Training for the Perfect Push Up

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The Perfect Push Up Training

Understanding why and how to achieve the perfect push up is something few fitness enthusiasts, as well as many fitness professionals, really know. For many, a push up is one of those boring body weight exercises that is done only when the bench press or chest press machine is not available.

In reality, when a perfect push up is performed regularly it is the best exercise to sculpt the chest and effectively tie it into the abdominals and large lat muscles.

Benefits of a Perfect Push Up

When muscle size is the goal, it’s crucial to remember that what matters more than the weight lifted is the level of exertion your muscles experience.

Building muscle is largely (but not completely) a product of doing whatever it takes to fatigue and exhaust those muscles which requires volume and resistance. Adding a single band to a push up workout that requires doing 10 sets of 10 will build muscle.

The plus in doing this over a bench press is that the shoulder blade is able to freely move. This will decrease pressure on the rotator cuff and activate the #1 stabilizer of the shoulder blade which is the serratus anterior.

Push ups are the most shoulder friendly chest development exercise.

During my years as a physical therapist, I found that individuals that injured their rotator cuff muscles were often able to return back to push ups much sooner than any other form of chest dominated exercises. I often wondered why but after giving it some thought, I realized it was because of the floor.

By placing the hand against an immovable structure like the floor, it creates shoulder joint compression which is exactly what the rotator cuff muscles are designed to do. As a result, the ground was actually assisting the rotator cuff in doing its job.

Combining this with the ability of the scapula to move, makes push ups the best shoulder-friendly muscle builder that can be done for years.

How to Make Sure You Are Doing a Perfect Push Up

There is nothing wrong with not being able to do a rock solid push up at first. What’s wrong is not getting better. Everyone had to start somewhere.

When you are first learning a new strength exercise you train with lighter weights. When it comes to learning a perfect push up you can do the same thing by using resistance bands as an assistive tool.

Video 2 0 00 18-21 - perfect push up

Assisted band push ups allow you to apply the optimal resistance that, in turn, allows stabilization of the shoulder blade and trunk to work. These muscles are often inhibited and do not work when the push up is too challenging.

Using a band creates assistance where you may need it the most, deep in the hole, and reduces it where you need it the least, at lockout.

Perfect push up form will create better muscle definition through better recruitment of the chest muscles due to improved core and shoulder blade stabilization development.

Tips to Make Your Perfect Push Up a Reality

Make sure the glutes are set.

This is a component of a push up that is often forgotten. However, by setting the glutes you are able to keep the hips in line with the shoulders making your push up pencil straight. Keeping the body in great alignment will increase recruitment of the chest.

Keep the hands directly under the shoulders.

By keeping your hands directly under your shoulders it will assist in keeping your elbows in and scapula/shoulder blades stable. Elbows that kick out place significant pressure on your shoulders, especially the rotator cuff, while decreasing the mechanical  power of the chest muscles.

Widen your feet for better core stability.

If you are constantly struggling with your lower back collapsing due to poor abdominal/core stabilization, you should use the band for assistance but also widen your feet to increase your base of support.

Programing Your Perfect Push Up Workout

I do not recommend starting out immediately banging out 100 perfect push ups. Instead start out with band rowing variations like squat rows or seated rows or my favorite, high rows.

All of these rowing variations will get that shoulder blade moving, trunk turned on, serratus anterior activated and the shoulder stretched out.

From there, I recommend a 30 on 30 off cycle where you incorporate push ups with another pulling exercise. After 5 sets of each of those exercises, I would go with assisted push up variations that start sculpting the chest.

What’s great about knocking out a workout like this is in the morning your chest will feel sore but your shoulders will feel great.

What Bands Are Needed for Training the Perfect Push Up?

I recommend the Red Small, Black Medium, Purple Large and Green XL bands. Together this set of bands will allow you to progress to ultimately knocking out a perfect push up without assistance.

Once you reach that point, go back to doing more advanced push ups using assistance. Before you know it you will be doing 1 arm Rocky push ups!

Perfect Push Up Package

Medium Single Band Package



Band Utility Strap