Push Up When performed with proper technique and balanced with adequate horizontal pulling, Push Ups are excellent exercises for athletes. Push Ups not only engage chest, triceps, shoulder and core muscles, they also allow the scapula (shoulder blades) to move freely—unlike bench pressing from supine (lying on back) position. Scapular movement is crucial for efficient shoulder movement and health. Push Up is basically moving Plank. That means that the core should remain engaged throughout the entire movement.
- Place your hands slightly outside of and in line with your shoulders, extend your legs straight behind you with toes on the floor.
- Engage your core muscles as if expecting a punch to the gut. Do not let your hips sag, which would disengage the abs and put strain on your low back.
- Keep your neck in line with your spine to form a straight line from head to feet.
- Bend your elbows, lowering your body as one unit, until upper arms are parallel to the floor. During descent, the spine remains neutral from neck to tailbone, elbows remain at a 30- to 45-degree angle from the torso, and shoulder blades retract (move toward spine).
- Push back up to starting position, keeping core engaged and spine neutral as shoulder blades protract (move apart and wrap around ribcage).
- Athletes who master a perfect bodyweight Push Up may progress to Feet Elevated Push Up (below).
Note: Push Ups performed poorly can do more harm than good, putting stress on the low back and shoulder joints. A standard Push Up requires athletes to lift about 64 percent of their bodyweight. Some athletes—especially at youth level—don’t have the strength to do even one proper bodyweight Push Up, yet coaches often require athletes to do multiple reps at a time. As alternatives, Band-Assisted Push Ups or Elevated Push Ups (below) decrease the weight for an athlete to lift. Push Ups from the knees, which minimize recruitment of stabilizing muscles and can put shoulders in a compromised position, are to be avoided altogether