Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Push-ups are an excellent exercise, I think there’s no question about it. They’re awesome at building upper body chest, shoulder, and tricep strength, and even work a surprising amount of core stability. If you don’t believe me, pop on over to Missy’s article about why you should never do push-ups on your knees. She goes into a lot of detail specifically about how just staying on your toes can help increase core strength. HOWEVER, if we’re not doing push-ups right they can slowly wear away at your shoulder, create or worsen bad posture, and eventually lead to an injury. We NEED to make sure we’re doing our push-ups correctly or they might be doing more harm than good. And it all comes down to HAND PLACEMENT. You might hear your coaches harp over and over about
staying on top of your hands, bring your thumbs to your armpits, lead with your chest, keep your head up, ALL that annoying jazz. But guess what, THEY’RE RIGHT! In a good push-up, your hands are placed directly under your shoulders. NOT in front of your face, and especially not above your head. RIGHT. UNDER. YOUR. SHOULDERS. If your hands are too high it’ll put pressure on your shoulders that will slowly cause injury. If you want to avoid a shoulder injury, your hands need to be under your shoulders. Here’s a great little tool you can use to teach yourself exactly where your hands go. Walk up to a wall. Now, push the wall over. Don’t overthink it, just try your best to push over the wall. Where are your hands? Chances are, they’re ri
ght under your shoulders. Your elbows are probably tucked in slightly, and there’s no pressure on your arms that are going to wear them out. Why did that happen? A push is a push, no matter if your vertical, horizontal, using dumbells, or whatever. A push is a push. So if you stop overthinking, your hands naturally go to where they’re going to produce the most power, which also happens to be the safest place for your shoulders. A push-up is unique where your core is involved. We compensate for a weak core by moving our hands forward, sacrificing our shoulders. If you want a full benefit of a push-up, KEEP FORM. Keep your hands underneath your shoulders, and go down as low as you can, even if it’s not very far. You’ll work your core more, you’l
l engage your shoulders more, AND you’ll stay safe.