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Balance Out Your Pushup Workouts

Stew Smith, CSCS

People who exercise and those who do not, often neglect the upper back and rear shoulder muscles. Life has a way of bowing your upper back and rolling your shoulders forward. In technical terms, we are basically “internally rotated” with the shoulder girdle. Many things in life "internally rotate” us such as driving, sitting at a computer, playing video games, texting, carrying backpacks, bench pressing, pushups, situps and many more exercises and daily life events. So posture is critical to performance and our confidence. Perfect Posture is possible by adding in a few daily exercises for only a few minutes.

Basically, every “push” workout you do should be balanced out with a “pull” type of workout. You can do pull-ups to help balance out your pushups as well as supplemental daily exercises like the following:

Upperback exercise #1 (Arm Haulers) – Lie on your belly with your feet on the floor. Lift your chest slightly off the floor and wave your arms from your sides to over your head for 30 seconds.

Upperback exercise #2 (reverse pushups) – Lie on your stomach in the down pushup position. Lift your hands off the floor 2-3 inches instead of pushing the floor. This will strengthen your upperback muscles that balance out the chest muscles. Do 20-30 reps Rear deltoids and rhomboids are the muscles used.

Upperback exercise #3 (Birds) – Lie on your stomach with your arms spread to the height of your shoulders. Lift both arms off the floor until your shoulder blades “pinch” and place them slowly in the down position. Repeat for 20-30 repetitions mimicking a bird flying.

This simple 3-4 minute program will help you keep your spine in proper alignment and fortify your delicate shoulder girdle. If you neglect these smaller muscles of the upper back and rear shoulder, all it will take is a fun toss of a football, baseball, or over head smash of a volleyball and your rotator cuff muscles will be talking to you immediately. If you want to hear your doctor tell you that you need surgery, neglect these muscles.

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