Push & Pull

A muscle can only “pull.” Think about that and visualize that when a muscle contracts and shortens it pulls at least two bones closer together. Yet we can push! The ingenious way our muscles are positioned around our joints, for example, allows our arms to both pull and push. Now here is a simple and handy anatomy lesson. The muscles on the back of your upper torso, shoulders, and front of your upper arms are typically your main “pullers.” Conversely, the muscles on the front of your chest, shoulders, and backs of your upper arms are typically your main “pushers.” In fact, if your exercise time is limited, you can work just about every muscle in your upper body by doing a pull and a push exercise. Now depending on your goals, it is often important to “isolate” or emphasize certain muscles groups. A pull and a push exercise nevertheless can be smart choices when you need to get the most in, in the least amount of time.

If you struggle with or tolerate a condition or injury that limits your ability to move the way that you want to, you might consider consulting with a physical therapist. There are many ways that a physical therapist can mechanically alter your exercise program to help you protect and heal an injury, while still participating in a program that promotes your general health and wellness.

Anna Kotula, DPT 805.798.1408