3 Cues for a Proper PUSH UP: protect your shoulders, wrists and elbows

3 Cues for a Proper PUSH UP: protect your shoulders, wrists and elbows


I’m Dr. Lance von Stade and today I’m going to show you a push-up variation that I think increases its sustainability and effectiveness as a strengthening tool traditionally a push-up when it’s done incorrectly can be one of the most dangerous exercises you can do for the shoulder, a lot of people end up with triceps tendinitis because they use the elbow incorrectly, i’m going to give you a few cues that help you wrap your body in stability and then distribute the force of gravity into your entire body so it’s not just a push up with your upper body but you’re incorporating everything you have. So from here, the 3 cues I want you to recognize are that the push-up is basically like a spiraling punch so you want to have some external and internal rotation coming from the shoulder joint you want your elbow to be kicking in towards you and then coming away and your hand you want to actually be pronating into the floor so that whole motion goes into the ground first thing most people when they come to where they put pressure on their hands is only on the outside of the hand and that all the way into that first knuckle at the base of the index finger the reason for this is a lot of times they don’t have the full range of motion required at the wrist so that might be a prerequisite for you and we’ll shoot a wrist mobility video for you but if you can do that or even attempt to do that even if you can’t get that the finger all the way to the floor just by protonating the wrist you’re gonna be turning on more of your pec major that muscle that comes in and connects into your abs so that as you do your decompression breath and push through that knuckle you’re going to feel your your shoulder joint connect into your core you’re probably going to start to shake a little bit that’s exactly what you want you want to be laying down new neural patterns that are building to dynamic stability as you do this motion so push into that first knuckle and also as you do that drive those two pieces those two knuckles toward each other as you’re pulling toward each other you’re connecting into your core with this one connecting in your core with that one that’s really where you’re going to feel the shake and make sure you’re getting bilateral motion and strength the next piece is a lot of times that people do the push-up their elbows kick straight back or straight out and this grinds the triceps tendon like i mentioned or puts a lot of stress on the bicep tendon at the top of the shoulder so what you want to do is watch my feet as I come down my elbow is going to move very little i might hinge a little bit just to clear out and get that coupled motion but my feet are going to what’s called plantar flex or point the toes down and on the way up I’m going to dorsiflex so as I go down my feet point and then on the way up they come back and you’ll notice my elbow does bend a little bit but it’s only a little bit and then most of motions coming from my shoulder joint and the entire time my spine doesn’t move ok the last piece is recognizing that because of that spiraling punch nature a lot of times people will have the elbow only going in one direction straight back or straight out we want it to actually bend and then whip into our body and then come back out just like it would if I was going to throw a punch it would follow that trajectory so from here i’m pushing into the first knuckle of my hand driving those toward each other as I come down the plantar flex my feet on the way up dorsiflex my feet and the nice piece is my elbows bend and as I go down they whip into my body and then come back out, out whip in and then back out ok so after you apply those 3 cues the first knuckle going into the floor and toward each other plantar flexing the toes of you go down and dorsiflexing on the way up and then having that spiraling punch nature you will experience a push-up that you’ve never experienced before this is a very sustainable way to do the push-up however make sure you modify the intensity by changing the angle that your body sits at, and if this is the first time you’ve ever done a push-up or you want to start from scratch and just really feel it starting a countertop or maybe a coffee table or aerobic step and you can get down to doing it flat on the floor or if you want to make it even more intense or hit different groups of muscles more inclined can be added when you elevate your feet so enjoy that make sure you decompress your spine if you haven’t heard that concept check out our previous video and again if you need some wrist mobility action we’ll have a video and to you soon enjoy

15 thoughts on “3 Cues for a Proper PUSH UP: protect your shoulders, wrists and elbows

  1. Yeah, I am surprised no one commented. Excellent tips. This video along with @bodytribe and @gmb videos is one of the best I have ever seen.

  2. Hello! Dr. Lance, thank you very much! you are the only one help me about push up.
    When I push up lower than 120 degrees, I feel my elbow pain. Then I do what you do about push up, my elbow don't feel pain. Thank you!
    I have one question. This motion requires the feet to move body. Does this motion mean we use less strength to push?
    For example, I push 150 pounds of body weight during traditional push up.
    I push 120 pounds of body weight during the push up that you suggest to do.

  3. Excuse me, what is the meaning of first knuckle going into the floor and toward each other? Do you mean mainly using index finger to push up? Thank you very much!

  4. Great video. Unfortunately I looked it up after doing the push up improperly! Any tips to recover from sore scalenes? (This is always my problem! – I hope to apply the principles in the video next time)

  5. I have SLAP repair failures in both shoulders. I saw five PT's in two years and was never able to progress- constant pain. I nothing but dream of doing simple , easy calisthenics again. Do you believe it is possible to do push ups even regressed on wall or incline? Any advice?

  6. 2:40 I tried this, in combination with starting my shoulders slightly ahead of my wrists, and I injured my upper back slightly. Perhaps I was too far forward?

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