The Lalanne push up, unique bodyweight exercises difficulty rating for one rep -7 out of 10
Average time taken to master 2 to 3 months
This push up made famous by American fitness expert Jack Lalanne in the 1950s is a great shoulder, latissimus dorsi and core exercise that looks very impressive but should not take anyone with good overall strength long to master.
Method of progression
To do the Lalanne push up, lie belly down on the floor with your legs straight and your arms extended directly out in front of you (similar to the superman flying position) and from there push up with your hands keeping your whole body straight and rigid.
Once fully extended hold the position for a second then lower back down under control until your chin stops just short of the floor and then push back up.
The best method of progression is to begin by doing these press ups with your hands much closer towards your body, just in front and either side of your head is about right. From there do the press up as described and over a period of time simply move your hands further and further away from you until you can do the exercise with your arms fully extended.
The stronger your core muscles are the easier this exercise will be as it is primarily a test of core and shoulder strength. Therefore, building up the core muscles with other exercises helps tremendously.
As with the one arm push up, if you imagine pushing your hands down into the floor and away from your body at the same time it will help to maintain the right muscular tension throughout the body.
Looking straight ahead at all times also helps to keep the body correctly aligned.
When you have mastered this exercise build up to the Lalanne press up on only the thumb and finger of each hand.