Athletes, especially contact athletes, should be able to push efficiently. This means they need to be strong from head to toe, and deliver forceful efforts forward. A program should include a few fundamental pushing exercises, here are some ideas:
• Bench Press: The bench gets a bad rep. When you do it correctly it’s safe, and builds incredible strength. Remember to set up in a strong fixed position with your back arched, feet on the ground and shoulders pulled back / down. A correct bench press will include a full body effort with drive coming from the feet through a tight back and into the bar. Imagine rowing the bar to your chest by actively engaging the lats and then pressing yourself away from the bar (rather than the bar away from you).
• Sled or Car Push: If you don’t have a sled, no worries, push your car! The beauty of sled pushing is that it’s low skill. Get behind the weight and drive it forward. Remember to keep the arms locked out, the shoulder blades pulled down, and the back arched (not rounded). When driving forward maintain as much forward lean as possible, picking up your knees and driving your feet behind you. Try to extend your leg through every step so that the hip, knee, and ankle joint reach extension.