Exercises You Should Be Doing: Hand Switches w/ Push-Up

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What Is It: Hand Switches w/ Push-Up

Who Did I Steal It From: I can’t remember, so I’m claiming this mofo.

What Does It Do: This is actually a pretty versatile movement since it could be used as either part of a general warm-up or as part of an actual training program. I like this particular exercise because I get a lot of “bang for my training buck,” with regards to:

1. Core Activation (from an anterior/posterior perspective). As I have said on numerous occasions, push-up variations are a fantastic way to learn to engage the “core” musculature. Here we’re trying to have as little movement in the lumbo-pelvic-hip area as possible. Likewise, once a trainee learns to engage these muscles, it’s almost inevitable that their numbers will go up on other lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench, DB isolation bicep curls; you know the important one’s that make chicks want to hang out with you).

2. Serratus Anterior Activation: In conjunction with the upper trapezius and lower trapezius, the serratus anterior plays a crucial role in scapular “upward” rotation. Of the typical 180 degrees of overhead reach in a healthy shoulder, the scapulae’s upward rotation is responsible for about 60 degrees of it. As you can surmise, many trainees lack this upward rotation (also called scapular downward rotation syndrome), due to weak/inhibited upward rotators- as well as tight/overactive downward rotators: levator scapulae, rhomboids, pec minor. As a result, impingement syndromes develop and you have an ouchie.

3. General Conditioning: do this for 30-45 seconds and tell me your heartrate doesn’t skyrocket.

Key Coaching Cues: As stated above, you want to try to stay as “stable” as possible, and limit excessive movement in the general hip area. Furthermore, as is the case anytime you perform a push-up, chin should stay tucked and the back should say in a nice “neutral” position. I’m not too concerned with speed on these, but certainly as one gets more proficient, he/she can pick up the pace a bit.

Preferentially, I like to do these for timed sets of 30-45 seconds. However, you could also shoot for a specific number per side- say 5 repetitions per.

Of note, Rehbands around the ankles are totally optional. Just sayin.

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