Q&A: Which Muscles Should I Feel in the Push-Up?
Written by Michele Vieux
Q: Today during the push-ups I could feel my tris and lats working hard..but I moved my focus to my biceps and it really helped relieve some of the strain on the other muscles. Is this normal??
A: Very interesting indeed…remember the chains of torque? Internal Torque (IT) and External Torque (ET). Push-ups are an IT movement yet you were trying to perform them with ET muscles – the triceps and lats. (You are not alone – most of us default to ET). So yes, to answer your question, by engaging the biceps and pecs (IT muscles) you will take strain off of the triceps and lats (although they are still helping some).
How to engage the Internal Torque (IT) chain in push-ups:
– Tuck your tailbone (you should be in more of a hollow position vs a hyperextended lumbar position)
– Squeeze the lower abs & obliques (NOT the 6-pack)
– Actively squeeze your hands toward each other on the ground (without actually moving them)
Let me know if you feel the difference with your plank, push-ups and biceps curls after that! Here’s an article you can reference for a reminder: A Case Against Mixed Grip Deadlifts.Yes, it has to do with deadlifts (another IT movement) but apply the same principles and do the tests and corrections to see where you are breaking down! And definitely don’t miss out on these other important considerations for Push-Up Tips for Max Strength Gains!
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