2017 new fitness journey IV: the push

 

If you’ve followed last week’s advice and mastered the squat, your 2017 fitness journey is already going well, but now it’s time to tackle another vital compound movement:

 

The horizontal/chest push

Whether you are using a barbell, dumbbells or a machine chest-press, the basis for the movement is essentially the same – a push is a push.

 

The secret

It is vital that you only push when your shoulder is in a strong position. This is achieved when you create a slight tension in the upper back by bringing your shoulder blades together. Then, rather than just pushing your arms forward, aim to bring your elbows across your body in a slight arc, trying to get them to touch. On the way back down, make sure you sink your shoulders back to maintain tension in your upper back muscles. By creating tension in your musculature your muscles take the stress of the movement, not your ligaments.

Whether using dumb bells, barbells or machines this is the correct technique of a horizontal push, though of course the arc movement can be most extreme in the case of dumb bells.

When executing a chest press it is vital to ensure your shoulder is correctly positioned. A common mistake is to have the shoulder in “a soft position”. This can lead to pushing primarily through the shoulder tendons, rather than using the muscles, which longer term will lead to shoulder injuries and other impingements, all of which are avoidable and pose unnecessary risks.

 

Not just for men

Women can tend to avoid the chest press, fearing it may develop too much of a masculine physique. This isn’t the case. The chest push should be an integral part of everyone’s training regimen, whether male or female, young or not so young, because this is a fundamental compound movement, part of the very nature of natural movement. Everyone should be able to execute it correctly.

 

The importance of fundamental compound movements

The movements focused upon in these articles need to be implemented in everyone’s training program because these are movement patterns used throughout our daily lives. By practising and improving these movements, on a consistent basis, daily life will be that bit easier, and this will continue to be the case whatever your age.

 

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          About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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