How to properly perform push up to avoid injury and maximize gains:
As with the pull up discussed earlier in the week, the push up is a very common exercise among all weightlifting individuals because of the diverse methods there are to progress and regress the technique. However, throughout all of the variations, overall biomechanics should not change for certain aspects of the movement to prevent increased strain and risk of injury to the shoulder joint. One thing to always be sure of is having your elbows at a 45 degree angle from your side. Many people will perform a push up with elbows out wide at 90 degrees or at the side which both put the shoulder at increased risk of injury because it is not in optimal alignment.
Another common mistake is not having the body in a straight line throughout the movement or performing a full repetition. Both of these will help to allow for increased strength gains from the movement. As with the pull up and many other exercising techniques you should also pinch your shoulder blades together throughout the movement to allow for better scapular stabilization and shoulder positioning. Lastly, make sure you are doing a push up variation that is right for you. If you cannot do the push up with correct technique or amount of repetitions required for your training goal, try regressing the exercise to make it a little easier and build your way up.
Why is this important?
It is very important to make sure that you are performing exercise techniques properly to be certain you are improving your performance and not just making yourself more prone to injury. Please contact Dr. Ben Bagge at prokinetixrehab.com for his expertise in exercise biomechanics if you have any questions regarding how you can be improving your performance in competition or technique in the weight room.
Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance specializes in helping active individuals in Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco get back to exercising and working out pain free without having to take time off or relying on injections/pain medication. Pro+Kinetix offers rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.