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FitDeck Blog with Founder Phil Black

Balancing Push with Pull Exercises

Posted by Phil Black on September 8th, 2014

The pushup is a universally known and practiced exercise. It is considered a staple in any exercise routine due to its affordability, convenience, and effectiveness. Unfortunately, anything taken to extremes can backfire. Over time, any exercise program that is too focused on pushups (or “push” exercises) can create imbalances that leave us susceptible to overuse injuries. 

Pushups can be performed the old-fashioned way or with increased intensity with a must-have tool like the Perfect Pushup – which engages even more muscles due its rotating handles.

Unfortunately, gorging on pushups without an equally steady diet of pullups makes Johnny an imbalanced athlete. Not only can excessive pushups overdevelop the muscles in the chest /shoulder area, but the resulting body shape can look out of balance as well. 

How many times have you seen a person with overdeveloped chest and anterior (front) shoulder muscles? The shoulders roll forward and create an inflexible and closed chest area. Some people call this the “caveman” look.  Not surprisingly, many of these folks complain of shoulder pain.

Pushups activate what are known as “push” muscles. Conversely, there are “pull” muscles (in the back and posterior shoulders) that are responsible for pulling the shoulders down and back. These muscles are activated far less frequently.

My guess is that most people should consider adjusting their workouts to a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of “pull” exercises to “push” exercises in order to regain postural and muscular balance.  One of the limitations to this plan is the availability of a pullup bar as well as the baseline strength needed to perform pullups.

The pullup is the yin to the pushup’s yang.  In order to dial-up more yin, Perfect Fitness has two great solutions that I have been testing for several months. I am recovering from a shoulder injury (likely from a chronic pull vs. pull muscle imbalance), and these two products have been fantastic.

The first is the Perfect Multi-Gym, which is a pullup bar system that I hang on my bedroom doorway as needed. The second is the Perfect Pullup Assist, which allows me to do pullups with some assistance until I can build up to my former strength and endurance.

In fact, I have put myself on a 2:1 ratio of pull exercises to push exercises until the New Year. By then, I hope that my back and rear shoulders will have caught up with the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

How is your push-to-pull ratio?

Best in health,

Phil Black

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