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Edoardo Roberto Cagnola

Pushing strength VS pulling strength

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Edoardo Roberto Cagnola

In the follow along video of the Thoracic Bridge Stretch Course Coach says that a lot of people are weaker at pushing than they are at pulling. I find this to be true (at least it is for me) but I've always considered it a normal thing. The back muscles that are involved in every pulling movement are much larger than our pushing  muscles (just think about the size of your lats compared to the size of your chest), so it makes sense to me that we are stronger at pulling. I also think that is kind of a genetic thing: monkeys are always hanging and moving between branches using their pulling muscles, but I guess this is a little bit of a stretch since their posture and anatomy is different from ours. Any thoughts about this? 

 

 

 

 

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Deins Drengers

Well im weak in everything but pushing comes easier than pulling for me. 

 

But im going to get much stronger in both of these movements, just needs time

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Boban Ilievski

I don't know if we can compare it like this but, I can do more pullups than HSPUs, more pushups than rows and more dips that curls. And I think that will be the case for most of the others too.

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Ronnicky Roy

Most people are stronger in pressing, when grip is their weak link. The moment that is up to par, pulling tends to close the gap, but I think genetics plays a role. Also depends on your training I suppose. I've always been able to do more Dips than I have pullups. Even when I trained pullups and grip strength, dips have always been easier. Although I did go from pushups to dips, while I just jumped to pullups without training rows. That may have been a factor

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Jesse Frigo

My pulling is terrible, from weak forearms and a weak back.  I blame the Army- I was in for 12 years before I ever did a single pullup or row, while doing sometimes hundreds of pushups per day.

 

It's getting better, but very slowly.

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Ronnicky Roy

That's strange, they never had you doing any pulling movements? What was your field?

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Dylan Robertson

I thought there was a pull-up requirement and you had to do Rope Climbs in the army, unless I'm wrong.

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Ronnicky Roy

I know the PFT doesn't have pullups, but I thought they had rope courses.

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Dylan Robertson

Nope I looked at ones for the Army, Navy and the FBI. No pulling motion in any of them. Mainly it's Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, Sprints and a Medium Distance Run. I always thought the PFT was timed 1/2 minute Push-Ups & Sit-Ups, 20 unbroken/no-kip Pull-Ups. A 3.1 (5k) Run under 18:00 and an Underwater Swim test where multiple 50m are done. Guess I was wrong

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Ronnicky Roy

I guess the ropes are only in boot camp.

I know for Marine Corp standard PFT is 3 mile run in 18 min. 20 dead hang pullups and 100 crunches in under 2 minutes. That's just for perfect score standings. All the press movement is taken care of in everything else that they do.

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Jon Douglas

Hmmm. My back has always been far more developed than my front, and I've never been much of a presser. Never thought that was the norm.

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Ronnicky Roy

I think it might have something to do with slumped over posture that's common now-a-days. The back muscles are shut "off" and the front wants to take over for alot of movements. So anterior delt and pec minor get used for majority of tasks.

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Dylan Robertson

Especially since many Gym-goers focus a lot more on theirChest than their back, they focus a lot on Bench Press, and Frontal/Lateral Raises for their Shoulders.

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Jan Reipert

i do not know what population coach is talking about here. untrained people? gymnasts? i know for sure that the general fitness-population (for lack of a better term) is definitely better at pushing than pulling: how often do you see people bench pressing 100kg. compare that to the number of people you see doing strict rows, body parallel to the floor, with 100kg. the reason is clear: the simply focus on pushing exercises to train the mirror-muscles.

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Coach Sommer

Not sure at all about bench pressing, however the people that come to GB seminars are relatively comfortable with pulling (pullups, chinups, some rope climbing) and in comparison poor at dips and very poor at HSPU variations.

This has been consistent across the board for many years now.

 

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Edoardo Roberto Cagnola

You can't really compare rows and bench press IMO, the mechanics are so different and there are so many other factors involved. Anyways I think Coach was referring to the general population, not so much to those people who messed up their body by improper training/programming (like many regular gym goers do, my past self included :) )

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Blairbob

I was always a much stronger in pressing movements than pulling movements but I think it's because in Karate in HighSchool, there was more of an emphasis on pushups. We would do a few hundred every practice in sets of 10 or 20 on fingers, fists, shuto knife-hand, etc. There were so many different kinds.

We had a rope to climb but it was more of an extra credit thing as there was only one and only done every once in awhile. It was far easier as a young child to work on pushups for instance than to work on pullups (because the pullup bar was in the garage or outside) and because a pullup was a higher percentage of bodyweight than a pushup nor was it as easy to scale (say working on rows).

OTOH, most kids will end up doing a lot more brachial work climbing on monkey bars and rope ladders and etc or up trees. Obviously our youth these days seem to be doing far less of it but for those kids that were active and playing, that meant lots more climbing on structures (for instance we had a chain to climb up to our treehouse and we would walk our feet up the trunk).

It's also probably far more common to work on pullups through High School than dips or headstand pushups. We didn't work on dips in Karate but Shihan did encourage us to work on handstands against the wall or headstand pushups besides frogstand pushups. And of course, I'm pretty sure I saw headstand pushups being done in some martial art movies.

I only started dipping in High School because we had dip stations near our PoleVault pit besides pullup bars and vertical poles and those old incline decline Pbars and monkey bars.

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Jesse Frigo

That's strange, they never had you doing any pulling movements? What was your field?

 

I know the PFT doesn't have pullups, but I thought they had rope courses.

 

Nope I looked at ones for the Army, Navy and the FBI. No pulling motion in any of them. Mainly it's Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, Sprints and a Medium Distance Run. I always thought the PFT was timed 1/2 minute Push-Ups & Sit-Ups, 20 unbroken/no-kip Pull-Ups. A 3.1 (5k) Run under 18:00 and an Underwater Swim test where multiple 50m are done. Guess I was wrong

 

I guess the ropes are only in boot camp.

I know for Marine Corp standard PFT is 3 mile run in 18 min. 20 dead hang pullups and 100 crunches in under 2 minutes. That's just for perfect score standings. All the press movement is taken care of in everything else that they do.

I've been in for 15 years now.  Two or three years ago the Army revamped the physical fitness training manual to include pullups and other bar work.  Suddenly every Army installation in the world had pullup bars installed all over the place.  I did pullups once in basic training (we had two bars for ~200 people), and never had the Army ask for another until a couple years ago.

 

The rope climbs are part of the Air Assault course, and some of the Ranger/cool-guy training.  Most people don't get to do that stuff very often, if at all.

 

As mentioned, the fitness tests don't often include pullups (other than the Marines).  The FBI has it as a 5th event, mandatory for the tactical teams.

 

Really, most of the military physical training comes down to a few issues/goals:

1.  Doesn't cause injuries.

2.  Can have 50+ people doing it together (ish).  Rotating groups of 2-4 is workable for some stuff.

3.  Easy to teach.

4.  Easy to enforce the standards.

5.  Minimal equipment needs.  Even a wall is too much to ask for sometimes.  Pullup bars just got installed ~2-3 years ago.  I still never see dip bars, other than in the gym.  Rings are right out.

 

2,3, and 4 are where a lot of really useful stuff gets taken out, actually.  If the instructor can't demonstrate it, he can't have people doing it.  The Army should be doing handstands and 1-arm pushups and pistol squats, but few instructors will be able to accomplish it.  Everyone will be at different places in the progression, but everyone has to be doing the same thing.  (That's a thing in the Army, and it can't really be argued.)  For those of you in the know, it is easy to see if someone's videotaped ABH is hitting Coach's standards or not.  There aren't enough instructors to enforce the subtle problems with that kind of exercise in the Army.  It is too easy to cheat the exercise, and the trainees aren't going to be experienced enough to really help out their buddies to meet the standard.

 

That was a completely off-topic rant, and I'm sorry if you don't care but I had to get it out.  The Army is making improvements.  There is a long way to go, but they are definitely moving forward.  I see the problems, but I don't have the solutions.

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Ronnicky Roy

That makes more sense. Dealing with large numbers of people and being time effecient with them all.

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Andrei Kharchenko

  I do not think, that is the case for everyone.                    

In fact , pushing's been way easier for me, than pulling.

I'm 5'10, 165lbs, can do *HARDLY* 2 pullups in a row, but can easily do 40-50 proper push ups.                                                                                                                                                                         

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Alessandro Mainente
19 hours ago, Andrei Kharchenko said:

  I do not think, that is the case for everyone.                    

In fact , pushing's been way easier for me, than pulling.

I'm 5'10, 165lbs, can do *HARDLY* 2 pullups in a row, but can easily do 40-50 proper push ups.                                                                                                                                                                         

You are comparing 2 different movements so this does not make sense. push up which it horizontal and with only a little part of the bodyweight that it is moved up and down VERSUS a vertical pullup with all the bodyweight moved. 

a decent comparison could be handstand push up with pullup, vertical pulling with vertical pushing. I seriously doubt that you can be stronger on pushing.

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Frank Santasiero

Untrained individuals are usually better at pulling exercises. Many fit individuals can do at least one pullup even though they never trained for any significant period of time. These same individuals would be hard pressed to exhibit any pushing strength. Simply put pushing has more potential to develop than pulling. When most people begin a tradition bodybuilding program with a mixture of push and pull their pushing progress usually will outpace their pulling progress. Those who stick with it a long time and have the most success will become immensely strong pushing but their relative pulling strength will usually lag. At the world class level a 300 pound weightlifter can bench press 700 pounds raw. That is 2.3 times bodyweight. Impressive for even a 150 pound man. That same world class lifter does not exhibit the same relative pulling strength.

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Michel Hendrickson
On 10-6-2017 at 2:46 AM, Frank Santasiero said:

Untrained individuals are usually better at pulling exercises. Many fit individuals can do at least one pullup even though they never trained for any significant period of time. These same individuals would be hard pressed to exhibit any pushing strength. Simply put pushing has more potential to develop than pulling. When most people begin a tradition bodybuilding program with a mixture of push and pull their pushing progress usually will outpace their pulling progress. Those who stick with it a long time and have the most success will become immensely strong pushing but their relative pulling strength will usually lag. At the world class level a 300 pound weightlifter can bench press 700 pounds raw. That is 2.3 times bodyweight. Impressive for even a 150 pound man. That same world class lifter does not exhibit the same relative pulling strength.

Of course. Because world class lifters training is highly specific, optimized for squat, bench, deadlift rather than allround strength and fitness. Therefore that example demonstrates nothing.

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Joaquin Malagon
On ‎6‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 2:49 PM, Alessandro Mainente said:

You are comparing 2 different movements so this does not make sense. push up which it horizontal and with only a little part of the bodyweight that it is moved up and down VERSUS a vertical pullup with all the bodyweight moved. 

a decent comparison could be handstand push up with pullup, vertical pulling with vertical pushing. I seriously doubt that you can be stronger on pushing.

I do not think, even this is a good comparison. The musculature utilized in both movements are not apt for direct comparison, a more appropriate comparison would be dips and pull ups or rows and pushups or HSPU and inverted chin ups. These comparisons are only valid when utilizing full ROM, other wise one might mistake one to be easier than the other. For example, how many front lever pulls have you seen where the athlete pulls the elbows far behind the back, where the hands reach hip height at shoulder width? Or planche pushups, with chest touching the ground and the elbows reaching far behind the torso? Performed half ROM it makes sense why someone would rate pulling easier than pushing in this specific scenario. The main point being pushing and pulling is relative to the scenario not the comparison between the opposite movements, for example although HSPU and the pull up are opposite movements, an inverted chin up is much harder in comparison even though it is a pulling element. Pushing is not always generated by the anterior chain, for example the Manna although straight arm, can be considered a pushing element. As many know, the Manna is difficult (speaking in terms of strength only) but this is because it requires force to be generated in a smaller set of muscles, like in Planche or HSPU, etc. I'm sure everyone has their individual strengths and weaknesses, pushing instead of pulling, might be something an individual might excel in more and this can be due to specialization. Point being, it makes sense why your average Joe is more likely to excel at pulling in the GB program. FL and RC (and some of its progressions I'm sure) utilize the largest muscle in the upper body, whereas straddle planche and manna utilize the delts, traps, etc. which are smaller and generate less force. And from what I remember reading on the forum, sPL and Manna are mastered after FL and RC. Thoughts?

Edited by Joaquin Malagon
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Étienne Lajeunesse

Well, it's interesting how I see it differently.  Not because average people are made a certain way, but because they do things according to their lifestyle.  It's not because the lats are one of the largest muscles that they're the most developped.  I teach martial arts and, believe me or not,  some people were dying doing one horizontal row, while they could do many push-ups (some with bad forms...ok :P).

It depends on how you work on things, and yes, pulling techniques could be easier for some, but let's not forget it all starts from what they originally do.

10 hours ago, Joaquin Malagon said:

I Point being, it makes sense why your average Joe is more likely to excel at pulling in the GB program. FL and RC (and some of its progressions I'm sure) utilize the largest muscle in the upper body, whereas straddle planche and manna utilize the delts, traps, etc. which are smaller and generate less force. And from what I remember reading on the forum, sPL and Manna are mastered after FL and RC. Thoughts?

 

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