Exercise of the week: Press-up

Press-ups are a great bodyweight exercise to improve upper body and core strength. When performed correctly they strengthen shoulder stability and can help prevent injury. However, poor form during a press-up can increase the risk of shoulder injury and lower back pain.

 

Starting position:

- Start in a high plank position, with a straight line from your head down to your feet

- Hands should be under your shoulders, or at a width that is comfortable for you

- Squeeze your core and glutes to ensure lower back control

 

Movement:

- Leading with your chest, slowly bend your arms to lower towards the floor

- You should aim for your chest to be as close to the floor as you can control

- Push down into the floor with your hands to straighten your arms back to the start position

 

Sets/reps:

- 2-3 sets of 8-15 reps (or as many as possible)

Key technique points:

- Keep your hips level and lower back straight

- Squeeze your shoulder blades together to engage the smaller shoulder muscles

- Don’t dip your head

- Keep the elbows tucked in to work your triceps more, or arms out wider for emphasis on your chest muscles

Progressions:

When you are able to easily complete each variation then move onto the next, however, if you are unable to control the movement then take a step back.

- Use a soft surface to add some instability under your hands

- Uneven press ups – so the higher arm has to work harder

- Bosu press-ups (either grip the bosu or palms flat)

 Starting position for Bosu press-up

Starting position for Bosu press-up

 Try to keep the Bosu still throughout movement

Try to keep the Bosu still throughout movement

 

Regressions:

It is always better to be able to perform an exercise with correct execution at an easier level than poor form at a harder level. Poor technique creates an injury risk.

- Drop your knees for a ¾ press-up

- Box press-up

- Incline press-up using a box or a wall

 Regression: 3/4 Squat, knees on the floor

Regression: 3/4 Squat, knees on the floor

 Incorrect technique: Head down, back hyperextended - risk of lower back injury

Incorrect technique: Head down, back hyperextended - risk of lower back injury