Skip to content

Woo hoo! Someone wants to do pressups!

23/07/2010

I was in a really good mood the other day.  A lass who is a regular in the gym actually came up and asked how to improve her pressups!  Most people grimace and run a mile when I mention pressups to them!  So here is a rough and ready guide to pressups.  How to do them and how not to do them..

What parts of the body are involved?

Because they are an upper body pushing exercise, the main working muscles are:

But many other muscles are also involved, mostly in supporting roles, including your abdominals.

Why are pressups so good?

  • They are a big, compound move (they move more than one joint at a time).
  • They match basic, everyday, practical moves, where we push something/someone away from us (one of my friends imagines she is pushing blokes away in the pub!)
  • They can help teach the body to move in a more coordinated fashion.
  • They can help increase bone density in your arms if you are at risk of osteoporosis (eg women of a certain age).
  • Depending on your current abilities, they can increase your muscular strength or endurance.
  • They are free and you don’t need any equipment to do them.
  • They are a good Keystone Ability.

How to do the ideal pressup.

First of all, remember that I am describing an “ideal” pressup here.  None of us are “ideal”.  I know I’m not.  But that shouldn’t stop us from trying our best.  If you have difficulty with an “ideal” pressup, don’t panic!  Just don’t stop trying either and you will get there in a few days/weeks/months.

The start.

Support your weight on the floor with your hands and toes.

  • Your hands should be directly beneath your shoulders, but a couple of inches wider than shoulder width.
  • Your arms should be vertical when seen from the side.
  • Your whole body should be dead flat from your head to your heels, with no bends/kinks in the spine or hips.
Good Pressup - The Setup

Good Pressup - Body flat with no kinks.

Bad Pressup - The Setup #1

Bad Pressup - Back and hips are bent all over the place.

The descent.

  • Keeping your body rigid at all times, bend your arms until your chest is nearly touching the floor.  Remember, no sagging/bending/kinking at the belly/back/hips.
  • At the bottom, your hands should be roughly in line with your nipples, your forearms dead vertical and your upper arms making a roughly 45 degree angle with the side of your body.
  • Your shoulders should be tucked back and down.  In other words, they should not be hunched.
Good Pressup - The Descent

Good Pressup - At the bottom of the pressup, your body should still be flat and rigid.

Birdseye view of a good pressup

Good Pressup - Your upper arms should make a roughly 45 degree angle to the side of your body.

Bad Pressup - The Setup #2

Bad Pressup - The body is arched, hips are too low and arms not bent.

Bad Pressup - The upper arms are stuck straight out to the sides.

The Ascent.

  • Keeping your body straight and rigid, push your hands into the floor and return your body to the start position.
  • Make sure your body moves as one, single unit
  • Don’t let your hips or your head/shoulders lead the way.
Pressups from the side

Good pressups from the side.

Pressups from the front

Good pressups from the front

How to make them easier.

  • Do everything exactly the same, except put your hands on a step/ledge/box so they are further away from the floor.
  • The higher the step, or the greater the incline of your body, the easier it becomes.
  • As you get better/stronger, use a lower step.
How to make pressups easier

The greater the incline of your body, the easier the pressup becomes.

How to make them harder.

  • Do everything exactly the same, except put your feet on a step/ledge/box so they are further away from the floor.
  • The higher the step, or the greater the decline of your body, the harder  it becomes.
  • As you get better/stronger, use a higher step.
How to make a pressup harder

The greater the decline of your body, the harder the pressup becomes.

Now everyone go out there and do some pressups.  They are good for you!

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: