Why is the explosive pushup the ideal push movement for Q&D?

RusticBohemian

Level 4 Valued Member
In Q&D, the explosive pushup is explained as the push of choice this way:

"The floor pushup is the Q&D push of choice—classic and democratic. Parallel bar dips also worked great for the subjects whose shoulders could take this controversial movement, but since Q&D was conceived as an egalitarian “power to the people!” type program, dips did not make the final cut."

Elsewhere in the book, I feel like Pavel explains his rationale for one and two-handed swings and snatches and talks about the pros and cons of each, how they develop the body, etc. But I don't feel like he gives a great overview of why the pushup is great to train (among the many other possible push exercises one could train).

Has he covered this elsewhere?

Thanks.
 

coachnathanwhite

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
If you go all the way back to "Power to the People (PTTP)", Pavel has a history of favoring a minimalist program that offers a push and a pull movement. In PTTP it was the barbell military press and the barbell deadlift. Q&D offers different programming, but still follows that model with the pushup and swing / snatch. A push and a pull, with the student only needing 1 piece of equipment - the kettlebell.

I also believe Pavel wanted to design Q&D to be either a stand alone program or a complimentary one to other training / sport activity. With this intention, having one of the two exercises be bodyweight only makes the most sense.
 
Last edited:

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I believe some of the bio-chemistry involved in Q&D also accounts for this. To get into that final stage of ADP>>AMP (the myokinase system, I believe) you have to have a really high cadence of very powerful contractions happening.

To generate enough power, you have to work at lower percentages of your 1RM (which is why recommends having a bodywieght bench or the steady 20 pushups as a prerequisite). The pushup is an easy movement to accomplish this, and is also easily loaded with weights or bands if needed.

A lot of power can be generated with heavier weights, in Oly lifting, for example, but not really repetitively in the format that Q&D calls for, which calls for a "sprint" of a motion. You can more easily "sprint" with the power pushups or dips.
 

q.Hung

Level 6 Valued Member
. But I don't feel like he gives a great overview of why the pushup is great to train (among the many other possible push exercises one could train).
He had mentioned about push press and jerk if I remember correctly. Basically push up is safe enough to do with high speed/power.
He also mentioned about using the band instead of increasing leg height.
 

Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
Am I the only one who is extremely skeptical of pushing yourself off the floor and then slamming back into it repeatedly? In terms of wrist and elbow health.
Been doing them regularly for about the last year and a half. I use a freefall drop (what I think of as "playing chicken with the floor"), and try to stay within 10 seconds or less per set, with a full lockout at the top of each rep.

No problems whatsoever. For reference, I'm 56 years old, with plenty of hand and shoulder injuries from a lifetime of competitive basketball, and occasional elbow inflammation over the years.

Here's a thread I started about them when I was a few months into practicing them:
Power Pushup Appreciation Thread
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 5 Valued Member
Am I the only one who is extremely skeptical of pushing yourself off the floor and then slamming back into it repeatedly? In terms of wrist and elbow health.
It takes a lifetime to understand past mistakes and I've never met an older man who said, I wish I jumped more or did more plyometrics. Most wish they were more conservative, careful and realize now that some exercises just aren't worth the pain down the line.

This quote by Steve Maxwell sums up why I'm skeptical :

"One final thought: it's not always obvious injuries you will experience; much of it is accumulation of sub-acute injury that results in later problems." -- Steve Maxwell
 

BJJ Shawn

Level 5 Valued Member
It takes a lifetime to understand past mistakes and I've never met an older man who said, I wish I jumped more or did more plyometrics. Most wish they were more conservative, careful and realize now that some exercises just aren't worth the pain down the line.

This quote by Steve Maxwell sums up why I'm skeptical :

"One final thought: it's not always obvious injuries you will experience; much of it is accumulation of sub-acute injury that results in later problems." -- Steve Maxwell
Push-ups are about the easiest exercise to do with maximum power and still being able to judge your form. If you’re having a problem with these, you should have a coach help you, but I think that’s why they were chosen.

As stated, other power moves can be substituted, as long as your form is on point and you can have maximum power for 10 seconds.
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 5 Valued Member
Push-ups are about the easiest exercise to do with maximum power and still being able to judge your form. If you’re having a problem with these, you should have a coach help you, but I think that’s why they were chosen.

As stated, other power moves can be substituted, as long as your form is on point and you can have maximum power for 10 seconds.
I've always been under the impression that explosive exercise is specific to the exact movement being performed. For example, getting really good at explosive pushups won't make you more explosive in judo throws or have better take downs in wrestling.

This leads me to question not if you can do explosive exercise with good form, possibly gaining microtrauma overtime but whether one has to risk doing explosive movements at all. Especially when it's questioned whether explosive movements carry over at all.
 

DuncanGB

Level 6 Valued Member
If you go all the way back to "Power to the People (PTTP)", Pavel has a history of favoring a minimalist program that offers a push and a pull movement. In PTTP it was the barbell military press and the barbell deadlift. Q&D offers different programming, but still follows that model with the pushup and swing / snatch. A push and a pull, with the student only needing 1 piece of equipment - the kettlebell.
Pairing a dynamic horizontal plank with the ballistic vertical plank at the top of the swing typifies the elegance of Pavel's principle-driven minimalism.

To get into that final stage of ADP>>AMP (the myokinase system, I believe) you have to have a really high cadence of very powerful contractions happening.
The G.L.A.G. principle - maximal contraction of glutes, lats, abs, and grip - must also be vital in triggering the emergency energy system.


For more on swings and pushups, recommend this article:

 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
Am I the only one who is extremely skeptical of pushing yourself off the floor and then slamming back into it repeatedly? In terms of wrist and elbow health.
Pavel, in the book, says that you can do the power pushup by intending to go airborne, or you can "root."

Rooting, to me, conjures images of leaving handprints in the floor, rather than trying to leave it. It is a completely different sensation to me than "jumping" pushups. I rather like it.

Many repetitive stress injuries can be mitigated or avoided by slowly building up the movement as well. Chances are, if you can do 10-20 pushups with the recommended power, you have already spent enough time on your hands that it shouldn't be much of an issue, as @Steve W. also commented.

To each their own, but in my opinion, many people have weak wrists because they don't spend enough time on their hands.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
He had mentioned about push press and jerk if I remember correctly. Basically push up is safe enough to do with high speed/power.
He also mentioned about using the band instead of increasing leg height.

Personally, I’ll try Q&D at some point by swapping in a vertical press because I care about vertical pushing power more than horizontal.
 
Last edited:

q.Hung

Level 6 Valued Member
Personally, I’ll try Q&D at some point by swapping in a vertical press because I care about vertical pushing power more than horizontal.
I did explosive dips instead of push up. I'm stronger with vertical press (75 kg press vs 100 kg bench, + 60 kg dips).
 

DuncanGB

Level 6 Valued Member
Personally, I’ll try Q&D at some point by swapping in a vertical press because I care about vertical pushing power more than horizontal.
In that case, just go snatch - Plan 044 [10/2 > 5/4 IMO FWIW]:

I will just highlight a couple of especially unusual WTHEs delivered by Q&D snatching: Military press and pullup strength increases.
Tsatsouline, Pavel. The Quick and the Dead: Total Training for the Advanced Minimalist (p. 84). StrongFirst, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
In that case, just go snatch - Plan 044 [10/2 > 5/4 IMO FWIW]:

I will just highlight a couple of especially unusual WTHEs delivered by Q&D snatching: Military press and pullup strength increases.
Tsatsouline, Pavel. The Quick and the Dead: Total Training for the Advanced Minimalist (p. 84). StrongFirst, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

i don‘t think I would.

Push press has more sport specific carry over for me.
 

John sardos

Level 4 Valued Member
I have played around with Medicine ball 1 Arm Push Press or side throw using 10-14Lbs. I thought it fit great but did have to change the reps from 5 to 8 and 10 to 12. I wish I had done some kind of rotational test before and after. Felt more powerful but nothing to back it.
 
Top Bottom