Pushing as it relates to our discussion of human movement can easily be recognized by the chest bench press (horizontal pushing action) and the overhead shoulder press (vertical pushing action).
Let's first look at the chest press motion and how we get the most from a free-movement alternative. In my training experience, the push-up by far is the most complete, challenging, and simple bodyweight movement. Obviously, the push-up zeros in on the chest, shoulders, and triceps. But, what many don't know until they assume the position is that it targets, with full force, the abdominals, glutes, and lower back. In fact, the entire body is in contraction during the push-up movement.
A chest press machine or even a flat bench with free weights will never engage the postural muscles, thus creating muscle imbalances, weak links, and poor human performance.
What happens when we adapt to the standard push-up and want more challenges? Various hand positions, placing the feet on a medicine ball or park bench, spider man push-ups, explosive push-ups, and many more variations will continue to challenge even the strongest competitor.
Make it a great day!