Balance Out Your Pushup Workouts by Stew Smith
People who exercise and those who do not, often neglect the upper back and rear shoulder muscles. Life has a way of bowing your upper back and rolling your shoulders forward. In technical terms, we are basically “internally rotated” within the shoulder girdle. Many things in life “internally rotate” us such as driving, sitting at a computer, playing video games, texting, carrying backpacks, bench pressing, pushups, situps and many more exercises and daily life events. So posture is critical to performance and our confidence. Perfect Posture is possible by adding in a few daily exercises for only a few minutes.
Basically, every “push” workout you do should be balanced out with a “pull” type of workout. You can do pull-ups to help balance out your pushups as well as supplemental daily exercises like the following:
Upper back exercise #1 – (Reverse pushups) – Lie on your stomach in the down pushup position. Lift your hands off the floor 2-3 inches instead of pushing the floor. This will strengthen your upper back muscles that balance out the chest muscles. Do 20-30 reps. Rear deltoids and rhomboids are the muscles used.
Upper back exercise #2 – (Birds) Lie on your stomach with your arms spread to the height of your shoulders. Lift both arms off the floor until your shoulder blades “pinch” and place them slowly in the down position. Repeat for 20-30 repetitions mimicking a bird flying.
This simple 3-4 minute program will help you keep your spine in proper alignment and fortify your delicate shoulder girdle. If you neglect these smaller muscles of the upper back and rear shoulder, all it will take is a fun toss of a football, baseball, or over head smash of a volleyball and your rotator cuff muscles will be talking to you immediately.
STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.