The new gen­er­a­tion of hy­dra­tion

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FUNC­TION: PLY­O­MET­RIC PUSH UP

Re­ac­tive power might not seem im­por­tant for the chest since we don’t typ­i­cally run, sprint or jump on our hands, but de­vel­op­ing power in the chest, shoul­ders and tri­ceps can fa­cil­i­tate ev­ery­thing from throw­ing to pass­ing to punch­ing. Us­ing ply­o­met­rics to train this skill might seem like a co­nun­drum for the up­per body, since plyos are es­sen­tially jump train­ing. But here, a ply­o­met­ric push-up makes sense be­cause it doesn’t re­quire any ex­tra equip­ment and can be scaled back to be done on the knees, if needed. Po­si­tion this ex­er­cise at the be­gin­ning of your rou­tine when you’re fresh­est.

Start in a push-up po­si­tion with your body in a straight line from head to heels and your hands po­si­tioned just out­side shoul­der-width apart, el­bows point­ing back­ward. Don’t let your el­bows flare out be­cause this will lift your shoul­ders, put­ting stress on your ro­ta­tor cuff ten­dons.

Brace your core to keep your hips in po­si­tion, then bend your el­bows to lower your­self un­til your chest is a few inches above the floor and your el­bows are bent out and back at an an­gle, like a cap­i­tal let­ter “A.” If your el­bows are too wide, it could stress your shoul­ders; if they are too close to your sides, it will re­duce the em­pha­sis on your pecs.

Quickly change di­rec­tion by force­fully push­ing up and away from the floor as fast as pos­si­ble and with enough power to mo­men­tar­ily catch air. Make sure your body stays in a straight line from head to heels — don’t let your back arch or your hips come up to cheat.

Catch your­self on the way down with bent el­bows, about half­way into the next rep so that you ab­sorb the re­ac­tionary forces with your mus­cles in­stead of your joints and ten­dons. Slow your­self down and re­set be­fore the next rep to train your smaller sta­bi­liz­ing mus­cles to en­gage and de­cel­er­ate your body­weight.

Ex­hale with each pow­er­ful push off the floor to keep your abs en­gaged, thereby sup­port­ing your spine, and keep your gaze on the floor a few inches in front of your hands.

This move also can be done from your knees, but be­cause there is a smaller range of mo­tion, it will be quicker. Be ready to catch your­self on the de­scent.

A ply­o­met­ric push-up helps de­velop re­ac­tive power.

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