Anatomy of Movement: Push Up
We’ve looked at the Squat, now let’s look at the push up!
The push up is a fundamental movement that reflects the skill and strength of any person. It requires strength for the actual push from the arms but also the skill to maintain proper positioning throughout the range of motion.
With this mindset, we can look at the push up as having two components. A front plank component and the press-up component. Within each of those people will fall on a spectrum of ability. Training each of these individually will have a significant impact on a person’s ability to perform an adequate push-up over the course of their training.
The front plank reflects someone’s ability to maintain a “neutral” spinal position. Neutral may be slightly different for everyone but the ability to maintain this reflects core stability that is essential for the push up. How do you know if you are at your “neutral” position? Often times it is where you can breathe best.
Other ways to find it would be to find the end range of arching your low back and then attempting to round it as much as possible. The middle ground between these two that maintain a straight line from your head to heels will be the most efficient position for you.
The press up reflects someone’s ability to have enough upper body strength to perform a push up. It also allows for people to understand where the most efficient hand placement should be.
Often times people’s elbows will flare out which may not be as efficient when just asking someone to do a standard push up. Starting people off with a press up will have them naturally steer towards a position that is most natural, and in the case of the push up, most efficient.
Now that it has been broken down let’s take a look at the points of performance for the push up.
From the bottom
-Hands at/near chest height.
-Elbows kept close to body.
-Shoulder blades should be pinched together
-A string from the back of the head to the heels should remain in a straight line.
At the top
-Hands actively pushing the floor away from you.
-Elbows locked out but not hyperextended.
-Shoulder blades coming down and around on your back. (may notice slightly rounding here, but not excessive)
-String from back of head to heels should still remain in a straight line.