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Elbows in or out for pushups?
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By jonathan.lipkin
From Brooklyn, NY
Apr 11, 2013

I've started to add pushups to my exercise routine, as most climbers I've talked to have said this will help prevent elbow injuries. I did a bit of research online and read that holding your elbows in at your sides was more beneficial than having them out, where most people have them. But I can't find the reference again.

Now, my physical therapist tells me that push ups won't really help, but I figure they can't hurt.


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By Chris Freye
From Seattle
Apr 11, 2013

I'm not quite sure exactly what you mean but I will take a stab at it.

Having your elbows "in" or parallel to your body when you do push ups emphasizes using your triceps while having your elbows "out" or perpendicular to your body works more of your chest. It just depends on what muscle group you want to work out. Hope this helps!


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By Woodchuck ATC
Apr 11, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

'In ' puts them almost under your chest and shortens the total pushup. Cheapens it. Out' is the norm I say, with more chest muscle work involved.


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By jonathan.lipkin
From Brooklyn, NY
Apr 11, 2013

Thanks, guys. Do you have an opinion as to which would be better for injury prevention?


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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Apr 11, 2013
OTL

Do them both ways and you won't miss out on anything.


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By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Apr 11, 2013

Treating climbers elbow

Treating tennis elbow

Overview of elbow injuries if you don't which one you have (as both are common in climbers)

Not the end-all, be-all elbow treatment but it's a good start. It's not all that diverse of a perspective either, all from Horst. Push-ups probably won't do much for the elbow, AFAIK. They are a great supplement to a climbing workout though.


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By Gif Zafred
From Pittsburgh, PA
Apr 12, 2013
Gif on Bimbo Shrine, Kaymoor

In short: Elbows in. Elbows out puts the shoulder in a disorganized and weak position.

It's not just as simple as elbows in or out. You want to screw your hands into the ground and great torque. This will organize the shoulder and will put it into a good position. This is the same as "breaking the bar" when you do a bench press.

The equivalent would be asking knees in or out when doing a squat. It's knees out, but the key is to "screw your feet into the ground" and create torque. This will drive the knees out and put your hips and knees in a proper position.


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By SMR
Apr 12, 2013

Probably elbows in. This is an article with multiple references on the advantages and form.

www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/
the_best_damn_pushups_article_period


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By Tank
Apr 12, 2013

Elbows in for the win. Here's a video that explains the mechanics of the pushup and gives you some pointers on good technique: www.mobilitywod.com/2013/01/pressing-mechanics-and-the-knee->>>


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Apr 12, 2013

I think the idea that we NEED to do pushups or similar for muscular balance is overstated, especially if you spend a fair amount of time bouldering on plastic, where compression moves and steep one-armed pulls (that emphasize the pecs in addition to back/lats) leave people with plenty of chest work and often with pecs that are too tight and cause their own joint alignment issues in the shoulder.

Of course YMMV, it will partially depend on how developed your chest/tri strength is in comparison to the rest.


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By CraigS.
Apr 12, 2013

I know in yoga I was taught elbows in and from a biomechanical point of view it makes sense. I also know from personal experience with an injured left shoulder that elbows in hurts my shoulder worse, so I go with elbows out to minimize the pain.


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By kenr
Apr 12, 2013

Will S wrote:
I think the idea that we NEED to do pushups or similar for muscular balance is overstated ...

There's been some discusion on a UK bouldering forum in the last couple years or so, with some physical therapists questioning the whole "antagonist" paradigm as inappropriate for protecting most climbing muscles and joints and stuff (I recall one post specifically ridiculed the idea of a climber doing bench presses).

Anyway when I look at the now-mainstream rehab/prehab exercises for elbow tendonisis ...
So exactly what climbing move is "wrist pronation" or "wrist supination" supposed to be opposite or antagonistic to?

Or the recent shoulder-retraction exercises -- what climbing motion are they opposite to? The point is not "antagonism" but rather of maintaining the shoulder (esp scapula?) in a postural configuration where it's less likely to be injured by a climbing move.

Ken


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 12, 2013
El Chorro

Chris Freye wrote:
I'm not quite sure exactly what you mean but I will take a stab at it. Having your elbows "in" or parallel to your body when you do push ups emphasizes using your triceps while having your elbows "out" or perpendicular to your body works more of your chest. It just depends on what muscle group you want to work out. Hope this helps!


^^^ End of thread.

Except that pushups don't really help with existing elbow injuries. For that, you need a hammer (or a broom stick).


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By ben jammin
From Moab, UT
Sep 4, 2013
Aesthetics

For what its worth, I haven't been doing push-ups lately (like the last month and a half) and I'm finally getting relief with my medial tendinitis. Still climbing hard 4-5 days a week. I'm sure my current emphasis on technical p/e sport routes is helping (ie not bouldering) but I've been doing less and less preventative maintenance and my arm seems to be getting better.

Just throw'n it out there.


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By TJJ
From dayton, Ohio
Sep 14, 2013

I use push-ups as a warmup to Spaciffic muscle groups on Spaciffic days chest out\ triceps in. focuse energy consintrate on the muscle you wish to ingage another muti dementional workout is the pull-up wrist in biceps /wrist out lats extra wide rear delts and so on the key is to Diversify your workout as much as possible simple answer to you question do both and remember stretching will reduce the likely hood of injury more than reduced movement just my 2 cents


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By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Sep 14, 2013
Mathematical!

Ryan Williams wrote:
^^^ End of thread. Except that pushups don't really help with existing elbow injuries. For that, you need a hammer (or a broom stick).


I've had great success managing my tendonitis with push-ups. I try to do 30 triceps push-ups and 30 wide push-ups every other day or so.


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