This week in yoga, Pilates and PT sessions we have all been doing variations of the push up. I have given instructions for “inner elbows forward, elbows move directly back, body moves close to the arms” Why? Because this puts your shoulders in a stable, natural and healthy position, therefore lowering the chances of an injury occurring. Press ups with wide hands and elbows to the sides put a huge pressure on the tissue structure as well as the ligaments and shoulder joint. Taking the elbows directly back is a little harder but you will reap the rewards of healthy shoulders and strong toned triceps ( back of the upper arm) if you keep at it. Overtime the more you practice, the more strength you will build and the easier pushups will become. So remember when practising at home – always keep your elbows close to your body. If you find you cannot support your whole bodyweight at first you can take the knees down. Make things even easier by practicing against a window ledge or kitchen counter – the body is in a plank and elbows move directly back just as in the floor based version.
Why are we doing push-ups anyway? Good question – push-ups primarily work the large chest muscles as well as the triceps. But they are in-fact a great full body exercise as muscles through the abdominals, back, glutes and legs are involved in stabilising the body in a straight line while the arms, chest and shoulder do lots of work to move the body up and down through the full motion of the push-up.