Why Pushups may be a bad idea for fitness, yes bad idea!
I keep seeing “experts pushing push ups as a great exercise but I beg to differ. Push ups place your wrists in an unkind position when performed on the ground. Actually I ask clients all the time to take a look at people in exercise classes and practicing yoga to watch people getting up from the down dog position or any posture pose or push up that takes the wrist into what people who understand wrist mechanics would call a threshold position for the wrist. A threshold position is any joint position that is at the very end of the joints normal range of motion or BEYOND it. For many years I studied different martial arts for self protection reasons not for belts or camaraderie.
A couple of these martial arts were Aikido mixed and Jiu Jitsu and these arts have a large amount of taking joints into maximum joint range of motion positions and honestly when you put someone in a threshold joint position…They Really Don’t Like It!, and the smarter the martial artist the faster they tap out or say uncle, enough or just plain scream. So why do we put our wrists into a crappy position and call it good for us. Use of a dumbbell or bar or a push up handle can remedy this poor positioning but so many people go on and on doing push ups only to stand up and rub their wrists and wonder why it doesn’t feel good. In Aikido and Jiu Jitsu you learn very quickly when I max out your wrist and place it into this position other parts of the body will move or sacrifice themselves to stop joint damage at the wrist and I see the same thing in push ups. People perform push ups at some bootcamp or fitness class and don’t realize they are traumatizing the elbow, shoulder or any other part of the body that can bend to decrease the strain on the wrist. So according to the study of normal range of motion or Goniometrics for your nerds out there, putting your body outside of the normal range of motion is hypermobility.
Hypermobility is one of the hardest things to correct from a corrective exercise standpoint in my opinion so why force poor positions on your body doing what I would call an “obsolete exercise”. I consider an exercise to be obsolete when I can prove to you it is not good for you while showing you a better option that is much better for you. All I ask you to do is watch as a group perform push ups and then watch as many of them get up and rub and bend their wrists, elbows and shoulders because they were aching or hurting due to maxed out range of motion. Long these poor exercises can cause wrist damage, carpal tunnel and just plain old fashioned weakness and injury to many parts of the body. Knee push ups are even less smart for another reason but no time to type that up now. Hope this makes sense to you and all I recommend is pay more attention to the after effects of poor exercise and do your own thinking.