I thought I had been cheated several years ago when I found out I shouldn’t do bench presses anymore. I shouldn’t do them because they hurt my shoulders. Switching from barbells to dumbbells helped some, but not enough.
I grumbled but accepted my fate. If an exercise hurts, don’t do it. Out of necessity plain, old push-ups became the surrogate. A funny thing happened though. It won’t convince power-lifters, I realize, but, overall, I give push-ups higher marks.
Bench pressing may be a multi-joint power movement, but it certainly doesn’t engage as much of your total body as the common push-up. Simply being in the up position of the push-up requires most of the muscles of your body to tighten. Compare that to lying supine on a bench waiting for someone to hand you the bar.
It doesn’t stop there. Push-ups come in almost infinite varieties. Beside the standard type everyone thinks of, there are close-grip, wide-grip, dive bombers, Hindus, Spiderman, offsets, and one-arm types, to name several. A bench press is, well, a bench press.
Alligator pushups have become a recent favorite of mine. You can find plenty of alligator demo videos on You Tube. Several have somewhat different approaches, however, but still go by the name alligator. Most of them are good enough exercises. Yet many do not really move the way an alligator moves on land. Watch a TV nature show and you’ll see what I mean.
I think my alligator pushups are more alligator-like than the others. But of course I would think that. Is it really that important to be an exact alligator replica? Maybe not. But I think it’s kind of cool.
Now let’s get serious about those alligator push-ups
Watch the video and notice the crawling forward motion and my arm and leg positions. As I move forward one leg and one arm at a time, I do my push-up as one knee touches an elbow (or close to it), while the opposite arm and leg are extended.
The beauty of the movement is that your entire body is engaged. Legs, core, back, chest, shoulders and arms are working together. It may take a little practice to get it right, but I think you’ll like it when you get the rhythm.
Once you are comfortable with your alligator impression, start crawling across the room while doing a good number of push-up reps. Now add alligators to your push-up bag of tricks. Even confirmed power-lifters should be impressed.