Push-ups are a foundational movement that we perform in our daily life in some aspect. The traditional push-up has been taught to be performed in the prone position on your hands and feet, elbows extended and hands directly underneath your shoulders. From there you lower your body towards the floor, and return to the starting position. The ideal mechanics for the push-up, would be that the motion was coming from our elbows and shoulder complex, while the spine and hips maintain neutral alignment.
Looking at push-ups in more real-life application, we discover that the traditional push-up has certain limitations for individuals. The starting position of having hands and feet touching the ground might be too progressive for some, for those individuals assuming a hands and knees position is a better starting point. What we also discover is that in real life very seldom when pushing ourselves off the ground, are our hands in a neutral position. Many times one hand is in front of the other, fingers might be pointing in or out, we might be in a wider than shoulder position or narrower. For these different variable's renowned therapist Gary Gray of the Gray Institute developed the push-up matrix. The video below will demonstrate the push-up from 27 different hand positions. These different hand positions not only create different movement variables, but also create different reactions at the joints and surrounding musculature.
Another thought on the push-up move, in this demo we only tweaked hand positions - imagine integrating various leg drivers as well. That would really integrate the whole body in one movement, wouldn't it!
Jay Morgan, FAFS
Dynamic Health & Fitness