How to do a Shove-Off

What is a Shove-Off?

I remember the very first time I saw someone do a clap push-up. It was the 6th grade, and our P.E. teacher decided one day that he would have us 6th graders do a push-up contest. At the beginning of the class he demonstrated for us how to do the push-up movement. I remember watching him do 5 push-ups, then 10 push-ups, then 20 push-ups, then 30 push-ups, and around the 30 mark he started doing clap push-ups until he hit about the 40 mark. I was mesmerized. 


That night at home, I tried doing a set of my own clap push-ups… and failed immediately. My hands barely left the ground. The clap push-up takes explosive strength that needs to be developed, first by doing push-ups, and then secondly by doing an exercise called the Shove-Off. The Shove-Off is an upper body strengthening exercise that performs the explosive clap push-up movement, only using an elevated surface that makes a challenging movement a lot easier.

The following muscle group is engaged by the Shove-Off:

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps

How to Do a Shove-Off (Instructions):

Start by standing in an upright position, arms by your side. Stand near an elevated platform (bar, picnic table, etc…) that is near the height of your navel. With your hands and arms near your side, fall towards the platform and fall into a push-up position. Explosively push your body away from the elevated platform back to the starting position. Repeat.

Trainer Tips for the Shove-Off:  

  • Progression (make harder)
    • Use a lower platform when performing the movement. If you put your hands on the ground and do the movement and clap at the top of the movement… you are now doing a clap push-up!
    • Use one hand. If you do this, move your legs farther apart and try doing it on a higher platform than you would do regular shove-offs on. 
  • Regression (make easier)
    • Use a higher platform when performing the movement. 
  • Application:
    • Do one Tabata with the Shove-Off.
      • A Tabata is a 4 minute workout, made up of 8 intervals. Each interval is 20 seconds of activity and 10 seconds of rest. There are a lot of free apps for your smartphone that provide an automatic timer for the Tabata workout. I utilize the Tabata Stopwatch Pro.
      • For the Shove-Off Tabata, perform 20 seconds of body squats followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeat until you reach the 4 minute mark.

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