Thai Elbow Pushup

5 Rules For Better Pushups | Fitness

Thai Elbow Pushup

Pushups are one of the most fundamental exercises. And yet, very few people can do a truly perfect pushup — most just slog through the required reps as best they can.

“Everyone understands the general concept of a pushup,” says Katie Collard, certified strength and conditioning specialist and head coach at Cut Seven. “What they don’t understand is that a pushup uses your entire anterior chain. To do one correctly, you must activate every muscle in the front of your body.”

Once you shift your mindset and start thinking about pushups as a total-body exercise rather than a chest and arm exercise, they become easier to improve. “Your body is a complete system that works as a whole,” Collard points out. “Stop thinking of pushups as a single muscle group exercise, and you will see progress.”

Most people aren’t able to start with a full pushup straight away. At least, not with good form. (If you are, count yourself lucky.)

The most common modification for working up to a full pushup is going down to your knees. However, experts don’t actually recommend these if your goal is to get to the full move. “The problem with knee pushups is that they’re far too easy to have much carryover to a full pushup,” explains Greg Pignataro, certified strength and conditioning coach at Grindset Fitness.

“To fix this, I recommend people who aren’t confident with pushups set up stackable steps or barbell plates and straddle them with their arms,” Pignataro says. Focus all your energy on keeping your glutes squeezed, abs flexed and elbows tracking backward and lower down until you gently touch the step, then push yourself back up.

“Even if you can only maintain this for a small descent that is 2–3 inches below the top of the pushup, that’s totally fine. Building these habits will yield fast, impressive progress,” he adds.

Once you can do 15–20 of these “high” pushups, increase the difficulty by making the platform lower.

“By utilizing this strategy, even someone who hates pushups can safely and properly perform chest-to-floor push-ups before they know it.”

Another modification option: “The exercise I see the best results with is an eccentric — or ‘slow’ — pushup,” Collard notes. (FYI, “eccentric” describes the lowering portion of the pushup movement.)

“With an eccentric pushup, the idea is to lower as slowly as you possibly can to the ground, drop, then reset at the top of the pushup position,” Collard explains.

“This does several things: It mimics that true pushup form, trains the right muscles (especially your abdominals) and helps you practice full range of motion.

Basically, it allows your body to learn how to do a pushup with proper technique.”

Getting your hands in the right position for a pushup matters, but getting your elbows tracking in the right direction is important, too. “Rotate your hands a tiny bit externally (so your fingers turn slightly away from you) so that the ‘pit’ of each of your elbows (also known as the cubital fossa) is facing straight ahead,” Pignataro instructs.

“In this position, when you bend your elbows to perform the pushup, they will track backward instead of flaring outward. The benefits of this are numerous. Your shoulders stay in a much safer position, and you’ll increase triceps activation while still using the pecs and delts as the primary movers.”

You’ve probably heard the tip to keep your core engaged throughout a pushup a million times. But if you’re not sure what that feels , it’s easier said than done. Surprisingly, you can recruit your lower body to help keep your core turned on.

When your adductors (inner thigh muscles) are activated, they help stabilize your pelvis, which allows the core to have a strong foundation while doing pushups, explains Jennifer Novak, MS, a certified strength and conditioning coach and owner of Peak Symmetry. When your hips are externally rotated — in other words, when your feet are turned out slightly — your adductors can more easily activate.

So when you set up for your pushup, step your feet apart slightly, turn your toes out a little bit and squeeze your inner thighs together (without letting them touch).

For some people, this is easier to achieve by squeezing a small ball between your thighs.

“This hip rotation/foot position tip can be used to help keep the pelvis level so that important core muscles can engage, keeping the hips from dropping below the plank position,” Novak adds.

If you still need help with your pushup, you can take advantage of something called post-activation potentiation, Novak says. It sounds complicated, but it’s not: “It’s using a plyometric exercise prior to attempting the pushup to increase firing rate of the muscle,” she explains.

Here’s how to do it: “Stand an arm’s length away from a sturdy wall, and with the body tall and stable, fall toward the wall until the hands touch the wall, then push away with the arms to the former upright position.” After doing this several times, try doing a regular pushup on the floor and see if it feels any easier — it should!


UFC Workout II – C

Thai Elbow Pushup

Reps: Repeat for 30 Seconds Rest: 15-30 Seconds

Hold a Bosu or medicine ball in both hands and get into a fighting stance [1]. Explosively shoot your legs back and drop to the floor, placing all your weight on the ball and spreading your feet out wide [2]. Stand up again as quickly as possible, and repeat for 30 seconds.

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Exercise 2: Thai Elbow Pushup

Reps: 20 Rest: 15-30 Seconds

Get into pushup position on a Bosu ball, and then bend your elbows so that you’re balancing on them [1]. (You can use only the floor to make it easier.) Now plant one hand at a time on the ball [2] and push yourself up [3]. Return to the down position. That’s one rep.


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Exercise 3: Single-Leg Deadlift

Reps: 10 Rest: 15-30 Seconds

Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and balance on your right leg [1]. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, simultaneously bend your hips and right knee and lower your body as far as you can (do not round your back at any time) [2]. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform 10 reps, and then switch sides and repeat.


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Exercise 4: Swiss-Ball Alligator Walk

Reps: Walk for 30 Seconds Rest: 15-30 Seconds

Get into pushup position, resting your shins on a Swiss ball [1]. Begin walking your hands in a semi-circle pattern a few feet to the right [2] and then left [3], making sure to keep your body in a straight line the whole time. Continue for 30 seconds.


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Exercise 5: Medicine-Ball Cross Woodchop

Reps: 10 Rest: 15-30 Seconds

Hold a medicine ball in both hands over your right shoulder and stand in an athletic stance [1]. Explosively swing the ball diagonally downward to the outside of your left hip [2]. Raise the ball back up over your left shoulder and repeat to the opposite side. That’s one rep.


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Exercise 6: Dumbbell Sit-Out

Reps: Repeat for 30 Seconds (each side) Rest: 15-30 Seconds

Lie on your back on the floor with knees bent and hold a dumbbell at arm’s length over your face with your left hand [1]. Roll onto your right elbow [2], and then post your right hand on the floor behind you.

Scoot out to your left side so that you end up on your right knee [3]. Keep the dumbbell perpendicular to the floor at all times. Return to the floor. Continue for 30 seconds, and then switch arms and repeat.


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Exercise 7: Thai Clinch Rollout

Reps: 20 Rest: 15-30 Seconds

Cup one hand over the back of the other one and bend your elbows so you look you’re covering your throat. Rest your forearms on a Swiss ball and spread your legs wide behind you [1]. Now roll the ball forward with your forearms, reaching as if you were grabbing somebody’s head. Keep your body stabilized [2]. Roll the ball back. That’s one rep.


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Exercise 8: Swiss-Ball Band Punch

Rep: Repeat for 15 Seconds (each side) Rest: 15-30 Seconds

Loop a band around a sturdy object and walk a few feet in front of it so that you feel tension on the bands. Rest your right knee on a Swiss ball and cock your arms at your sides [1]. Begin throwing punches as hard as you can while keeping your balance [2]. Continue for 15 seconds, and then switch knees and repeat.


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8 Variations of the Pushup

Thai Elbow Pushup

The pushup is probably the first muscle-building exercise most guys ever master, and also the first one they abandon. At some point they discover the bench press, come up off the floor, and never look back. But if you want a truly athletic physique, that's a big mistake.

How do I know? I set out to discover the training secrets of the world's best fighters for my book Ultimate Warrior Workouts. I traveled from sun-scorched beaches in Brazil to blood-and-sweat-soaked rings in Thailand. No matter where I looked, I found the planet's toughest men training with pushups. And many were doing variations of the exercise I'd never seen before.

I've included eight of those variations here. Think you're tough? Try to complete 10 reps of each—80 pushups total—in 5 minutes or less. It's a body-weight challenge that's sure to make you a believer in the power of the pushup.

Standard Pushup

The benefit: The standard pushup works your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.

How to do it: Kneel down on all fours and place your hands slightly beyond shoulder-width apart. Set your feet together and straighten your arms and legs. Your body should form a straight line from ankles to head. Keeping your elbows pulled in toward your sides, lower your chest to an inch above the floor, and press back up. That's 1 rep.

Leg-Kick Pushup

Origin: The Netherlands

The benefit: By forcing you to hold a position, it activates more muscle in your chest and shoulders than a standard pushup does. It also helps develop strength and flexibility in your hip flexors, glutes, and hamstrings.

How to do it: Assume a pushup position, and then lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Kick your right leg out to the side as close to a 90-degree angle as possible without bending your knee. Pause, and move your leg back to the starting position. Push your body back up, and repeat with your left leg.

Knee-to-Opposite-Elbow Pushup

Origin: Thailand

The benefit: It uses rotation to work your abdominal muscles, hip flexors, and back in addition to targeting your chest and triceps.

How to do it: Assume a pushup position, but form fists with your hands so your knuckles are flat against the floor.

Bring your right knee to your left elbow, and pause before returning your leg to the starting position. Now lower your body as you would for a standard pushup.

Push back to the starting position and repeat, this time bringing your left knee to your right elbow.

Corkscrew Pushup

Origin: USA

The benefit: It works your quads, calves, and core in addition to all the upper-body muscles activated when you do a standard pushup.

How to do it: Assume a pushup position, but walk your feet toward your hands until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, with your hips slightly higher than your head.

Lower your left side close to the floor by rotating your body and bending your elbows. Pause, and then rise slightly and rotate your right side to the floor. Pause again, and push back up to the starting position.

That's 1 rep.

Triangle Pushup

Origin: Brazil

The benefit: It forces one arm to work harder to handle a heavier load, and changes the angle of movement to stimulate more muscle.

How to do it: Assume a pushup position, but form fists with your hands so your knuckles are flat against the floor.

Lower your chest to your left hand, pause, and push back up. Repeat, this time lowering your chest to your right hand. Alternate sides each rep.

Twisting Pushup

Origin: Brazil

The benefit: It works the rotational muscles in your core, and improves flexibility in your hip and groin muscles.

How to do it: Assume a pushup position, but form fists with your hands so your knuckles are flat against the floor.

Rotate your hips to the right and cross your right leg in front of your left. Then lower your chest toward the floor as you would for a standard pushup, being careful not to let your hips touch the floor.

Push back up and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg.

Uchi Mata Pushup

Origin: Japan

The benefit: It increases activation of your core, lower back, and hamstrings while also boosting demand on the muscles in your shoulders.

How to do it: From a pushup position, lift your right foot so your leg is parallel to the floor. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Now raise your lifted leg higher into the air. Push back to the starting position. Do half your reps, switch legs, and finish your set.

Alternating Grip Single-Leg Pushup

Origin: England

The benefit: It works your lower-abdominal muscles and places more demand on your chest and serratus anterior, an important posture muscle that runs from your chest and along your rib cage to your shoulder blade.

How to do it: Place your right hand in a standard pushup position, but move your left hand a few inches forward. Raise your right leg and then lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Push back to the starting position. Do half your reps, then switch arms and legs and finish your set.

Kettlebell Pushup

Origin: Russia

The benefit: It challenges your forearms, rotator cuffs, and core muscles as a result of the instability of the exercise.

How to do it: Assume a pushup position, but place each hand on a kettlebell with your palms facing each other. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the kettlebells, pause, and then push back to the starting position.


(PDF) The Biomechanics of the Push-up

Thai Elbow Pushup

characterized by fast eccentric, reversal,

and concentric phases but does not

involve leaving the ground) and found

that the countermovement push-up,

which was performed with maximal

speed, exhibited the highest peak force

and rate of force development. Given

that this is the only variation that does

not encounter impact forces, it appears

that the countermovement push-up is

a safe and effective choice for explosive

variations if one wishes to maximize the

aspects of upper-body power. Clapping

push-ups have been shown to outper-

form standard, slow eccentric, 1 hand

on medicine ball, staggered hands,

hands on 2 balls, 2 hands on 1 ball, rapid

countermovement, 1 arm, and alternat-

ing plyometric push-up variations in

pectoralis major and triceps brachii

activity (6). Advanced forms of plyo-

metric push-ups could be problematic

for individuals with back issues, given

that an alternating plyometric push-up

using a medicine ball has been shown to

induce 6,224 N of compressive forces on

the lumbar spine (6).

Additional alterations can be employed

to decrease or increase the challenging

nature of the exercise. For example, wall

push-ups (leaning forward with hands

against the wall) and knee push-ups

(knees on the floor) are appropriate

for those with limited upper-body

strength, whereas push-ups using 1

arm or 1 leg can make the movement

sufficiently challenging even for those

who are highly fit. Furthermore,

a weighted vest, elastic bands, chains,

and/or various unstable implements

can be employed to further challenge

the upper-body musculature. Table 2

illustrates some push-up variations, cat-

egorized into the levels of difficulty.


Push-ups can be an excellent exercise

for improving muscle strength and

endurance. It is imperative that practi-

tioners possess adequate knowledge of

push-up variations to optimize the

challenge on the target musculature

without compromising proper form

and risking injury. The biomechanical

information contained herein can

serve as a guideline to prescribe proper

progressions and regressions to

achieve desired outcomes.

Bret Contreras is a practicing strength

coach and is currently pursuing his PhD

at AUT University.

Brad Schoenfeld is a lecturer in the

exercise science program at CUNY

Lehman College and a doctoral student

at Rocky Mountain University.

Jonathan Mike is a doctoral candidate

in exercise physiology at the University of

New Mexico.

Gul Tiryaki-Sonmez is an associate

professor in the department of health

science at CUN Y Lehman College and

program director of their exercise science


John Cronin is a Professor in Strength

and Conditioning at AUT University,

NZ and an Adjunct Professor at Edith

Cowan University.

Elsbeth Vaino is a strength and con-

ditioning consultant and personal trainer.


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Hales D. Objectivity, reliability, and validity

for a revised push-up test protocol. Meas

Phys Educ Exerc Sci 6: 225–242, 2002.

2. Beach T, Howarth S, and Callaghan J.

Muscular contribution to low-back loading

and stiffness during standard and

suspended push-ups. Hum Mov Sci 27:

457–472, 2008.

3. Chuckpaiwong B an d Harnroongroj T. Palmar

pressure distribution during push-up exercise.

Singapore Med J 50: 702–704, 2009.

4. Cogley R, Archambault T, Fibeger J,

Koverman M, Youdas J, and Hollman J.

Comparison of muscle activation using

various hand positions during the push-up

exercise. J Strength Cond Res 19: 628–

633, 2005.

5. Ebben WP, Wurm B, VanderZanden TL,

Spadavecchia ML, Durocher JJ, Bickham CT,

and Petushek EJ. Kinetic analysis of several

variations of push-ups. J Strength Cond Res

25: 2891–2894, 2011.

6. Freeman S, Karpowicz A, Gray J, and

McGill S. Quantifying muscle patterns and

spine load during various forms of the push-up.

Med Sci Sports Exerc 38: 570–577, 2006.

7. Garcia-Masso X, Colado JC, Gonzalez LM,

Salva P, Alves J, Tella V, and Triplett NT.

Myoelectric activation and kinetics of different

plyometric push-up exercises. JStrength

Cond Res 25: 2040–2047, 2011.

8. Geiger B. Training notebook: Angle play.

Muscle Fitness January: 46–48, 2004.

9. Gouvali M and Boudolos K. Dynamic and

electromyographical analysis in variants of

push-up exercise. J Strength Cond Res 19:

146–151, 2005.

10. Hammer C. Preseason training for college

baseball. Strength Cond J 31: 79–85, 2009.

11. Juker D, McGill S, Kropf P, and Steffen T.

Quantitative intramuscular myoelectric

activity of lumbar portions of psoas and the

abdominal wall during a wide variety of tasks.

Med Sci Sports Exerc 30: 301–310, 1998.

12. Kuechle DK, Newman SR, Itoi E,

Morrey BF, and An KN. Shoulder muscle

moment arms during horizontal flexion and

elevation. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 6: 429–

439, 1997.

13. La Bounty P, Campbell B, Galvan E,

Cooke M, and Antonio J. Strength and

conditioning considerations for mixed martial

arts. Strength Cond J 33: 56–67, 2011.

14. Lehman G, MacMillan B, MacIntyre I,

Chivers M, and Fluter M. Shoulder muscle

EMG activity during push up variations on

and off a Swiss ball. Dyn Med 5: 7, 2006.

15. Lehman G, Gilas D, and Patel U. An

unstable support surface does not increase

scapulothoracic stabilizing muscle activity

during push up and push up plus exercises.

Man Ther 13: 500–506, 2008.

16. Marshall P and Murphy B. Changes in

muscle activity and perceived exertion

during exercises performed on a Swiss

ball. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 31: 376–

383, 2006.

17. Paton ME and Brown JM. An

electromyographic analysis of functional

differentiation in human pectoralis major

muscle. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 4: 161–

169, 1994.

18. Popovich RM, Gardner JW, Potter R,

Knapik JJ, and Jones BH. Effect of rest from

running on overuse injuries in army basic

training. Am J Prev Med 18: 147–155, 2000.

19. Suprak DN, Dawes J, and Stephenson MD.

The effect of position on the percentage of

body mass supported during traditional

and modified push-up variants. J Strength

Cond Res 25: 497–503, 2011.

20. Tucker WS, Armstrong CW, Gribble PA,

Timmons MK, and Yeasting RA. Scapular

Strength and Conditioning Journal |



Knuckle Push Ups For Fighters?

Thai Elbow Pushup

Here’s a follow up answering to a couple of questions that came up from the first video on push up technique for fighters…

“I feel so much weaker when I stop flaring out my elbows when I do my push ups, will this change?”

“Is there any benefit to doing push ups on your knuckles?”

First of all, many confessed that they where guilty of flaring their elbows during their push ups…

If you have that habit, be aware that because of that, you’ll feel weaker when you change position at first.

But that will change.

And then you’ll feel WEAKER when you flare your elbows, which means you’ve succeeded in reinforcing and strengthening the correct pattern.

And your body will no longer seek to flare the the elbow to feel stronger.

Another good question was, “Is there any benefit from pushing from your knuckles as opposed to an open hand?”

There are pros and cons.

Push ups from the knuckles is a friendlier anatomical position for the wrist, and develops punch specific wrist strength and stabilisation.

However, although the wrist position is friendlier for the bones in the wrist, the additional leverage resulting from the increased height from the floor (which places greater demands on wrist strength and stability), also fatigues your wrist quicker.

And this isn’t a good idea heading into a session with a ton of heavy punches, as you’ve increased the lihood of wrist injury.

Knuckle push ups also don’t challenge wrist mobility at all, where as regular palm push ups certainly do.

Many fighters the sensation on “conditioning” your knuckles for impact… because of the pressure on the knuckle bones on harder floor surfaces.

And although somewhat useful, I’d caution against too much of this, as you’ll pick up an overuse injury that stops you punching!

You can get plenty of sport specific impact conditioning from just hitting a heavy bag… and as fighters, we wear wraps and gloves to protect our hands too…

So we can tolerate the high volume of punches that we practice without injury.

For me, a small number of knuckle push ups are useful for teaching the correct punching wrist-alignment for beginners, or perhaps activating this alignment as part of a warm up for everyone else.

I also knuckle push ups as a finisher to test wrist stability under fatigue, once you’ve finished using them to stabilise your punches in a training session. That way, you avoid needless pre-fatigue that could cause you to buckle a wrist while punching in training.

If you want to train the more comfortable wrist alignment without either destabilising the wrist due to leverage, or overusing the knuckles, then practice push ups on dumbbells.

I often have clients with wrist issues (that can’t tolerate a regular palm push up), perform them using dumbbells as handles instead.

A neutral, or thumbs up toward the shoulder position is the friendliest all round (for both the wrist and the shoulder). And helps you prevent flaring out those elbows too!

However you practice your push ups, get strong without the that chicken wing. That’s the most important thing.

And remember quality over quantity, every time.


7 Intense Push-Up Variations For A Full-Body Workout

Thai Elbow Pushup

The push-up is an exercise nearly as old as time. Push-ups are great for sculpting muscles of the arms, chest, back, and the core.

A set of push-ups is a great way to get some cardiovascular exercise and do some strength training at the same time. This makes the good old push-up the perfect exercise for a person who needs to squeeze in a workout before the start of a busy day. Here are a few push-up variations that will put all your muscles to work.

1) The Classic Push-Up

The traditional push-up works muscles of the chest and core. To do it, get in the plank position, with each of your palms positioned right under each shoulder. Lower your body by bending your arms at the elbows and lift the body back to the plank position by straightening your arms.

2) Staggered Push-Ups

To do this type of push-up, assume the plank position. Leave one hand at shoulder level and place the other at neck level so that one hand is in front of the other. Lower the body by bending the elbows and remember to aim your elbows backward as you bend them. Lift your body by straightening the arms.

Staggered push-ups target the arm, chest, and abdominal muscles on the side of the body with the palm at shoulder level. Perform an even number of sets, with alternate sets of push-ups targeting alternate sides of the body.

3) Decline Push-Ups

Decline push-ups require the feet to be elevated above the rest of the body. Get into the plank position with your feet on a workout bench and with each palm directly below each shoulder. Your body should be sloped downward, with your head at the lowest point.

Lower your body by bending the elbows and then lift your body. Perform the push-ups until you complete a set of 10 or 20. Doing decline push-ups is a difficult exercise that targets the core and chest muscles.

4) Plyometric/Clap Push-Ups

With clap push-ups, you need a burst of force to launch yourself from the floor and keep your body from slamming into the ground. You start in the plank position and use explosive force to spring your body from the floor. While your body is in the air, clap your hands and quickly place your hands in the starting position.

Complete a set of 10 or 20 of these push-ups. You will really feel the burn in the muscles in your core, chest, and back, not to mention your arms and legs.

5) The Spiderman Push-Up

Make a spider and do your push-ups while pretending to crawl up a wall. This particular type of push-up exercises muscles in the core, chest, arms, and shoulders. It also targets muscles on the side of your torso.

To do the spiderman, start by assuming the plank position. As always, keep your body as straight as a plank. While you lower your body, bring your left knee to your left elbow. As you raise your body to resume the plank position, straighten the bent leg.

Now that you are in the plank position again, lower yourself while bringing the right knee to your right elbow. Raise yourself back to the plank position and straighten your right leg as you do it.

6) The Push-Up And Side Plank Combo

Get a full-body workout by combining two push-ups and two side planks into a single rep. The exercise will work all the muscles in the legs and torso while testing your sense of balance. This is how you do it.

Assume the plank position and lower yourself by bending your elbows. Raise yourself by straightening your arms and turn to your side while supporting yourself with the right arm. Raise the left arm to the ceiling and keep your body in a straight, diagonal line.

Hold the side plank position for a second or two and resume the starting position for the push-up. Do a second push-up followed by another side plank, only this time support yourself with your left arm.

Let us count this as one repetition, although it can count as two. However you count, this particular type of push-up will work most muscles in your body.

7) The Superman Push-Up

the clap push-up, the superman push-up needs a burst of force to propel your body upward. You also need the same force to brace your body as it hits the floor to protect yourself from an epic face plant.

The exercise targets muscles in your chest and to a lesser extent your core. This is how you do it: Get into the plank position and use lots of force to propel your whole body off the floor. While you are in the air, push your arms in front of you in a superman pose.

Now quickly brace yourself as you land by putting your arms back in the starting position, that is, with your hands right under the shoulders.

For maximum effect, you should keep your body straight with each rep, which means you need to have a good foundation with less challenging push-ups.

Push-ups work best with good form. Remember not to hunch your shoulders. Also, tighten your core to prevent your midsection from sagging. The result will be that your body remains straight for each push-up, and your good posture will make the push-ups that much more effective.


Muay Thai Elbow Mechanics – How to Develop Sharp Technique & KO Power

Thai Elbow Pushup

by Don Heatrick

To develop a devastating Muay Thai elbow, that ends fights, you’ve got to watch this video!


In this episode, I’m going to breakdown one of the most feared weapons in Muay Thai. The elbow.

I’m going to show you…

1. How to KO or TKO your opponent using elbows2. Biomechanics – How to generate maximum speed and power in your elbows3. The most common elbow mistakes

4. Specific exercises to rapidly improve your elbow technique, speed, and power

“Welcome to Heatrick Heavy Hitters, where Thai boxers use science to separate fact and myth… and become complete fighters”

Let’s get right into it. The elbow is the most devastating weapon in Muay Thai.

Because un other weapons, elbows have the highest chance of ending a fight.

They’re usually aimed at the head. And an elbow that connects cleanly will almost always either KO the opponent, or deliver a nasty cut that can result in a TKO.

You can KO your opponent by landing a clean elbow on their jaw or temple. This acts as an off switch! With enough power, a clean strike to either of these targets will instantly and completely shut down your opponent’s body, no matter how much willpower or stamina they might have left.

To KO your opponent, aim at the jaw, and look to snap their head back or violently twist it round. To achieve that, you’ll need to be a fraction closer in range.

To cut your opponent, aim at the eye sockets, brow bone or other areas of the skull. Here the skin is more delicate – when the tip of the elbow connects, the delicate skin tissue will rip open a massive, bloody papercut.

Whatever your target, be sure to deliver your strike with boney tip of your elbow, the Ulna bone.


Ok, now let’s look at the biomechanics of an elbow strike, and analyse how to transfer maximum speed and power to the tip of your elbow

These are the 3 fundamental components of a fast, powerful, and effective elbow strike

#1 Explosive hip drive

Watch here as a rotational hip action explodes into the strike.

The better this explosive drive from the floor, the more total body energy you can deliver to your elbow.

#2 Core stability

The core – the muscles in your torso – are responsible for transmitting the power from your hips to your shoulder.

If your core is weak or poorly coordinated, then your power will leak and fail to arrive at your shoulder.

You can see the result of good core-strength and power transfer here. The momentum from the hip rotation continues through the core, into the shoulder girdle which also rotates explosively toward the target.

The more you can think of an elbow strike as throwing your shoulder at the target, the more effective it will be.

#3 A relaxed & mobile shoulder joint

Now the power has arrived at your shoulder, a relaxed and highly mobile shoulder joint delivers the energy to the elbow and into the target – your opponent’s face!

The focus here is on “effortless power”. The work has already been done – generating momentum in the rest of the body.

This final step requires finesse. The shoulder and arm should be relaxed and snappy, a whip. Timing is crucial.

If your shoulder is tight, lacking range of motion, your power will choke at this point. Resulting in a much less effective elbow strike.

But using good shoulder mobility – and correctly timing the folding of the arm in a whipping action – suddenly accelerates the elbow and increases the impact considerably.


All these things add together.

To super-fuel that elbow, you need…

1. Explosive rotational hip drive2. A strong, coordinated core to transfer this energy to the shoulder

3. A mobile shoulder, with a completely relaxed arm and a well-timed folding at the elbow on impact

Now we’ll talk about the two most common mistakes when throwing elbows.

1. Arm Smashing (relying on arm strength)

Forget smashing away with major effort focused in your arm. That will lack meaningful Heavy Hitter power.

Even if you have great shoulder mobility, a tense arm won’t allow you to whip your total-body energy into the strike.

Relax your hand, wrist, and shoulder. And correctly time the folding of the elbow on impact.

2. Hitting With The Wrong Part Of The Elbow

The Ulna bone is the point of contact for your elbow strike.
It’s a solid, prominent, unforgiving weapon – that causes plenty of damage to your opponent.

Here we see rising star Nathan Ward delivering damaging elbows courtesy of Max Muay Thai.

And the reason for this spectacular damage is simple. Un your gloved punches, it’s a totally “non padded” weapon.

However, un the Ulna bone itself, the muscles of your forearm are relatively padded. So to truly exploit the destructive power of your elbow, hit only with the tip of the Ulna bone. And fold your arm to expose it.

It’s also worth mentioning, that along with the muscles running on the either side of that Ulna bone, there are several nerves. If you hit them, you’ll get that fizzy “funny bone” feeling in your forearm and fingers.

You don’t want that! Adjust your strike to hit with your bone, not your muscles or nerves.

These are a few things beginners, and even more experienced fighters, commonly seem to miss.

But get these key performance points right, and even when tired – Nathan Ward is here – an elbow can be effective enough, to at the very least, distract respected attention.

Allowing a for a high-scoring follow-up technique. I personally love to ripple attention at this range upstairs with elbows, and downstairs to the mid-section this with knees.

Possessing a dangerous elbow in your arsenal opens up many other opportunities.

Finally, I’m going to show you 5 exercises to rapidly and efficiently improve your elbow technique, speed and power.

#1 One-arm Dumbbell or Kettlebell Push Press (Explosive Hip Drive & Power)

This exercise primarily builds explosive hip drive power. But it also does two more things:

Firstly, it coordinates the core to transmit the power to the shoulder, and secondly (done correctly) it teaches drive from the shoulder with a relaxed arm.

Perform 5 reps on each side for 3 to 5 sets – taking at least 2 mins between sets before you repeat it again.

Start at three sets, and add a set each week to progress to 5 sets. And use a weight that allows you to complete all sets in perfect form.

#2 Kneeling Drop Elbow (Core Stability & Timing)

This exercises is my own invention, and develops the core stability and coordinated timing to truly deliver a devastating elbow.

Perform 5 reps per side for 3 to 5 sets – taking at least 2 minutes rest between sets before you repeat it again. Progress each week just as suggested for the push press.

Now, to develop the shoulder mobility needed to crack-in your elbow a chain-whip, I recommend the following set of exercises:

#3 Pec Minor Tack And Stretch (Warmup & Shoulder Mobility)

Perform 5 reps of three different movement shapes:Handcuff & salute, Flapping and Pressing

And practice this on both sides

This exercise is best placed at the start of your session as part of you warm up, to release the muscles to free up better shoulder mobility for the rest of the session.

#4 Wall Slide (Shoulder Mobility)

Perform 10 reps for 3 to 5 sets… and for practicality, place this exercise in the rest interval between the 1-arm Push Press and the Kneeling Drop Elbows.
It condenses your training time and makes your session super productive.

#5 Dowel Bow With Overhead Reach (Shoulder Mobility)

Perform 10 reps for 3 to 5 sets… and again for practicality, place this exercise after the Kneeling Drop Elbows before repeating the full sequence of exercises again.

So this super-condensed routine looks this:
After preparing with the Pec Minor Tack & Stretch, work through the exercises in this order…

1. 1-arm Push Press both sides2. Wall Slides3. Kneeling Drop Elbows both sides4. Dowel Bow with Overhead Reach

Rest as required, and repeat for the desired number of sets.

Remember to take enough rest between the explosive power exercise sets (the Push Press and Drop Elbows), or you’ll mess up the training effect you need to become powerful.

The aim of this session is to make you more explosive and better coordinated. And for that, you must move at your fastest speed – and that means without fatigue.

If you find you’re slowing up and losing the “pop” on your movements, take more rest. Save your power-endurance training for your Muay Thai sessions – that’s what they’re for!

To recap. To cut or KO your opponent with maximum speed and power…


  • Explosively rotate from the hip
  • Transfer the energy through your core
  • Keep shoulder and arm relaxed
  • Connect with the bony tip of the elbow
  • Use the exercises provided to develop devastating elbows


  • Arm smash
  • Hit with the tender part of your elbow
  • Do the exercises incorrectly, or with fatigue

To get access to the full exercise tutorial videos and the 4-week training plan, click this link: Devastating Elbows 4-Week Training Plan

Just follow this simple plan twice each week, for the next 4-weeks to develop explosive speed and power in your Muay Thai elbows.

And if you d this video, please hit button below, share with your friends and be sure to subscribe.

And I would love to hear your feedback. So leave me some comments below and let me know what you thought of these tips and if you are going to use them.

Thank you, and I’ll catch you next time.

GET THE 4-WEEK TRAINING PLAN Don Heatrick2019-07-18T21:16:06+01:00

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