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Stay injury free with the correct push-up pattern


Push-ups are an important stimulus for developing the upper body. They help with muscular hypertrophy, increase strength and promote a correct body posture due to the impact they have on pectoral, deltoid, triceps and core muscles, but even on the serratus anterior muscle – the muscles responsible for the scapular functionality. Of course all this stands if we have a correct execution.

Although it seems to be an easy exercise, most of the people have an incorrect execution and most of the time the high number of reps (50-60) will be reduced to 15-20 if the below technical indications are respected. For many, this looks like a regression but if the execution is correct the chances of doing a large number of reps without compensating with other body parts are very low, and this slows down the progress and accelerates the injury incidents.

Despite the general belief, the push ups are not an exercise for beginners because they require strength to push 60-70% of the body weight, core stability, postural control and the recruitment of a large number of motor units in the body.

Going back to the correct execution we need to highlight some of the key points that influence posture and muscle activity:

- Body position

- Elbow position

- Shoulder position

- Feet position

- ROM (range of motion)

Body position:

When we start the movement we need to make sure that the ankle, the knees, the hip, the shoulder and the head are on the same line. One of the wrong instructions that you usually hear is to engage the glutes – but this will disrupt the joint alignment. In the push up position the body opposes the extension movement so when we engage the glutes we are enhancing the wrong posture.

A better approach is to engage the core and quadriceps muscles while we keep the glutes relaxed (above the imaginary straight line). This influences the lumbar area that needs to stay in a neutral position during the entire movement as well.

Elbow position:

The elbows exterior oriented at a 70-90 degrees from the body is an incorrect posture and can cause impingement of the shoulders joints due to the internal rotation of the humerus.

The ideal position for the elbows is at a 10-45 degrees angle from the body. This has an impact on muscular engagement from different regions. The close the elbows are to the body the triceps muscles fibers are engaged in the movement, while the further the elbows are, the pectoral muscles fibers get engaged. Both options help in the pectoral muscles development.

Shoulders position:

The shoulders and elbows positions are tightly connected, and they influence each other. Retracting and depressing the scapular promotes a better posture due to a better "chest up" position during execution . This ensures a better scapulohumeral joint functionality, while the muscular activity is enhanced due to the larger number of muscles fibers that are recruited. The hands must be forward orientated while the fingers have to grab the ground (same principle as for squats). This helps engaging the latissimus dorsis and contributes to a correct position of the shoulders during the movement.

The feet position:

The feet position is probably the most neglected component when talking about push-ups. The feet need to be perpendicular on the ground (small dorsiflexion) when the movement starts, while the touching point is at the toe level – this helps obtaining a better stability by contracting the core muscles. To get to the optimal position adjustments before during and at the end of the movement are useful.

Movement amplitude:

The more ROM we have, the bigger is the stimulus that influences the muscular hypertrophy. As this is a rotation movement (the legs being the pivot point), the body parts that initiate the movement are the chest area and the head, not the hips nor the abdominal muscles. Having this in mind is easy to understand why when the body touches the ground it has to be with the chest and not with any other body parts.

As a final point when you try your next push up don' t chase to many reps and try to focus on mind muscle connection and the right posture.


Flotarile sunt un stimul important in dezvoltarea partii superioare a corpului, influenteaza cresterea musculara, forta si promoveaza o postura corecta datorita impactului pe care il are asupra pectoralilor, deltoizilor, tricepsului, musculaturii core-ului dar si asupra muschilor dințati anteriori, acestia fiind muschii responsabili de buna functionare a omoplatului in timpul miscarii, toate acestea daca executia este una corecta.

Inainte de a trece mai departe si de a povesti despre postura optima in timpul executiei, trebuie sa amintim ca majoritatea persoanelor au o executie gresita si de cele mai multe ori numarul mare de repetari (50-60) este redus la 15-20 daca respectam indicatiile tehnice prezentate mai jos.Acest lucru, pentru multe persoane, reprezinta un regres dar daca executia este una corecta sunt slabe sanse sa facem un numar prea mare de repetari fara sa compensam cu alte parti ale corpului, lucru ce incetineste progresul si accelereaza rata accidentarilor.

In ciuda conceptiei majoritatii, flotarile nu sunt un exercitiu pentru incepatori deoarece acesta implica forta necesara pentru a putea impinge 60- 70% din greutatea corporala, stabilizare la nivelul musculaturii core-ului,control postural si recrutarea unui numar cat mai mare de unitati motorii din intregul corp.

Revenind la executia corecta trebuie sa amintim catvea puncte cheie care influenteaza postura si activitatea musculara:

-pozitia corpului

-pozitia coatelor

-pozitia umerilor

-pozitia picioarelor

-amplitudinea miscarii

Pozitia corpului:

Atunci cand incepem miscarea trebuie sa ne asiguram ca glezna, genunchii, bazinul, umerii si capul sunt situate pe o linie dreapta imaginara. O indicatie gresita pe care o aud este "incoarda fesierii", lucru ce strica aliniamentul articulatiilor. In pozitia de flotare, corpul se opune miscarii de extensie iar atunci cand incordam fesierii accentuam si mai tare aceasta postura gresita.

O mai buna abordare, este sa incordam cvadricepsii si musculatura abdominala in timp ce fesierii sunt in pozitie relaxata( deasupra liniei imaginare) acest lucru influenteaza si zona lombara ce trebuie sa ramana in pozitie neutra pe toata durata miscarii.

Pozitia coatelor:

Pozitia coatelor in exterior la 70-90 grade fata de trunchi este un gresita si poate provoca disconfort in zona umerilor datorita blocajului la nivelul articulatiei.

Pozitia ideala a coatelor este intre 10 si 45 grade fata de trunchi, aceasta influentand si activitatea musculara din diferite regiuni. Cu cat coatele sunt mai aproape de corp cu atat mai mult fibrele musculare ale tricepsului sunt recrutate in miscare, in timp ce o pozitie mai departata influenteaza mai tare pectoralii (ambele variante influenteaza dezvoltarea pectoralilor).