Today I would like to show you a cool way to improve your alignment when performing push ups.
In Pilates and Yoga we do push ups with our elbows close to the body (aka narrow push-ups), vs. sticking out to the sides, like in other sports. The reason for this is, that we want to strengthen the muscles that help us with our everyday posture, i.e. the serratus anterior and others.
Remember that the goal of Pilates is never to strengthen one particular muscle by itself, but always to connect all systems of the body, so they work together effortlessly and effectively, like a great team anywhere!
You will need a yoga strap and a yoga block for this exercise.
- Prepare the yoga strap by making a loop that is outer shoulder distance wide. Put your arms through the strap and bring the strap to your upper arms, above the elbows. When you put your arms through the strap you should still be able to get the inside of your arms to slide against your ribcage.
- Next, place the yoga block horizontally at the highest level on your mat. With the strap on the upper arms, just above the elbows come onto hands and knees. Reach your shoulders back, chest forward and press outward against the strap a little so that it doesn’t slide down.
- Step into plank position.
- Press back into your heels and tighten your quads so you are pressing your thighs up to the ceiling. When we come into the push up you will shift the weight forward and press the weight all the way into your toes.
Reminder: Heart forward and shoulders back.
- Bend your elbows until your ribcage is hanging in the strap like a hammock. This teaches you how far down you should go. The strap is going to prevent you from bringing your elbows too far back so they will stay nice and close to the torso. Here you can also rest your pelvis or thighs on the block.
- On your exhale, straighten your arms and press all the way back into your heels, until the shoulders are stacked over wrists again.
- Reach your heart forward as you shift the weight forward for the next push-up.
- Inhale to bend your elbows and let your chest rest on the strap. Your thighs rest on the block.
- When you come back up, shift the weight all the way back so that your shoulders are again over the wrists.
I recommend practicing this regularly (how about daily), until you are sure that your shoulders do not creap up to your ears during the movement. The next step would be doing this exercise without the block, but still using the strap. This way you will have to "carry" our whole body weight on your arms and core.
I hope you enjoyed this little tip. Have fun practicing and getting a little stronger!
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!