Happy Monday to all and welcome to the newest installation of The Dogma of the Week!
For this blogpost, I’m going to discuss an exercise that is dogmatically thought of as being effective and functional, yet it can be one of the most destructive exercises a person can do. This exercise is the pushup.
At one point in my career, getting clients tired was my main prerogative. What I was finding as I went along through my career as a trainer was that clients would inevitably come to me with some type of pain, laziness, or a complete lack of motivation. This is because I was unaware of the damage I was inflicting upon them over the long term. The pushup was once a staple in my regimen due to how effective it was when it came to getting a client fatigued during a personal training session.
If I felt they weren’t tired enough, I would tell them to do pushups, or I would throw a variation of a pushup into the session so that it would obliterate them during the workout. Subsequently, I began learning about forward head posture, internal shoulder rotation, thoracic flexion and scapular elevation. Luckily, I started to see the link between the new information I was learning and how that associated to the personal training workouts that I was giving my clients and I. I learned the implications of using an exercise like the pushup was compounding the problems of a person involved in a culture that continually promotes sitting while simultaneously stressing. This is because the muscles that are stimulated during the pushup are the same as the ones stimulated at work when you’re sitting at your desk.
If we look at the anatomy of a human body and how it functions optimally in nature, you might notice that a person would not find themselves in a pushup position very often. In fact, most of the positioning a human would be in if they wanted to be successful in nature, would be in a standing position. It is from a standing position that we can walk, throw, sprint, jump, etc. If you train a human to have their body in a position where they are on all four limbs, you are typically going to train them to move in a manner befitting that of our ancestors (eg: monkeys).
The most influential factor that made humans different from our ape ancestors was the fact that we walked on two feet, enabling us to utilize our hands, hence pushing us further into the evolutionary process. If we diverge from these biological inclinations, it is invariably going to lead us into a process of degeneration and dysfunction.
Here is a video of me demonstrating what a pushup may do to your functional capabilities, and an alternative to help you bring your body back into is biologically balanced position. Enjoy!