Something I emphasize repeatedly when I talk about pushups or train people to do ’em correctly is the “elbows in” maxim.
We’ve all been sold a bill of goods on what fitness entails and I’ve spoken about this before, but we’ve ALSO been sold a mammoth (and useless) bill on how to do pushups as well.
When you think of pushups, what is the first image that comes to mind?
I’ll bet it’s along the following lines – big, burly dude pounding out reps on the floor, shoulders glistening, arms sweaty, and a massive, barrel like chest that seems to “swell” as he completes each rep (be it in proper form or not).
That last part is key. Most people equate pushups with building purely the chest, and while there is nothing fundamentally wrong with building your pecs and chest area – pushups do far more than that.
Most people do pushups with their arms slightly wider than shoulder width, or a bit more so – and while this variant is OK to do to start off, and even perhaps for a change, it’s NOT by far the best version to do.
I talk about pushups in detail in 0 Excuses Fitness, and while this style of pushup has been mentioned, I also believe I’ve spoken about the importance of “elbows in” pushups in the videos.
(The 0 Excuses Fitness System is available right HERE – – http://0excusesfitness.com/0excusesfitnessystem/).
Pushups, my friend are meant to be done the way boxers and wrestlers do ’em – which is elbows IN – held close to the lats.
Ever see a boxer fight with his arms away from a body? Ever see him throw wild punches that leave a gaping gap between armpit and chest?
I didn’t think so, my friend. The same holds true for martial artists, gymnasts, wrestlers etc. And the same holds true for pushups. You’ll get MAX benefits from holding the arms IN as opposed to “puffing the chest up” with the other movement which is what most people do.
Curiously enough, the “elbows in” variant, despite what most people think works the chest a lot more than the other style – – and it works all the RIGHT areas of the chest – – as opposed to the other style, which works mostly the “show areas”.
Don’t believe me? Well, drop down and give me 50 in perfect form with your elbows held in – and tell me if it works your muscles way more than the other style does.
I’ll bet it does.
And of course, this style works the triceps heavily – which is a key fundamental to bear in mind if you’re interested in building serious strength in any way, shape or form.
You can only develop your upper body to it’s full potential once your triceps (NOT your biceps, as most people think) have been developed to their full potential as well. ‘Tis fact, my friend.
So that’s the tip for this email. “Elbows in” as it were – and if you REALLY have to go wide – go REAL wide – and I’ve explained how to do that as well in the System.
Alright, my friend. That’s it for this email. I’ll be back later!
“Hell raiser el supremo” Rahul Mookerjee
P.S. – If you’re doing dips, make sure the dipping bars aren’t set TOO wide apart. I encountered this problem this morning while training, and could barely get a good stretch in as I normally do. All good though – the other park has got ’em in the right place, and I’ll do ’em there tomorrow!
P.S. #2 – Though dips will build a mammoth chest like looks it’s carved from GRANITE – you need to get better at the fundamentals first. Once you start knocking out 150 plus pushups per workout in less than 12 minutes or so is when you’ll want to start to incorporate these into your routine. Learn how to get into that sort of shape right HERE – – http://0excusesfitness.com/0excusesfitnessystem/