The pushup has long been a standard of strength. Anyone who has done some strength training is probably familiar with the pushup. The pushup is an example of the push movement pattern. Exercises like pushups, bench press, and overhead presses are common push pattern movements. The push pattern primarily works the muscles of the chest, shoulders and triceps.
At Strength for Life we teach every exercise in three phases. The first, and most important is technique or form. If you do not use proper technique you will develop poor movement patterns and minimally stunt your progress or at worst, develop an injury. When we use poor movement patterns, we compensate with other muscle groups and body parts and develop imbalances in the body.
The second phase of teaching any exercise is Range of Motion or how far you can move using good form in an exercise. Range of motion develops the full functionality of the body. Full range of motion exercises can increase our flexibility allowing us to move better. A person with healthy shoulders and good wrist flexibility should be able to lower their body in the pushup position until their arms are bent at 90 degrees at the elbow or until their chin or chest touch the ground.
Finally, we work on adding resistance to improve strength, add muscle and shape the body and to increase the metabolic rate or the rate at which the body burns calories at rest. Resistance is typically added in the pushup by doing more repetitions or performing a harder version of the pushup like diamond or elevated pushups.
Remember when learning a new exercise
1. Form First
2. Range of Motion
3. Add Resistance or weight last