2 Ways To Push Train
Pupupupush it reallll gooooddd… okay now that we got that out of the way we can talk about push training
Pushing is one of the six foundational movement patterns that we should be training twice a week. It is what we do when we reach for something overhead or in front of us.
If you’re a dude reading this I don’t need to tell you that your international chest day(Monday) routine bench press is a push. But we can take the opportunity to dive deeper, which brings me to the topic of horizontal push training.
Horizontal push training is what we do when we do a push-up, bench press, KB floor press, cable chest press, etc. Now, for this type of pressing, we want to keep in mind a couple of principles to protect our shoulders from injuries and to optimize our training.
So we will use a push-up as an example. When we're setting up for the push-up (or any horizontal push) we want our palms to align with our shoulders. The simplest way to do this is just laying flat on your belly and placing the palms right next to the chest or right next to the nipples to be exact. From here before we do anything we're going to pinch the two shoulder blades back, keeping the shoulders back will keep that socket in place and minimize the risk of injuries. When that is set, the next thing you’re going to do is squeeze your glutes for your life. Say what? Glutes training on chest day? Yes, this will stabilize you and fire up your whole core. Okay, now that we've got our shoulders back and our glutes squeezed we can begin to push. As you are pushing the ground away from you, you want to keep a 45-degree angle on your armpits. Elbows will come to a full extension and now you will find yourself at the top of the push-up. Once there, come down and bend both elbows to a 90-degree angle. It's important to keep a straight spine during this, so this means if your chest is facing the floor your nose should be facing the floor. Lastly your breathing, you will take a breath when you come down and take a quick breath out when you push up. And there you have it...the push-up! Who knew there would be so many components to this. But once you have mastered this, ALL these principles will apply to the rest of your horizontal training (bench, cables chest press, machine chest press, floor press)
Okay, hopefully, I didn’t bore you too much with the “simple” push-up.
Now we can dive into vertical push training.
When we're talking about vertical push training, we're talking about shoulder presses, front/lateral raises, overhead ball tosses, even a very decline/incline chest press.
We will use the shoulder press as an example. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using dumbbells or kettlebells, the same principles apply.
We start with our rack (holding the dumbbell/kettlebell up) the rack is the position you need to be in before you press overhead. Side note * if you can’t hold the rack for 30 seconds, you shouldn't be pressing it. When we are in our rack your knuckles should be facing the roof and your elbows should be tucked into your ribs. Any bending of the wrist will automatically make you weaker as you will be leaking energy. After that, we want to make sure our shoulder blades are pinched back and our spine is straight therefore if your chest is facing forward so should your nose. Okay, we are ready to press .. just kidding don’t forget the glutes, right before pressing we're going to squeeze the glutes. Once that is done is time to get the iron up.
You will start the lift by opening your elbow as you press the weight up. At the top of the movement make sure that your elbow is locked and that the palm is facing forward. As you start bringing the weight down, you will start bringing the elbow back to the rib. That will always be your ques, start with the elbow tucked into the ribs, open up the elbow as you press and bring the elbow back to ribs as you come back down. This principle will apply to most if not all vertical push training. Whether you're using cables, machines, dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells.Whether you're using one arm or two.
To conclude make sure you have a straight spine by facing your nose wherever your chest is facing. Always keep your shoulder blades pinched back together alongside with your glutes being squeezed. Keep a 45-degree angle on all of your horizontal push training and always start and finish any vertical pressing with the elbow tucked into the ribs. Now go out there and maximize your push training gains.
Below is a video tutorial on how to perform a kettlebell overhead press