|What it’s good for||Strengthens arm, shoulder and chest muscles. Particularly good for working the under-arm (tricep) muscles. The harder the press-up, the more you will also work your core strength. Everyday benefits include better pushing power for supermarket trolleys, heavy doors, wheelchairs|
|How often to do it||Daily|
|Equipment you’ll need||A mat, rug, carpet, towel or anything else that’s comfortable to kneel on, on the floor|
There are many different ways of doing press-ups, some much harder than others. This is a good one to practise if you’ve never done any before.
- Kneel on all fours, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips
- Check that your spine is neutral and your head is in line with your back, not hanging down
- Now place both hands a little wider out to the sides, and soften your elbows so they have a slight bend
- Draw up your lower abs muscle and start to bend your elbows, lowering your chest down
- Go as far as you can, stopping just short of your nose touching the ground, then press your hands into the ground to push through your arms to bring you up again steadily
- Briefly check your neutral spine, lower abs control and head position, then repeat
Aim to do 15 slow, steady press-ups in one go
Cannot do this at all? If you are finding this impossible, try the wall press instead.
Varying the exercise for more challenge
Once you can do 15 good, slow press-ups, you need to make the exercise a bit harder to continue strengthening your muscles. Below are just a couple of ways of increasing the challenge. You can find many more on general fitness websites
1. Add an extra set of 15 press-ups
Make sure you rest for at least three minutes before doing your second set
2. Slow down the movement
Try doing the press-up to a regular slow count of three as you lower and four as you push back up; slower makes more work for the muscles. It is very effective but be sure to keep breathing throughout!
3. Lengthen your body position
Start with your “box” position kneeling on all fours, but then walk your hands forwards, taking your body with you but leaving your knees where they are. Now your body will be more stretched out. Shuffle your knees together, cross your feet and raise them off the floor a little. With your hands wide to your sides, this is your new starting position for the press-up: your longer body position is going to make the work harder for your arms, abdominals and chest muscles.