Technique of the Week (July 17th 2011)
Most if not all of us do pushups as part of our warm up before a workout.
Push-ups are a formidable form of exercise, targeting the anterior and medial deltoids (delts), triceps and pectorals major and minor (pecs); basically the major muscles of the chest, arms, and shoulders. Also, support required from other muscles groups results in a wide range of muscles being integrated into the exercise. One can target an even wider range of these muscles by varying the width of the hand position from wide to narrow, or slightly forward or back from shoulder level.
However, when on the deck, we should only do proper Shorin Ryu knuckle pushups unless directed otherwise by our Sensei. To do this, we generally want to position our tightened fists just slightly wider than shoulder width and a bit lower than shoulder level. This allows the elbow to move naturally into the chambered position. (See pictures 1-3 correct front view)
Chambering during the downward motion, as opposed to letting the elbows flair out in the chicken wing position (See pictures 4,5 incorrect chicken wing), reinforces proper chambering during all other techniques. If you feel the elbows rubbing the gi as you go up and down you are doing it correctly! Note: be sure to keep your eyes up at all times.
Also pay attention to the wrists. They should remain straight throughout the full range of motion, allowing the first two knuckles to stay firmly in contact with the deck. The knuckle line from pinky to index should remain parallel to the body lengthwise. (Again, refer to pictures 1-3 to see the knuckle line.)
Next is the body position. For new students or the injured, placing the knees on the deck is perfectly acceptable. You can start with the knees/thighs closer to the vertical, then week by week as your strength builds up, move your knees back further and further until you can finally do them on your toes! (Refer to pictures 6-8 correct knees.)
Make certain that no matter the position, your back remains straight throughout the whole series. (Pictures 9 and 10 show incorrect back low or back high bent positions.)
Finally, try to do your pushups every day. This will ensure that you build the proper muscle strength and endurance needed for powerful/ lightning fast karate techniques.
Arigato Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei, Senpai and Deshi!