Do Your Push-Ups

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Click the play button below and close your eyes.

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I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t figure out if I was listening to a human being or an elephant giving birth to a mack truck. Poor Terri Hatcher.

And speaking of things that make your ears bleed, just the other day I overheard some personal trainer explain to his client that “you don’t need to train the core- doing heavy squats and deadlifts is all you’ll need.” While I applaud the fact that he’s advocating squats and deadlifts (that’s refreshing actually), to say that those two movements alone are all a trainee needs to train his or her “core” is a gross understatement.

Matter of fact, as Alwyn Cosgrove pointed out a few weeks ago in a presentation he was giving on “21st Century Fitness Programming,” push-ups are actually superior to squats and/or deadlifts in activating the rectus abdominus and external obliques. This according to a McBride, et al, 2006 unpublished study.

Push-ups tend to get thrown under-the-bus and deemed too easy or too wimpy to include in any programming. I often find this comical since most trainees I come across can’t even perform ten push-ups, let alone perform them correctly.

Push-ups are a staple in most of the programs that I write. I like the fact that push-ups are a closed chain movement (hands do not move) and allow for a bit more wiggle room for the scapulae (shoulder blades) to move. Conversely, bench press variations are considered open chained (hands move) and “fix” the scapulae into one position, which isn’t a great scenario for those with a history of shoulder issues. Side note: it’s been said that roughly 90% of all shoulder pathologies can be attributed to some form of dysfunction in the scapulae. I’ll often replace all benching with more rowing variations, and a healthy dose of push-ups.

And as Alwyn mentioned in his presentation, push-ups are also a great way to train the core. One of my favorite variations are band resisted push-ups:

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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