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34. The Push Up


Whoa! We made it. Last one, #34. For those of you who were with me from the hundred, it's been quite a journey. For those who boarded the train halfway through, don't worry. I'll most likely start from the beginning again or hit the hightlights, at least. 


I like to combine the push up with a standing roll down (and planks, side planks, reverse planks) to end a Pilates session or as cool-down from a longer run/bike ride or a quick movement session on days where that's all I can fit in. The Pilates push up is essentially a triceps push up, but you could do a regular push up with hands wider, if you want. Every Pilates session taught by Jamie involves some sort of spine articulation into flexion, roll down in sitting, standing, cat/camel, bridge, pelvic tilt (assuming it is safe for the spine). Standing roll down is frequent flier. The push up is less commonly used in the game plan. There is always weight bearing through the upper extremity (injury permitting), but less often in the push up form. Not appropriate for those with osteoporosis, some shoulder, neck, low back issues or those with glaucoma, vertigo, careful with high blood pressure. 


Click here for Push up VIDEO


Classical start: standing with spine curled forward, hands on the floor/reaching towards the floor. 

Recommended start: standing feet shoulder width apart, knees soft, arms at sides. 


1. Exhale soften through the sternum to peel your spine off an imaginary wall one vertebrae at a time. Inhale at the bottom, tip pelvis towards your nose to roll back up. Or head to step 2 for walk out to The Push Up.


2. Bend knees to get hands to the floor if needbe. Inhale walk hands away from feet out to plank position (with wrists beneath shoulders and ears/shoulders/hips ankles all in the same plane)


3. Exhale bend elbows, keeping them close to your side to lower body towards the floor


4. Inhale straighten elbows back to plank position. Can repeat for 5-10 reps or continue to step 5. 


5 Exhale to walk hands back to feet. Tip pubice bone towards nose to roll back up to standing one vertebrae at a time. Repeat whole sequence 3-6 times with/without push ups. 





To decrease neck tension: access the muscles on the outside/lateral border of the shoulder blades near the armpits to keep shoulder blades away from spine. Do not jut chin towards floor, stay long through the back of the neck.


To improve lumbar stability: slightly tip pubic bone towards nose.


To improve overall efficiency of the exercise: connect base of skull all the way to feet on the back side of the body


Modifications: roll down only, push up only, push up with hands shoulder width apart, push up with hands on counter/stair/bath tub/any sturdy raised surface (not a fan of kneeling push ups), use hex dumbbells or push up handles for sore wrists, decrease range of motion at the elbow. 

--Kneeling push-ups are not my first choice to modified the push-up. The full body connection is lost when you bend your knees. Functionally we aren't on knees at this angle for often or ever. Your bod needs to be able to stabilize head to toe, since we are on our feet more often than knees. Much prefer the push up from a countertop, stairs, bath tub or other sturdy raised surface. 

--The Pilates push up feels a little odd or off when using push up bars or dumbbells. 

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