Pulling and pushing out all the stops
When it comes to foundational movement patterns, it is hard to get more basic than push and pull. These movements are easy to master and can be trained safely without expensive equipment. That is quite a few exercise-selection boxes checked.
Push and pull are the base of efficient upper-body movement. In addition, they share muscles. That is, the prime movers in each pattern depend on muscles usually associated with the other. For example, movements such as push-ups depend on the muscles of the back, which are usually used for pulling, for stability.
If you are hammering out your 'summa' body, chances are you are already pushing and pulling.
And since you are like already pushing and pulling, here is how to do it safely and effectively:
1. LIFT Generally, lifters tend to focus on two things: the first is the amount of weight one lifts, and the other is big show muscles. This approach, when mixed with excessive push-pull training, is a recipe for disaster. From shoulder pain during and after training to rotator cuff injuries, the signs of improper push-pull training are prevalent in every gym.
To avoid this trap, lifters must ensure that every exercise meets certain standards:
• Progression: the dangers of progressing too fast cannot be overstated. A lifter should be able to complete all reps with proper form. If you cannot do so, you are not ready for that level – choose a more comfortable load or exercise.
• Balance: a common mistake is to stress push at the expense of pull, or vice versa. Not only does this limit the progress of both movements, but it also raises the risk of dangerous muscle imbalances.
• Stick to basics: these days lifters seem to always be on the hunt for novel new lifts or equipment, and the basics are often ignored. Rudimentary lifts such as push-ups and simple equipment such as good ol' dumbbells still cover all the bases – from safety to effectiveness.
2. RUN Push and pull might seem less important to runners, but they should not be ignored. From improved performance to better form, the benefits of mastering these movements are worth the effort.
• Combine push and pull sessions to save time.
• Train push and pull twice a week.
• Add short push-pull sessions to your warm-up or after your run for efficiency.
3. PRACTISE YOGA Yoga improves flexibility, bringing an increased range of motion to the joints. Push-pull training strengthens the muscles around joints such as the shoulder across the new range of motion.
• Train push and pull at least once a week
• Stick to the basics and manage intensity carefully
• Try to train on days when you do not practise yoga and allow adequate recovery time.
• At least 15 minutes per session.
4. DANCE When it comes to dancing, the arguments are similar to those made for runners. You still benefit from upper-body resistance training. Follow the pointers listed for runners to include push-pull work in your training.
5. CIRCUIT TRAINING/BOOTCAMPS Circuit training usually involves advanced moves, so practitioners stand to benefit from basic push-pull training.
• Train at least once per week.
• Focus on form and mastering movement: mastering form will help you maintain good posture during boot camps to avoid injury.