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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Charpentier

Fundamental Movement Pattern: Push

There are horizontal push, and vertical push movements. We are going to walk through examples of each and how these movements benefit your body!

Horizontal Push

  • Challenges chest, triceps, and shoulders.

  • Altering the grip width or altering exercise slightly can influence the dominant muscle (for example close grip bench or floor bench challenging more triceps as opposed to the traditional bench press).

  • Shoulder stability is highly required.

  • Common horizontal push exercises: bench press, push-up, floor press

The muscles you strengthen during horizontal push exercises are important for aesthetics, posture, and sports performance. A common use of horizontal push as an athletic benchmark is a bench press test. The NFL Combine uses the bench press to test for muscular strength and endurance and the NHL scouting combine uses the bench press to measure power output.

Vertical Push

  • Challenges deltoids, serratus anterior, trapezius, rhomboids and the rotator cuff.

  • Many don’t have the proper shoulder stability to press heavy weight overhead without compensation. (This is why proper programming is important!)

  • Different training modalities can be used to prep and strengthen the small muscles of the shoulder. Core stability is also necessary.

  • Common vertical push exercises: DB Z press, overhead press, landmine press, DB shoulder press

Anytime you lift something overhead you’re using these muscles. Think of picking up your kids overhead, lifting up a painting to hang on the wall, or putting the Christmas bin back on the shelf in the garage. In addition of course there are transfers to athletic ability and an overall healthier upper body that is less prone to injury.


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