What's in a pushup?
Hope all is well with you and your training is going well! Today I want to take a closer look at the pushup and show that it is much more than just an exercise to strengthen the chest, shoulders and triceps.
Pushups are one of my favorite exercises and I do them almost every day during my Dynamic Yoga Fitness routine. When done properly the pushup becomes a yoga pose, an ab exercise, a cardio exercise, an alignment and posture exercise and even helps to balance out and strengthen the hands and forearms. With the right engagement and knowledge or alignment, many exercises can be used alone or with only one or two others to balance the muscles of the body and enhance posture and well being.
A pushup is a plank, except you are moving your arms.
Get into the "incline plane" with hands slightly wider and slightly behind the shoulders. Spread your fingers out and work every finger and knuckle into the floor. Lock the legs, tuck your hips and squeeze your glutes. Brace the abs and pull your shoulders down from the ears keeping the shoulder blades flat and wide activating the lats and tuck your chin making a straight line from the heels to the crown or your head.
Now we are engaged from head to toe. Working the legs isometrically and using the abs in one of the more important functions which is to stabilize the spine and engaging the upper back muscles to stabilize the shoulder girdle. We are lengthening or extending through the body helping to decompress the spine and bring alignment and good posture.
Maintain all these points and take a deep breath in. Lower yourself nearly to the floor or as far as you are currently able to maintaining all points discussed above. No shoulder shrugging or head dropping. Exhale and keep the abs braced as you press up using the muscles of the shoulders, chest and arms. Inhale and repeat. Repeat until fatigue or you are unable to maintain the points we've discussed.
If you just tried this, you can see that engaging the entire body makes the pushup much more intense and effective and should get the heart and lungs going pretty good providing you worked hard enough. The more muscles you can engage in a move, the better. It will build full body strength and stability and help to connect the body as a unit making your stronger and more injury resistant.
What other exercises could you get more benefit from by more fully engaging the body?
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