Force transmission through the wrist during performance of push-ups on a hyperextended and a neutral wrist

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Study Design:Cross-sectional cohort.Introduction:Push-ups are used ubiquitously to evaluate and strengthen the upper body. They are usually performed in 1 of 2 main ways: with the wrist in hyperextension and with the wrist in a neutral position.Purpose of the Study:The purpose of our study was to compare the dynamic forces in the wrist during the 2 push-up styles.Methods:Fourteen volunteers performed push-ups in 2 different patterns: on a hyperextended wrist and a neutral wrist (NW). Two force plates and a motion capture system were used to measure the ground reaction forces (GRFs) and the kinematics of the upper extremity during push-ups. Kinematic and kinetic analyses were performed using Matlab software (Mathworks, Natick, MA).Results:The GRF vector was distributed differently during the different types of push-ups. For both methods, the total GRF carried by the upper dominant extremity was larger than those of the nondominant extremity. In the NW configuration, the GRF vector was more uniform throughout the push-up in the vertical direction. The horizontal distance between the capitate bone location and the GRF origin was smaller in hyperextension. The forces traveled more dorsally over a wider area and more ulnarly in the hyperextended wrist.Discussion:Forces are transmitted differently through the wrist in the 2 methods. Push-ups on an NW are likely safer because ligaments may be preferentially loaded in hyperextension. Further study may delineate the differences in the anatomic location of force transmission and the long-term clinical effect on the wrist.Conclusions:This study supports the performance of push-ups on a wrist in neutral flexion extension; both to enable patients after surgery or injury to strengthen the upper body and prevent injury and long-term wear in the wrist. The knowledge gained from this study may assist in outlining guidelines for push-up performance.Level of Evidence:Diagnostic level 2a.

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