Press Up

Press Up Hand Positions

A wider hand position will place more emphasis on the chest whereas a narrow hand position will place more emphasis on the triceps. There are many possible hand position variations, but whatever the position chosen maintain external rotation of the shoulder as described in ‘break the bar‘. Allowing the elbows to flare out to the sides will place the shoulders in a less safe ‘internally rotated’ position.

Press Up Technique

  1. Start on all fours.
  2. Place your hands approximately shoulder width apart and extend your legs with your feet quite close together. Point your index fingers straight ahead and spread the rest of your fingers a little.
  3. Externally rotate your shoulders: Turn the insides of your elbows forwards and without moving your hands create tension into the ground by imagining you are trying to turn the ground anti-clockwise with your left hand and clockwise with your right hand.
  4. Look straight down at the ground.
  5. Breathe in and tense your glutes hard. Visualise making your lower back flat or tilting your belly button toward your face
  6. Tense your quads and keep your knees locked.
  7. Actively pull your body toward the ground without letting your hips sag or shoulders hunch up. Keep your arms close to your sides as your elbows bend. Keep your forearms close to vertical.
  8. Pause at the bottom and kiss the dirt. It strengthens your immune system.
  9. Push back up keeping the same form as point 7. Breathe out in a hissing manner keeping tension in the system.
  10. Fully extend your shoulders at the top, pushing your shoulders blades apart.

Scaling Press Ups

At first it may be too difficult to perform a single rep correctly. If so, place your hands on a raised platform, this reduces the amount of weight supported by your upper body. All of the above points still apply. Pay particular attention to keeping your shoulders engaged and down. Press ups on knees or with wider hand positions can compromise correct technique. Stick with the raised hands option. You can start with partial reps if necessary. Begin in the top position and lower under control to as far as you are able, pause and press back up. A bar in a squat rack can be useful for beginners as it gives many increments of difficulty depending on the height.