The ‘Alma mater’ of bodybuilding exercises and one of the best known training exercises in the history of physical activity. The flexion or ‘Push-up’ of the elbow in quadrupeds with main work for the upper body depending on the initial-final position in said motor act with its corresponding variants. We are going to deal with the subject in depth, but, at the same time, in a simple and dynamic way. Go for it athletes!
The beginning: what is a push-up?
From the biomechanical point of view, flexion is a movement where the joint complex and its corresponding components apply a muscle shortening and consequently a mechanical work against the gravity of the movement, overcoming an external load, and that is the body itself – self-load- or an external load (dumbbell).
We can perform a push-up of the arms or legs, depending on the angle of work and the starting position in which the exercise runs. That is, in the ‘Bicep Curl’ there is a flexion in its concentric phase, but also in the squat , there is a flexion of the mechanical components of the lower body in the aforementioned concentric phase.
What muscles do pushups work?
Before us we have a pushing movement, opposite to the pulling movement such as a ‘Gironde Row’ specific for the last as the main muscle. In flexion, the agonist or main muscles are usually the pectorals major and the triceps brachia. Said proportion of work is due, for example, to the width of opening of manual support.
On the other hand, we have the secondary muscles, which, in this exercise, we appreciate, once again, depending on the initial position and their corresponding angles: pectoral-triceps-deltoid.
Regarding the muscles that stabilize the action -synergists-, we have, depending on the aforementioned aspects: biceps brachia-deltoids-serrates and trapezius. With regard to the ‘core’ muscles in said action: those that generate a mass center according to the action and its correct execution: psoas-oblique-transverse and rectus abdominals.
How to improve push-up technique?
Progressions are a key guideline for improving push-up technique and avoiding common push-up mistakes . Therefore, to achieve a certain number of push-ups, we can take into account the following aspects to achieve the push-up for the chest with our own body as load:
3 options to progress and do better push-ups
- For example, we can perform the flexion with TRX straps with an angle appropriate to our physical level where the load does not represent 100%, as opposed to doing it in quadrupeds.
- Also, analytical work on guided machines with lower loads is an optimal progression to achieve this objective, until reaching a load similar to that represented by our body in that position.
- Another option is to perform the push up with the knees supported, instead of a metatarsal support, in this way the overall load will be less and it is a preliminary step for the execution of the exercise we want to reach.
The body is a whole
If you have a developed pectoral along with strong arms, however, you have a high obesity rate (you can find out using our BMI Calculator ), your upper levers will not have enough strength to displace the overall load. Here is the importance of achieving optimal components in terms of internal composition, and thus, emphasizing global physical improvement, to transfer it to the specificity of exercise.
Work all the variants
Not only in previously mentioned implements, but also in working angles or opening and positioning of the hands. This will not only provide the variability factor providing a broader improvement, but also reinforce some muscles with greater specificity than others. In addition, over time, you will be able to do more push-ups and vary your training routines.
For experts in ‘Push-up’
If, on the other hand, you are good practitioners and you reach a good number of repetitions, we recommend applying more complex variants that will help you break the monotony of bending, such as:
- With support in bosu -Instability-.
- At maximum execution speed concentric in power and with ‘flight phase’.
- With a separate lower limb for support to increase core work.
- With one hand if you are experts in the field, try it in the purest Van Dammed style.
- With movements allowed by the joint capsules inherent to the action, frontal or lateral advances.
Evolve push-up training to avoid stagnation . Perhaps, unknowingly, within you a creative mind capable of molding new variants. Enjoy the exercise freely, this will give you greater motivation to continue the practice and feel alive. After all, that’s what it’s all about.