Do Push Ups Correctly and You Won’t Screw Up Your Shoulders

Push-UpsIt’s probably the most common exercise known to man; the simple push up is so basic yet can rev up your muscles and get the job done without any machines or equipment.

The motivation for the this post comes from my own recent experience in which I decided that I would start my day with a few push ups immediately after getting out of bed.  I figured there was no better kickstart to the day than getting some push ups in and getting the blood flowing from the get go.  I started simple with 10, then 12, then after a while 15, and finally 20 as my strength continued to build.  Then a bit of a nuisance (pain in the ass) started up and it was just enough to interfere with my progress; that pain in the ass was shoulder pain.

It wasn’t a major sharp pain that made me feel like I tore or injured anything, but more of an ache in the morning that was JUST enough to piss me off.  I hadn’t done any strenuous shoulder workouts therefore I couldn’t figure out why this damn ache wouldn’t go away, then it hit me: the push ups!  What I came to realize after doing some research and finding some excellent info like this article from is that even a slightly wrong form can be very counterproductive.

Related: The Fitness Benefits of Basic Push Ups

Basically when doing push ups, my elbows were going outward (very common)  at a 90 degree angle  which was making my shoulders do the majority of the work and most likely straining my rotator cuff.  The trick here is to keep your elbows closer to your body which allows your triceps, shoulders, chest etc. to all work together and not put the strain in just one place.  I made this little tweak to my push up regimen, and now the ache is just about gone and I’m back on track!

Of course this is just one experience with improper push up form, but there is much more to keep in mind as far as keeping your body aligned and even making sure your hands are placed correctly to make sure you are performing an optimal push up.

So do your research, get your form down, and then get to doing those push ups with your elbows close to your body if you’re looking to light a little fire under your ass in the morning!

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