Dear Coach Ray,
I need help! There was a new guy in our CF class this week (Deebo) and he was partnered with me for the WOD. After we got through our first set of push ups, he started calling me “Big Worm”. Now all the kids in the neighborhood are calling me Big Worm! Can you help me get rid of the worm in my push up?
Hey Big Perm… I mean… Big Worm… The push up is arguably the most likely movement to be executed with sloppy and inefficient mechanics. Sounds like you’ve got some midline instability, lack of motor control, or both.
Before we get into helping you lose that dreaded moniker, let’s establish some context for any visitors we may have. In our gym, we don’t allow knee push ups as a scaling option for pushups. Here’s an explanation from Dr. Kelly Starrett as to why:
To sum up, the reason we don’t allow knee pushups is that people who only train knee pushups, will rarely ever develop the strength to do regular pushups because the movement pattern and pressing mechanics are not the same. Allowing a worming variation gets us a step forward in the right direction. The problem is that some athletes get complacent with the worm and never progress away from it. While better than a knee push up, it’s not the end-all. We need to get that midline in order to get all the pieces together.
Here’s a great video that I did with Dr. Theresa Larson of Movement-Rx
And here is Part 2 with a handy progression that you can use to help build that midline strength:
I hope this helps!