercise. If we can correct the simple things like the way we sit or stand, we can then minimize injury during exercise.

So let's PUSH IT! Let's look at the push-up as an exercise that almost everyone has done at some point in their life in order to get stronger and apply this to other pushing exercises.

ANY pushing exercise starts with the PLANK! Lets make that a very clear point #1! Without the stability of the spine during the push-up, it will dramatically change the positioning of joints and could make the exercise harder or cause injury!

  1. MAXIMUM rigidity through out the torso.
  2. Hands on the ground directly under the arm pits
  3. Shoulders down and away from the ears (Scap J's)
  4. Start by slowly PULLING your self down towards the ground with your Lats (like a row)
  5. Bending the elbows about 45 degrees from the body
  6. Lowering down till the elbows reach about 90 degrees or lower, if you are able to maintain a rigid torso
  7. Return to the top of the push-up position by "corkscrewing" the hands as you push the ground away from you (Like you are unscrewing lids off jam jars with both hands rotating away from the body)

Repeating this process slowly will greatly increase the recruitment of the Lats into the push to help keep the shoulders safe and to give better stabilizationas well as push more efficiently and effectively!

These body alignment techniques apply to any pushing methods:

  • Overhead Press
  • Pull-Ups
  • Single arm or bilateral dumbbell chest press 
  • Pushing a stroller
  • Pushing a door open
  • etc.

Try these tips out and watch your push-ups improve and your shoulders get strong!


"The Body Achieves What The Mind Believes"


Pushing Your Plank

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