Most people know what a press up is (also known as a ‘push’ up). With that being said, this is another one of those well-known exercises which is frequently performed incorrectly. It is important to pay attention to your form when doing them.
While there are multiple press up variations, they’re no good to anybody who isn’t nailing the basics, so let’s start there…
How to perform a press up
Do these on your knees if you need to in the beginning.
Assume press up position; keep your hands around chest level, and just outside of shoulder width apart.
Your neck and head should be neutral and in-line with your torso, don’t look up.
Finally; press down through your arms and chest keeping your core as tight as possible, (try not to sag in the middle). The objective is to go as low as you can before coming back up through the same controlled movement. Go for reps.
Press up: Common mistakes to avoid
Two of the most common press up mistakes are; sagging in the middle and not going low enough.
Performing your press ups in the above way may recruit other muscle groups, which in turn will poorly engage the intended muscle groups. Poorly engaged muscles do not grow efficiently.
Mind muscle connection matters, so keep the intended muscle groups (as illustrated above) in mind throughout the exercise.
Reps and sets
One well executed press up is far more valuable than 10 poorly performed ones, so do take note of the common mistakes above.
How many reps and sets you perform will depends entirely on where you are physically and of course your desired outcomes.
As a rule of thumb; beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing at this stage is to get started, the rest will come with experience.
On the other hand, more advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals.