Wednesday 150520

3 Rounds for time:
14 Toes to bar
7 Thrusters, 135#(95#)

Post times to comments and BTWB

Matt's post Regional celebration might have included a few tacos. And a few margaritas.

Matt’s post Regional celebration might have included a few tacos. And a few margaritas. Congratulations on your first Regional experience Matt, you killed it!!


What’s the deal with the push-up? How can I make mine better?

The push-up is one of the most used movements used in CrossFit. Yet, at the same time, is one of the most commonly mis-used movements by athletes. Why? For all it’s beauty, many athletes allow themselves to get away with subpar form and technique, thereby never really advancing at the movement, and never really garnering the benefit found therein. The push-up tells a lot about our ability to recruit shoulder muscles the way we want to, in much the same way that an air squat allow us to demonstrate the ability (or lack thereof) to recruit tension and strength through the hips and knees.

Just like with any movement, it starts with the spine. Do you know how to brace your spine? Most of us would simply squeeze our belly and gluteus, right? Yes. But, for some reason, when we move the body to parallel with the ground, that task becomes exponentially harder. After that, the question becomes whether or not we have the ability to wind up the hands, wrists, elbow, and shoulder in proper positions. What we are looking for are positives cues, instead of pathological cues. Instead of saying, “I did push-ups today and my shoulder//elbow/wrist/spleen hurts,” we want to say, “While doing push-ups I felt myself in good positions.” So, let’s define these positive cues:

1) Hands at shoulder width, fingers pointing straight ahead. Your feet are together. Now, squeeze your gluteus. Have your shoulders just slightly behind your hands.

2) Imagine your hands are trying to twist a hole into the ground to the outside of each respective hand. You should notice the “armpit” of your elbow start to twist forward. As this happens, the shoulders will slide forward to being directly on top of your hands.

3) As the push-up begins, concentrate on keeping the forearm’s at vertical, and the weight centered on the middle of the hand. This helps load up the strongest muscle groups, the pecs and the triceps. Along with helping you get your swole on, the pecs and triceps, when engaged, keep the shoulder in a strong, healthy position (Again, positive cues. If you can feel the right muscle groups firing, you’re probably doing something right!)

4) As your chest continues toward the ground, keep your glutes’ engaged, belly tight, and forearms as vertical as possible. If we took a photo of you from the front, your elbow would be stacked over the wrist. Tap your chest on the ground.

5) As you drive up, all positional cues that we fought for on the way down should be maintained on the way up. Back is flat, belly and butt tight, shoulder blades retracted (squeezed together).

6) Finally, extend the elbows to complete lock-out. During a workout, you may have heard a coach advise on more than one occasion to lock your elbows. Why? Because we know what a locked-out elbow looks like, and you ain’t looking like it. So lock it up! Often times we’ll see a scenario where, during the workout where an athlete is linking many push-ups together. Then, in an attempt to bust out a couple more reps, the athlete will rest in a plank position, or push themselves back to a “pike” position, often, at this point, demonstrating a good lock out. So, we know you have it in you.

The push-up tells us a lot about your body to perform the other pressing movements, such as the bench press, shoulder press, and push jerk. Finding positive cues in this “simple” movement will help prevent you from feeling pathological cues from other pressing movements, such as, “my shoulder has an owie,” or, “I need surgery on my torn labrum.”

*Information in this post was referenced from the book “Becoming A Supple Leopard”, by Kelly Starrett.


  1. Leslie :

    What advice do you have for people that are doing a “perfect” push up but not feeling like they are making progression to do more? I feel like I have been stuck at 5 great push ups for years!

    • Courtney :


      I’ve had that question/ complaint from quite a few ladies over the last few months. The next time I see you we can chat about it and perhaps I can give you a few things to work on to help build those numbers.

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