Press Ups

What are press ups?

The press up is a bodyweight exercise for the upper body, and a fantastic exercise for developing the arms (bicep, tricep) and chest (pectorialis major).

Press ups are performed on the floor, as you lift and lower your body by bending and straightening your arms.

Types of press ups

Press ups can be modified to suit the upper body strength of the exerciser, with three standard press up positions used:

The box press up

To perform the box press up, kneel on an exercise mat on all fours with your back parallel to the ceiling. Knees should be directly under hips and hands should be directly under shoulders.

The box press up is the easiest type of press up to perform as you are only lifting your upper body weight; your lower body is supporting itself on your knees.

Move yourself up and down to perform reps by bending and straightening your arms. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up as you push through the press up.


The 3/4 press up

The 3/4 press up is next level of difficulty for a press up exercise.

To perform the 3/4 press up, simply move your hands forward from the box press up position, so that they are just of the front of the mat, with your head directly above your hands.

You are still supporting yourself on your knees, but you will lift more of our own body weight with the 3/4 press up than with the box press up because your hips are now further forward than your knees.


The full press up

The full press up is the most difficult of all the press up variations.

To perform the full press up, simply maintain the 3/4 press up position and lift your knees off the mat, straightening your legs and supporting your lower body on your toes.

Now you are in position for the full press up, ensure that your body is in a straight line from shoulders to ankles and you are not sticking your bottom in the air, nor sagging in the middle.

Keep abdominals braced in order to hold your body in this straight line while you perform your press ups.

Full press ups exercise your upper body in a similar way to the bench press, only instead of pushing a weight up away from your body you are pushing your body (the weight) up away from the floor.

Read about more exercises for the chest and arms with the bench press, shoulder press and dips.

Do you find the press up a reliable exercise for shoulder and arm development?

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