The Sagging Butt Push Up

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The Sagging Butt Push Up | Week 21 | Movement Fix Monday

One of the most common faults that can be found in a push up is the sagging butt push up. The sagging butt push up is something you should not want. It isn't cool. Don't do it!

In a normal push up that we like, the movement occurs primarily at the shoulders and elbow (and a little wrist). It is a plank except those joints are moving so we go up and down. We start getting problems when motion occurs at more joints than just the shoulders and elbows.

In the sagging butt push up, we now get extension movement through the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine has normal range of motion in to extension, so it's not like the spine's ability to move in that direction is bad. However, any direction can be "over-used" and we can become sensitive to being pushed in that direction. If we do it a ton and a ton and a ton, it can become very easy and a habit for our low back to move into extension whenever we are pushing a load with our arms. This can add up over time and reps.

There is a very common type of back pain called 'extension intolerant back pain', meaning it hurts to bend your back backward. Whenever someone has this type of back pain and hasn't sustained an injury, there must be something they are doing in their daily life that is perpetuating this. We have to start looking at how this person is using their back in everything they do. It isn't uncommon I will see this butt sagging push up in their movement diet.

Correcting this and doing a push up without the butt sagging is MUCH harder feeling because now you are pushing more load since you aren't keeping the butt down. So it actually is heavier, which will make people not want to do it since its harder and slower. But you really don't want a sagging butt push up, so it is worth slowing down! Doing this correctly will make you stronger (even if you do less reps).

The progression that I use in order from least difficult to most difficult:

  • Plank on knees (not in video)
  • Push up plank hold with rocking
  • Knee push ups with spine held in neutral
  • Regular push ups with spine held in neutral

If you aren't sure if you are doing this, use your phone to record a video of yourself and start analyzing!

Let's end butt sagging push ups forever.

-Ryan

Need more hip and low back mobility? Start with Day 1 of our Hip/Low Back Mobility Program for free:

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