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Push It! Push It REAL GOOD!

Thoughtful Thursday – Pushing Motions

Hey y’all! Tempo Training and Performance is back with another edition of Thoughtful Thursday, a blog where we help give you more information on form, technique, injury prevention, workout advice, or anything else that has to do with running and triathlons. Today is the fifth blog in our mini - series on strength training for endurance athletes. Today we are going to talk about the motion of pushing, what it is, why it’s important, and lastly how to perform one example of this exercise. Here we go!

What is the pushing motion?

The pushing motion is any movement that pushes the weight away from your body. Pretty simple right? A few examples of pushing movements include bench press, push ups, and overhead press. These movements target primarily the muscles in our chest and are important for us as endurance athletes.

Why is the pushing movement so important?

This is a great question as most runners, cyclists, and triathletes are not trying to max out our bench press. The pushing movement is really helpful because it helps us have good, general strength, but it also helps keep us stay balanced at the shoulder joint. What do I mean by balance at the shoulder joint? Well in every joint in our body we have muscles that work on both sides of the joint. If the muscles on one side get too strong, short, or stiff, it can cause increased risk for injury, pain, and improper movement at the joint. At the shoulder, these pushing motions help to balance out the pulling motions that we discussed last week. By maintaining good muscle balance across the joint, we are able to have better posture, improved movement at the shoulder joint, create more power during swimming, and have less injury. So while this is not necessarily an overly specific movement for our sports of running, cycling, and swimming, it is vital to ensuring good posture and movement at the shoulder joint.

Set up for the Over Head Press

Now that we’ve talked about why the pushing motion is so important, I’m going to walk through one pushing motion that you can do and how to perform it safely and effectively.

This exercise is called the overhead press and it is a great exercise to implement into your weekly gym routine.

1. Grab yourself a set of dumbbells. I usually start on the lighter end somewhere between 5-15 pounds is usually pretty good to get started.

2. Curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders and then rotate your arms so your palms are facing away from you.

3. Pull your belly button in toward your spine and create a nice, tight core and a flat back to maintain throughout the exercise.

4. Next, push the dumbbells straight up over your head, keeping them in a straight line just in front of your ears.

5. Push the weights up until your elbows are straight and then slowly lower them back down to your shoulders.

6. Repeat this motion for 8-10 repetitions and then set the dumbbells down to rest befor the next set.

How often should I implement pushing motions into my training plan?

Like most other movements, the pushing motion (push ups, bench press, overhead press) is a motion that should be performed every time you strength train. I would also recommend that you add in 1 pushing motion for every 2-3 pulling motions that you perform. This again, is because so much of our activity throughout the day contributes to a forward, flexed posture, and doing a lot of pushing motions can further exacerbate this problem. By performing fewer pushing motions than pulling motions we can help improve our posture and decrease our risk for injury. For endurance athletes, I recommend strength training 1-2 times per week, performing 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions with 60-90 seconds rest between sets.

Well guys, that’s how you perform the overhead press exercise and why pushing motions are so important. If you liked this blog please share this out to someone who needs to hear this and make sure to watch the technique Tuesday video on proper form for dumbbell overhead press here:

For the 5 dynamic warm up exercises for runners click here:

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Until next time,


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