When it comes to developing and improving functional upper-body and core strength, Kneeling Push-Ups are not a safe and effective way to train. They not only set you up to make little or no progress in upper-body strength, they may even exacerbate pain and injuries in the lower back and shoulders.
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If you think the Kneeling Push-Up is the preferred method for simplifying the Push-Up for females and novice strength trainees, you’re wrong. By bending the knees and putting them (instead of the feet) in contact with the ground, a few key problems arise.
First, the Kneeling Push-Up alters the tension and connection of the full-body kinetic chain, stressing the lower back, pelvis and anterior shoulders and predisposing you to pain and injury in the process. Simply put, bending the knees negatively alters an athlete’s position, hurts the ability to properly brace the glutes, core and shoulders, and diminishes a strong and stable full-body tension.
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While the Kneeling Push-Up is not the correct regression off the Push-Up, simply faking a Push-Up is no good for your spinal alignment either. Continuing to place your body in a harmful position for the sake of adding reps to your totals is not an acceptable way to progress strength and functionality.
What’s the answer?
The quick and easy way to make notable progress in strength, body composition and functionality is intelligently using and progressing the Hand-Elevated Push-Up. This variation will yield results without promoting the aches, pains and poor positions associated with the Kneeling Push-Up.
By simply placing your hands on an elevated surface such as a plyometric box, a bar in the squat rack, or the bar in the Smith machine, you can learn how to properly brace your entire pillar (shoulders, core and hips) while training the horizontal pushing movement in the process. Over time, lowering the height of the bar or box creates a progression to the movement.
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As long as an athlete can properly maintain great tension and spinal alignment throughout the course of every rep in a set, he or she will eventually be able to get the hands back on the ground and to start executing perfect Push-Ups that will create a solid foundation of strength and function for the long run.