Drop and give us 20. No? If you’re put off by quivering upper arms and traumatic memories of PE, read on and p-push it real good
Knees or no knees? If there’s one move that prompts a surreptitious glance round the studio to clock what everyone else is doing, it’s the press-up. Being ordered to drop and do 20 arouses a particular shade of fear usually reserved for when your mother addresses you by your full name. Instead, shift your attention to the positives, of which there are many. It’s not all about arm strength – the gains are many. ‘When done properly, a tricep press-up will work your chest, core, glutes and quads, too,’ says David Wiener, personal trainer and training specialist for fitness app Freeletics. As for that knees business? If you’re a beginner, Wiener suggests starting with them on the floor before you progress to the full version. ‘This’ll help you practise the technique and motion of moving up and down while strengthening your wrists and triceps,’ he explains, adding that a wall press-up or even just holding a high plank for 30 seconds a pop can also help you work up to the real deal. And that’s where you want to be, because not only will you be using your full body weight, you’ll be toning multiple muscles, too. Building up to it gradually is key. Wiener recommends doing five sets of five reps on your knees for at least five days a week – at varying speeds to keep your muscles guessing – for a fortnight before going for lift off. As ever, good form is crucial. ‘For maximum growth for your efforts, engage your core and keep your back straight while lowering yourself down slowly and smoothly, then driving back up with force,’ Wiener recommends. Oh, and no cheating – get that chest all the way to the floor. That way you’ll see the difference fast, even if you’re, ahem, pressed for time. (Sorry).
You have a history of shoulder pain, rotator cuff injuries or excessive lumbar curvature.