When it comes to moving weights around, there are two basic movements: push and pull. Pulling movements involve pull-ups, cleans and rowing. In this article, we’re focusing on your push, with some solid advice on how to improve your pushing power, so that it’ll transfer into whatever sports of activities you’re into.
Who this article will benefit:
- Obstacle course runners
- Martial artists
- Anyone looking to improve pushing and pressing
Really, anyone whose sport or training involves pushing themselves, heavy kit or other people, around. A great way of ensuring you can do these exercises whenever you want is to invest in a set of adjustable dumbbells, this way there are no excuses.
A note on creatine: Creatine is used by your body to increase explosiveness and raw strength. It’s one of the most tested supplements in the world, and can safely be taken with water or mixed with other supplements, on a daily basis.
Most standing presses will involve some kind of hip or leg drive, naturally. Push press, push jerk, or just getting the weight overhead any which way, is easier with a little help from down below. To build even more strength through the shoulders, however, you need to isolate them, make them do the work.
- Using a weighted barbell or dumbbells in a front-rack position, set your feet underneath your shoulders
- Tighten your abs and glutes and push through the shoulders
- Push straight up, and as soon as you’re able, push your head through your arms, to maintain a straight line
- Do not use your legs to jump the weight up
Building sheer muscle mass can obviously help with increasing your pushing power, too. That usually means supplements such as whey protein powder.
Handstand Hold and Handstand Push-up
Again, we’re looking for shoulder and back strength, so try and avoid kipping (kipping means using your hips to create momentum.)
For the handstand hold, kick up into a handstand against a wall. If that’s too difficult, try placing your knees or feet onto a box or bench, in a pike position. Press down into the floor, pressing your head through your shoulders. Hold for 20 seconds.
Form on the handstand push-up:
- Hands are just wider than shoulders, fingers turned out very slightly
- Glutes and abs are tight as you lower your head to the floor
- As soon as your head touches the floor, drive as hard as you can through your shoulders. Don’t hang out at the bottom.
What can we really tell you about push-ups? Just do more of them. Don’t let your hips sag. Lower straight down until your chest touches the floor. Arms should be tucked in, with elbows close to your sides, not out wide.
Recommended 35-minute push workout
Like all things fitness, your push will get better the more you work it. Give this a try once or twice a week, and take notice of how your numbers improve.
Every minute on the minute for 35 minutes: (essentially 8 rounds of each)
Minute 1: 5 strict press
Minute 2: Max push-ups in 30 seconds
Minute 3: 20 second handstand hold
Minute 4: Max air squats in 30 seconds (recovery)