Give it a Go: The Press Up

This basic press up will help to build up your upper body strength, provide a great core workout and challenge your Cardiovascular System. Press ups don't require any equipment, you don't need much room and they can be performed anywhere and varied in so many ways.

Please see my Matt Swaz Fitness Video on how to perform the Press Up.

Poor press-up technique is common, and can result in shoulder and/or lower back injuries. The following are a few tips on how to perform the press up safely and correctly.

  • Place your hands underneath your shoulders (approximately shoulder width apart) with your arms extended (elbows slightly bent) and your fingers facing forward. Your hands and feet should be set up in a way that feels comfortable to you.
  • For a beginner, starter you can position your knees on the floor directly aligned with your hips. Keep your abdomen tight and your spine in a neutral position. If you can do this version of the press up comfortably then raise your knees off the floor so that there is a straight line from your head to your ankles.  
  • Bend your arms at your elbows by steadily lowering yourself until your elbows reach 90 degrees and your chest is 1-2 inches off the floor. Pause slightly and then powerfully push back to the start position.
  • Ensure your core is engaged (e.g. tighten your abs) and there is a straight line from your head to your ankles. Don't let your hips/torso fall forward or rise in the air.
  • Using a smooth motion, breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.
  • Avoid bouncing off the floor, locking your elbows out forcefully in the top position, letting your elbows fly out from your body.

As a starter, aim to complete 8-10 repetitions and see if you can do this 2-3 times. If you can't don't worry. Build up to it. You are best doing 4 correct press ups with safe and proper technique rather than 10 incorrect ones. Please see my bank of 'Give it a Go Exercises'.

In future blogs, I will suggest ways that you can make the basic press-up more challenging or if needed a little easier - for instance raising a leg in the air or incorporating a walking action with the arms.

Please remember to warm up thoroughly before exercising and to speak to your GP before starting any exercise programme. Should you require any help, advice or information please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to discuss with you the tried and tested methods and lifestyle changes that I have developed to help people achieve their health and fitness goals.

High 5,

Matt

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