Pressing Mechanics and The Knee Pushup Up Disaster/Froning and Bailey Edition


Hey MWodies!

We are back! The big new gym project is behind us and I have enough available brain capacity to start this engine back up.

So let’s jump right to it.

Let’s set a few ideas up first: 1) Great athletes (Rich Froning and Dan Bailey for example) tend to have universal motor patterning. By this I mean that they will adopt a “universal motor blueprint” across movement tasks. In this video example, you will notice that both Rich and Dan have a vertical forearm during both their pushup and in the bottom of their burpee. This vertical forearm is the same they would use if you flipped them over and had them bench or even perform a hand stand push up. The vertical forearm is just coaching cue that really means full mechanical advantage of the triceps and pecs as well as correct load sequencing at the shoulder (easier to cue on the vertical forearm). Can they perform pinche bodyweight movements without perfect mechanics? Of course, but as soon as the weights of movements get more dynamic or the athlete becomes fatigued (soldier getting up off the ground with a huge pack), then this less than optimal and well practiced and ingrained pattern will rear it’s head. Remember when we used to say things like, if you are really strong, then you’ll be working at “x” percentage of your total strength when doing a lesser demand movement. Well why the heck would you opt for a less efficient movement pattern that essentially negates your strength/stamina adaptation and fails you when the load or movement demands become more critical?

Ok, so if you are starting to see my logic, then you are going to have to address the way we have traditionally let beginner athletes perform pushups from the knees. As my good friend from Hawaii, Byrant Powers says, “why don’t knee pushup people ever blossom into normal push up people?” Think about it. They don’t, and the reason is that it’s difficult to perform a mechanically good pushup from the knees (hard to maintain trunk position and load the elbow correctly). So what we’ve basically done for ever is doom beginners to practice inefficient movement patterns that are essentially dead end in nature.

If skill development is just a complex biological process of the myelination of neural pathways (and it is), then the choices we make about our movement practice are serious and real.


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12 thoughts on “Pressing Mechanics and The Knee Pushup Up Disaster/Froning and Bailey Edition

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