Hand release push-ups are now the set standard for CrossFit competitions, from a local games day on the Gold Coast to the Reebok CrossFit Games in LA. Slower than a normal push-up, hand release push-ups have become the standard for good reason.
Firstly, hand release push-ups are a more complete movement, they are easier on the judges and keep standards the same across the board by forcing athletes to complete the full range of motion. This is particularly important in local games days where judging standards can get sloppy.
Secondly, from a strength/training point of view, hand release push-ups work counter acting muscles, this helps to even out the athlete’s chest muscles thus allowing a higher volume of work before burn out. Finally, hand release push-ups are even better for the core, as you have to disengage and re-engage the core at the bottom of each push-up.
To perform a legitimate rep make sure you go all the way down, chest on the ground, palms clear the ground and then back up.