Most of you out there do pushups, right? Perhaps not all the time or even some of the time!  Maybe just once in a blue moon or is it more like "no more than I have to"?  I believe this article is is good for all of us to have a quick look through, regardless of the frequency in which you do a pushup!  So with out further delay......

 This is pretty good example of a good pushup position:  The head is in a neutral position and the back is pretty straight.

This is pretty good example of a good pushup position:  The head is in a neutral position and the back is pretty straight.

    So whats the proper posture for a good pushups?  There are numerous different ways of doing a pushup; hands and feet, hands and knees, one handed, on an incline, against the wall, etc.  I won't be speaking to that aspect of the push up today.  What I want to discuss is the hand's role in the pushup.  The "hand" you say?  Yes!  The hand is a very often overlooked aspect of the pushup.  This is unfortunate due to the important role it plays in setting up the shoulder to be in a good position.  I find many times patients, when asked to perform pushups, pay no attention to their hand placement and engagement when setting up for a pushup.  Many complain of the discomfort in the back of the hand where the wrist and forearm meet.  Generally the hand is just thrown on the ground, the arm is extended and pushups are commenced.  The thing people are neglecting to acknowledge is the importance of an "anchor".  In order to properly move we must be anchored to the ground.  In the case of the pushup, our anchor are our hands, the feet not so much.  The engagement of the hand into the floor or wall is where the pushup gets a good start.

 If you look closely you can see that his head is in extension and the shoulder blades are flaring off the back, a little.

If you look closely you can see that his head is in extension and the shoulder blades are flaring off the back, a little.

    So to get down to the nitty-gritty:  When performing a properly stabilized and activated pushup the hand should be fully loaded and in line with the extended arm in the same plane.  The fingers should be extended and pressing into the ground (you should see some white in all the finger across the knuckles or fingernails).  The whole hand should be pushing away from the floor (usually relieving that pain in the back of the wrist).  The base of the hand should be equally loaded on both sides, most people escape and allow the hand to roll away from the thumb, putting most of the load on one side of the hand.  The crease of the elbow should be showing up towards the wall in front of you.  This brings the arm into external rotation, helping to put the shoulder in a centrated position.  The shoulder should not be elevated towards the ears but it should feel like its being pulled down the back towards the buttocks.  The head should not be extended (looking up) but in a neutral position.  The shoulder blades should be flat against the rib cage, there shouldn't be any winging or flaring away from the torso.  There shouldn't be any rounding of the back, up or down, the back should be flat.    

 Here you can see how the hands not fully loaded, bent medially (inwards) at the wrist and the fingers are loosely placed on the ground.

Here you can see how the hands not fully loaded, bent medially (inwards) at the wrist and the fingers are loosely placed on the ground.

    I'm aware there were a few things I left out in my description; where to put my hands (wide or narrow), split or together legs, knees up or down, etc.. These are variables that may change based on individual ability due to any number of variables.  The points I noted above are the checklist that applies to all: young or old, boy or girl.  With these things accounted for you will be better prepared to maintain shoulder stability and increase muscle efficiency with your workouts.

   If for any reason any of these points are confusing or unclear, please schedule your complimentary 15 minute consultation with us to go over any of the information.  I hope you were able to find at least one gem from this article that helps you understand the dynamics of the shoulder as these variables apply to any shoulder motion that involves weight bearing.

 Although this is not a push position (The bear stance) You can see the similarities in the shoulders: hands straight and flat, fingers spread, shoulders and back flat, neck in a neutral position. an overall good stable stance to do some pushups.

Although this is not a push position (The bear stance) You can see the similarities in the shoulders: hands straight and flat, fingers spread, shoulders and back flat, neck in a neutral position. an overall good stable stance to do some pushups.