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PUSH-UPS: Importance of technique

Push-up variations are excellent for core and upper body strength as well as shoulder and elbow health when done correctly. Unfortunately, it’s a movement that seems to be taught and performed incorrectly — resulting in poor movement quality through the core and shoulder complex. The biggest issue I see with push-up performance is an issue with scapular (shoulder blade) retraction and protraction through the entire movement. Most athletes will drop into a push-up without retracting their scapular into adduction (toward spine of upper back) resulting in impingement in the shoulder joint, resulting in humeral anterior (forward) glide which causes stress to the tendons of the shoulder and elbow joint as shown at right. Here are three tips to cueing and correcting an athlete’s push-up performance:

Training Time Tim Rudd for IYCA

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The athlete should be in the top position of a push-up. Then place a dowel on your athletes’ back ensuring that the head, upper back and butt are in contact with the dowel, cueing core stiffness.

As the athlete starts to drop down into the pushup cue them to lead with their scapula (shoulder blades) without shrugging of the shoulders. You should see the shoulder blades retracting toward the spine without any tilting forward of the scapula, which will result in shrugging of the shoulders and poor scapula function.

Once an athlete reaches end range of motion toward the bottom of the push-up and the scapula reaches it’s end point of retraction, the elbows and the push-up should stop at the side of the athletes’ body not beyond! Then cue the athlete to push the ground away from them while retracting their scapula back to neutral at the start point of the pushup. Properly cueing the push-up movement will ensure that the scapula moves freely along the rib cage, which will maintain the congruency of the ball socket of the shoulder joint, eliminating stress to the tendons of the shoulder and elbow joint of your athletes.

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January 17, 2013



BA Issue 59, Jan. 17, 2013  

Bay Area Issue 50, January 17, 2013

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