Okay, so they’re called push-ups, tricep push-ups to be exact, and they’re great!
But you’re here because you want to get the most bang for your buck and do these babies the way they will give you the biggest result. Hence, you want to isolate the triceps and tax those as mucho as possible.
Isolating means that you want to do the best you can to only use the one particular muscle group to create the movement. In our case elbow extension/flexion. Yes, I said ‘flexion’, as I want you to also use the down-phase of the movement, control it, slow it down, make use of the negative (eccentric) phase. Don’t just flop down, you only do that if you want to become CrossFit efficient (many reps).
MMC, mind-muscle connection hocus pocus… Nope, it’s not hocus pocus, if you don’t know where the hell your triceps are, how they feel, how they work, how to activate them, how to isolate them, then your body will automatically engage whatever is easiest.
Take out the pecs by tucking your elbow in, shave those ribs on each rep. Can’t do it, are your elbows flaring out? Stop, rest.
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Keeping the forearms vertical as much as possible means as much triceps work as possible, so, come forward. Allow me to paint a better picture. Let the shoulders come forward and toward the ground, rather than elbows coming back toward the hips and shoulders staying above the hands.
Here’s the big one. They’re called push-ups, but to isolate the triceps you need to be pulling, not pushing. You need to be contracting the triceps which creates a pull on the elbow joint. Pull yourself up. Pushing involves shoulder flexion, hence, if you’re going to push yourself away from the floor you’re involving your anterior (front) delts.
Can push-ups build your triceps?
The answer is yes, but if you want to get better results, then you:
PULL, NOT PUSH.
I’ll leave you with two great kettlebell mobility combos that you can include in your regular training.