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Learn more about Rehab, Sports Medicine & Performance


In the January 2018 issue, Mike O’Hara focuses on strengthening your hamstrings.  Exercises to make your hamstrings stronger, not longer are given along with video demonstration.  Jeff Tirrell tells us how to make incremental changes in our diets to see positive changes, and the spotlight is on Fenton Fitness member, Robin Forstat–a nationally ranked power lifter.
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My shoulders have racked up a few extra miles, so they get a little cranky when I perform fixed plane pressing activities with a barbell or a dip stand.  I have better results with pressing exercises that afford my shoulders more freedom of movement.  The closed chain feedback (hand on the ground and body moving) of a push up helps improve posture and strengthens the scapula stabilizer muscles.  The slider push up combines greater freedom of movement with a push up resistance pattern, and it has become my favorite horizontal pressing exercise.

Slider Push Up Performance

Place the hands on the sliders and set up in a push up position.  Keep the gluteal muscles tight and pull the bottom of the rib cage down with the abdominal muscles.  Slide the right hand overhead and lower down with the left arm.  Keep the left elbow tight to the body as you push back up.  Reach overhead with the left hand and perform the push up with the right arm.  Perform three to eight repetitions on each side.

Many active individuals are unable to transfer up off the floor with any degree of mastery or grace.  Our childhood motor development has laid down the neural pathways used in crawling and rolling that are necessary for efficient floor mobility.  We need to perform exercise activities that reinforce the use of these pathways and improve this important survival skill.  Slider push ups help restore the lost art of floor mobility.

Unlike most of the supine and seated pressing exercise performed in the gym, the slider push up has a major core stability demand.  You can only push what your pelvis and torso can stabilize.  The old saying is “You can’t shoot a cannon out of a canoe.” Core stability and pressing strength come together in this exercise.

Equipment requirements for the slider push up are minimal, and the exercise can be regressed or progressed by changing the position of the lower extremities. The single arm loading of the slider push up creates a unique shoulder girdle stabilization and strengthening challenge.

Beginners can start on their knees and progress to performing the slider push up on the toes.  As you get stronger at this exercise, try adding a weight vest or elevating the feet on a low box.

I like to program kettlebell swings with slider push ups: fifteen snappy swings followed by eight slider push ups on each side.  Rest for however long you need and repeat for three to five circuits.  This circuit combination has a magical effect on the strength of my middle.  Try it twice a week for four weeks and let me know how you do.

To view video demonstration of the Slider Push Up, click on the link below:

-Michael O’Hara, P.T. OCS, CSCS