Pushing When You’re Pulling

Pushing when you’re pulling, makes sense right? How can you push something as you are pulling something? Don’t worry this isn’t a trick question or a riddle that has some stupid answer.  Hopefully, by the end of this post it will all make sense and you will be able to apply it to your next training session.


If you read the post a few weeks ago on Super-Stiffness, we are going to use to a couple of thoughts, if you have not read it you can read it HERE. In that post I talked about creating tension in your body during certain exercises, how its important, and a thing called energy leaks. Simply put an energy leak happens when we don’t create tension in our body and energy is not used in the direction we want. Today, we are going to touch back on that and talk about one thing to think about to make sure you are creating a lot of tension during exercise.


During an exercise there are two different types of muscle contractions, concentric and eccentric. Concentric is when the muscle is contracting(shortening), and eccentric is when the muscle is lengthening. To keep things simple we are just going to call one the up phase(concentric), and one the down phase(eccentric). For the sake of this post the down phase is when gravity is working with you and the up phase is when gravity is working against you.


During the up phase it is easy to create tension in your body. Reason being, if you don’t you’re not going to be able to move the weight. During the down phase is where the idea of pushing when you’re pulling comes into play. Even when gravity is working with you, you should still actively control yourself to the ground or actively control the weight. Three benefits from actively controlling the down phase are:


Here are three examples of “Pushing When You’re Pulling”


Push Up


During the push up the up phase is when your body is moving further from the ground and the down phase is when you are moving closer to the ground. During the down phase instead of just letting gravity do all the work, think about actively pulling the ground towards you and pulling your shoulder blades back.


Goblet Squat


During the squat the up phase is when you are standing up and the down phase is when you are lowing yourself to the box. Think about actively pulling yourself to the ground.


½ Kneeling Cable Row


The ½ Kneeling Cable Row is going to be opposite of the push up. The up phase is when you are pulling the cable towards you and the down phase is when your arm is getting closer to the cable. Think about actively pushing the handles closer to the cable machine instead of just letting the weight pull your arm.


I hope now that the phrase “Pushing will you’re Pulling” makes some sense now and it doesn’t seem like I’m crazy. When you are exercising always think about moving the weight in both directions to help you create tension and get the most out of your workout.

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