If you flew a drone right over the top of somebody doing a pushup, the ideal shape you’d want to see is an arrow. The arms sweep back to 45° relative to the body. What you wouldn’t want to see is a T-shape, with the arms coming straight out perpendicular from the body
Why is the arrow shape optimal?
- It puts the shoulder in a stable position, so less chance of injury.
- It requires more muscle activation in the pecs and triceps, so your muscles work harder.
What is wrong with the T-position?
- It puts much more stress on the shoulder joint. Google the term ‘shoulder impingement’.
- It feels easier because your ligaments and bony bits act like a trampoline in the bottom position of the pushup. Because your shoulders’ range of motion is more limited in this position, the ligaments and tendons absorb the downwards energy and take the strain of your muscles.
- Your muscles don’t get enough of a workout, and your ligaments, tendons and joint capsules get too much of a workout.
People naturally gravitate to the T-position because it is an easier movement, which means more reps.