If You Master One Move, Make It This

Depending on how and who you work out with it, you’ll probably have an exercise that you always incorporate into your routine. Maybe it’s burpees for building better endurance or perhaps it’s glute-strengthening squats. And while there are countless exercises that experts extoll for countless different reasons, the humble press up is perhaps the most lauded of all.

That’s down to the fact that the press up don’t just target several muscles at once, they do so at the same time. Simple yet hugely effective, press ups engage muscles in your core, chest, arms, hips and legs, simultaneously. They’re also highly convenient as that they can be done wherever you’re working out and don’t require any equipment, plus you can easily modify them to increase or decrease the intensity, as required. They’re also a good barometer of your muscular strength and stamina and give you something concrete to work on and improve.

In one study carried on out on a group of male firefighters, men who could complete at least 40 push-ups in 30 seconds or under carried a much lower risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular problems over the next ten years compared with men who were able to complete less than ten in the same timeframe.

How to perfect a press up:

  1. Get into plank position. Keep your arms straight and ensure you don’t lock your elbows. Keep your palms flat on the floor and your wrists, elbows and shoulders in alignment with each other. 
  2. Engage your core and keep your back strong and in a straight line from your neck to your hips.
  3. Slowly and with control, bend your elbows to 90°.
  4. Return to your starting plank position and repeat.