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The Position: Part 3—The Push-Up by Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli - CrossFit Journal

The Position: Part 3—The Push-Up

By Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli

Video Article

This video series provides a fresh look at skill-transfer exercises and midline stability, combining the powers of Kelly Starrett and gymnast Carl Paoli. Both San Francisco CrossFit coaches add their expertise to refine basic CrossFit movements with the aim of improving power output.

In Part 3, the pair refines the push-up to transfer better shoulder position to other movements, such as Olympic lifting. The proper, organized set-up allows for torque through external rotation and sets the shoulder in a safe position to generate more power.

“If I can generate power through the hip, maintain my hollow-body position, or just ‘The Position,’ I will be way more efficient getting into a good shoulder position where I can generate that external rotation and then follow through with whatever it is that comes afterwards,” Paoli says. “But if I’m out of that position, once again there is no connection to the spine and now I can’t transmit anything, and that’s where we’re starting to see faults.”

For more information, instruction and videos, check out Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD and Carl Paoli’s Gymnastics WOD.

9min 10sec

Additional reading: The Push-Up by Greg Glassman, published Mar. 1, 2003.

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11 Comments on “The Position: Part 3—The Push-Up”

1

wrote …

Something of a lightbulb moment for me.

Despite having watched every MWOD video many times I hadn't related external rotation of the shoulder to elbow pit forward in the push-up. I've been told I'm at least not stupid, but sometimes I do wonder.
In a plank I can just get my left elbow to face forward although my hand rolls outward and my wrist is uncomfortable.
However my persistently (and currently) injured right shoulder just won't do it at all and my right wrist hurts pretty horribly. And, even getting partway there my shoulder feels much more solid.

So I've got:

  • An extremely practical test for external rotation.
  • A cue to help me get my shoulder where it needs to be in the socket during push-ups. And it's usually doing push-ups that I most often injure myself. I wish it were something more like 200kg OHS, but no, it's push-ups.
  • A lot of work to do on my shoulders and wrists to get that ROM back.
Hopefully if I can sort this out my shoulder may hold together long enough to strengthen it up a bit.

2

wrote …

Try that again without the HTML list that seems to mess up the display:
If the admins could delete that first post I would appreciate it.

Something of a lightbulb moment for me.

Despite having watched every MWOD video many times I hadn't related external rotation of the shoulder to elbow pit forward in the push-up. I've been told I'm at least not stupid, but sometimes I do wonder.
In a plank I can just get my left elbow to face forward although my hand rolls outward and my wrist is uncomfortable.
However my persistently (and currently) injured right shoulder just won't do it at all and my right wrist hurts pretty horribly. And, even getting partway there my shoulder feels much more solid.

So I've got:

An extremely practical test for external rotation.
A cue to help me get my shoulder where it needs to be in the socket during push-ups. And it's usually doing push-ups that I most often injure myself. I wish it were something more like 200kg OHS, but no, it's push-ups.
A lot of work to do on my shoulders and wrists to get that ROM back.

Hopefully if I can sort this out my shoulder may hold together long enough to strengthen it up a bit.

3

wrote …

kelly and carl are ninjas.

4

wrote …

Great tips! Thanks K Star and Carl, look forward to the rest of the series.

5

wrote …

Great video and description of the shoulder rotation for the pushup - I've been teaching that to my yoga students for years, so glad I've been teaching it correctly!

Now I'm left wondering...are we supposed to be doing yoga (chaturanga/tricep) pushups as a standard CF pushup? When a WOD calls for pushups, I go back to the "PE" pushup. My arm alignment is different...body is still taut, gaze is forward and I hit the ground with each one, but my hands are slighter wider than shoulder width and my elbows go outward instead of tight into my rib cage, then I do the shoulder rotation at the top.

Which one should I be doing for CrossFit?

-Bo Yates (Bobby's wife)

6

wrote …

Really interesting stuff!

7

wrote …

Fascinating, and I loved the way it ties into squat technique as well. Looking forward to the ring part, and the HSPU part as well. I'm working on those "facing the wall" HSPUs. VERY different, but I believe they will make me stronger.

8

wrote …

Great video. I echo Bo's question. Additionally, any good tips on maintaining that shoulder position with a hand lift? Ever since the 2010 games, we have been doing exclusively hand lift. Seems as I get fatigued, I lose that shoulder position when I lift.

9

wrote …

Liquid tee shirt. What is it?

10

wrote …

took the info, applied it today, loved the results.

felt that the push up was much more solid and I was able to keep my plank position throughout.

there is a reason i call kstar my internet boyfriend ... haha.

11

wrote …

Where is part 2? =)

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