There are only so many ways to move. I believe in minimalism. Focus on a few things, get really good at them, then anything else is icing on the cake. With the human body we can push, pull, squat, hinge, fold and brace. The subdivision are thing like climbing, crawling, carrying, jumping, etc. This can go on and on. It’s not worth the argument.
One of the earliest formal exercise we learn is the push up. Unfortunately in the early sixties when I was learning, there was no gradient, just “boys push ups” and gulp, “girls push ups”. Nothing in between. Little coaching as per arm position, hand position, alignment of the spine, hips, etc. Now the opposite is the case. Too much information. Just as a mechanic said to me about internet automobile advice, “There is a lot of good information, but there is also a lot of BAD information”.
I will tell you this. The pushup is a consistent part of almost every workout program of those involved in martial arts and those involved in warfare. It’s there because it is simple and it works.
I won’t give you an instructional on push ups. If you have been mislead, hurt or dealing with anatomical issues your best resource is my friend, Steve Maxwell’s downloadable Body Weight Basic videos – http://www.tomfurman.com/steve-maxwell-has-forgotten-more-than-you-will-ever-know/
If you are already up to speed, you may well want the challenge of Speed Push Ups or Weighted Push Ups. I like the approach of Eddie Kowacz, the Green Ghost. 4 decades of martial arts, USMC/SWAT/Corrections Officer and powerful, rational, training thought process. You can check him out here – http://www.tomfurman.com/green-ghost-chronicles-in-the-marines-20-years-ago-i-could-out-push-up-god/
Realize that before the geometric explosion of fitness experts on the internet, there was really no need to spend thousand of hours on tens of thousands of articles on ‘how to plank’. It was part of the package. Like a smartphone with GPS, it’s just integrated into the system. When you went out for sports, attended martial arts classes or joined the military, you were very familiar with the prone push up position. While gravity is blind, with no prejudice, it seemed as if Crom had turned up the dial on gravitational pull as the body was pushed further and further. No kipping, no knee socks, no internet memes. Simply the force of will and the desire to transform and open another doorway in the netherworld of human limitation.
Of course, if you are bored with the simple push up. You’ve done the all the push ups you care to do, there are levels beyond. It doesn’t end really. Maybe one armed? Maybe weighted? Maybe suspended.
—>I’ll do some blatant self promotion here and suggest you ‘bump it up a notch’ as that chubby chef says.
The above manual is cheaper than a coffee date and has been transforming those who apply it’s minimalist approach.
The last thing is the awareness of shoulder injuries. I strongly believe that the push up can be a panacea to injured shoulders. First off don’t believe me. Go to someone with the worst shoulders I’ve heard of and listen to their story. Here is Jeff Martone speaking about his shoulders.
“I dislocated my right shoulder more times than the law should allow. I had my first surgery in 1985. I didn’t rehab it properly and continued to dislocate/sublux it about 10 more times until my second surgery in 1987. Since that time I dislocated my left shoulder three times and had surgery 1987. I never had problems with my left shoulder since. My right shoulder is a completely different story. I dislocated it at least 5 more times until 2000. It would literally come out while I was sleeping. Sometimes I could put it back in myself, sometimes with the assistance of my lovely wife.
Then what does he say about push ups?
“Oddly enough, push ups off of the Tactical Rings, do not bother my shoulder at all”. — Jeff Martone
For a better understanding here is Jeff’s instructional on “Ring” push ups using bands –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2QqVipsXqw