» Exercise of the week: Bear push-ups

Exercise of the week: Bear push-ups

By Eric Cressey on August 14, 2022 at 5:57 am

Today’s guest post comes from Cressy Sports Performance Coach, Ethan Dyer.

The bear push-up is an upper body movement we have been using with our athletes who struggle to find effective shoulder internal rotation and traditional extension during push-ups from the floor or fixed cable presses.

Typically, in pitchers, we see a gradual loss of gross internal rotation over the course of a career and sometimes over a season. This is mainly due to bony adaptation (humeral retroversion), but also due to adaptation to the stressful stresses encountered on the arm – particularly the mound – during throwing. While loss of external rotation in throwers is usually more of a problem than loss of internal rotation, any loss of speed should actually be addressed – and this drill (as part of a broader program) can help offset the gradual loss of IR that we’re seeing. .

When we place the athlete in flexion at the hips and knees, we are engaging them in what we traditionally think of as anterior pelvic tilt and gross extension. We give them a good opportunity to do some traditional bending through the upper back in a way that should allow as much internal rotation and extension as possible through the press.

There’s more value here – in wrist extension, some throwers lack the necessary internal rotation with their distal arms and hands to perform effective push-ups from the ground. By using a barbell, we can mitigate this problem while simultaneously biasing the excess internal rotation in the shoulder due to the pronounced grip.

All of this combines to make the bear push-up a great choice for throwers who need a little more internal rotation in their shoulders, while getting some pressing volume with an accessory-type movement. If your push-ups don’t look right, or have trouble finding good scapular movement around the rib cage, even after cue ups, give these a shot. Depending on the rest of the day, you’re looking at something like 2-3 sets of 12-15 or 3-5 sets of 6-8.

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