Skip to Main Content


  • Pushing and Pulling

    Joint Action Patterns

    Nature of Force Application

  • Principles of Pushing and Pulling Motions

    Principles Relating to the Magnitude of Force

    Principles Relating to the Direction of Force

    Principles Relating to the Point at Which the Force Is Applied

  • Push-Pull Applications

    Pushing and Pulling

    Lifting, Holding, and Carrying

    Weight Lifting


    Working with Long-Handled Implements

  • Analysis of the Push-Pull Pattern in Ergometer Rowing

    Anatomical Analysis

    Mechanical Analysis

  • Laboratory Experiences


At the conclusion of this chapter, the student should be able to:

  1. Classify activities involving push or pull patterns according to the nature of the force application.

  2. Name and discuss anatomical and mechanical factors and principles that apply to representative push or pull activities.

  3. Analyze the performance of someone performing a push-pull skill under each of these force application conditions: momentary contact, projection, or continuous application. Follow the kinesiological analysis outline presented in Chapter 1.

Pushing and Pulling

A person pushes a table across the room, a boxer jabs at an opponent, a traveler lifts a suitcase onto an overhead rack, an archer shoots an arrow from a bow, and a schoolteacher lifts open a window. As widely diverse as these activities seem, they all have a common denominator: Each involves moving an external object, either directly by some part of the body or by means of an implement, in a pushing or pulling pattern.

Joint Action Patterns

In pushing and pulling patterns of motion, the basic joint actions are flexion and extension in one or more of the extremities. The joint actions in the upper extremities are characterized by flexion and extension in the elbow while the opposite movement is occurring in the shoulder. In the lower extremities, extension occurs simultaneously in the hip, knee, and ankle. This simultaneous and opposite joint action is a primary characteristic of push-pull patterns. All joint motions occur at the same time or very near the same time.

The simultaneous nature of the joint motions in push and pull patterns produces a rectilinear path of motion at the distal end point of the segments involved, as opposed to a curvilinear path. Such a rectilinear path means that all forces produced by segmental motion are applied directly to the object and that this force is applied in the direction of motion. Keeping this in mind makes it apparent that the primarily simultaneous push-pull patterns are of greatest value when it is important to apply a large force (overcome a large resistance) or to apply a force with maximum accuracy. All the forces involved are applied directly in line with the object being moved. There are no large-magnitude tangential forces.

A push, pull, or lift may be applied either directly or indirectly to an object. In the latter instance, the push or pull pattern ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.