Sometimes also known as press ups, this is a fundamental body-weight exercise which is great for building up strength and endurance in the chest, shoulders and triceps. It is considered a beginner exercise which most people should be able to master quickly.
How to perform the Push Up
There are many different variations of the press up but the basic technique is as follows:
- Kneel on the floor with your arms slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Extend your legs backwards so that your knees are no longer on the ground and your body is raised. Your hands should remain in the same position.
- Tighten your core and hips so that your body is in a straight line. This is your starting position
- Slowly lower yourself to the ground, flexing your arms and using your chest, shoulder and tricep muscles to control the movement. Your elbows should stay relatively close to the side of your body to avoid injuries to the shoulder. That is, they should not flare out at right angles.
- Once your chest is around six inches from the ground use the same muscles to push yourself back up, remembering to keep your body tight so that it remains in a straight line.
- Repeat this for as many repetitions as required.
Note: If you are unable to perform a press up yet then don’t worry. You can build up to it by performing negative repetitions (i.e. starting at the top of the movement and slowly lowering yourself down) or by remaining on your knees to perform the repetitions. The further back you place your knees the harder it will become.
There are many ways to vary the push up to target the muscles in your upper body to different extents. Close grip or diamond push ups for example will place more emphasis on your triceps. Wide grip push ups will involve the chest muscle more. Similarly, placing your hand further down the body towards your core (instead of underneath your shoulders) will place more emphasis on the shoulder muscles and can be used when training for advanced moves like the Planche.