|What it’s good for||Strengthens the back-of-upper-arm muscles and helps maintain shoulder flexibility. Helps combat the look of bingo-wings. Everyday benefits include:
|How often to do it||Three times a week|
|Equipment you’ll need||A solid, immovable low bench or heavy low wooden chest|
- Perch on the edge of the bench with your legs hip-width apart, knees bent, feet forwards and heels under knees. Don’t have your feet too close to the bench
- Place the heels of your hands on the bench beside you, facing forwards with fingertips over the edge
- Slide body forwards until your bottom is just off the bench, so you are supporting yourself on your arms
- Keeping your body upright, bend elbows to lower your bottom straight down just in front of the bench
- Stop just short of the ground (or wherever you feel your arms will support you)
- Push down to raise your body up until arms are almost straight and your bottom is back at seat level
- Without sitting, start lowering again for your next repeat
Aim to do 12 repeats without rest. This is tough, so start off with as many as you can manage, even if it’s only a couple. Make a note and try to do one more the next time, building up to a full set of 12 repeats.
Caution: Some people may find this exercise very uncomfortable for their shoulders. If so, try press-ups on knees instead; but also start doing shoulder loosening and chest stretch exercises to reduce tightness at the front of your shoulders.
Varying the exercise for more challenge
Once you can do 12 steady repeats, you need to make the exercise a bit harder to continue strengthening your muscles. Your first goal is to make sure you are lowering your bottom down smoothly to just short of the ground and then pushing right back up again. After that, try these progressions in order of difficulty:
1. Add a second set of 12 repeats
Rest for at least 3 minutes before your second set, to give the muscles time to recover
2. Slow it down
A slow count of 3 going down and 4 coming back up makes the exercise harder
3. Lengthen your body position
Before you start, place your feet farther away from the bench. This makes the work quite a lot harder. Hardest of all is to slide your legs out until they are straight and you are resting on your heels as your starting position – bring the legs together for this version.