The press up, unique bodyweight exercises difficulty rating for one rep – 4 out of 10
Average time taken to master, straight away.
The press up is without a doubt one of the very best bodyweight exercises that you can do and should be included in every training program for those who are serious about conditioning. The beauty of this exercise is that it is so simple to do, needs no equipment and yet work most of the muscles of the upper body. Take into consideration the vast number of different variations and how they work specific muscles and you will see why this really is the king of all exercises.
To start simply assume the normal position making sure your hands are directly in line with your shoulders and your whole body is straight and rigid.
From there lower yourself down slowly until your chest is an inch of the floor, hold the position for a second or two and then slowly push back up.
Note, when you can do 15 to 20 reps in good form you can progress by doing more difficult variations such as the triceps or the one arm version.
If you want to stick with the classic version you can increase the difficulty by adding a static hold by pausing at the bottom of the rep and holding this position for 5 to 10 seconds before pushing back up. This alone will build tremendous upper body strength.
Keep your body straight throughout the movement and do not let your hips sag or stick your bum in the air.
Breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.
Keep your abs tensed as much as possible.
Stop an inch before your chest touches the floor and hold for a second before pushing back up.
Try building up over time to doing press-ups on only your thumbs.
The best bodyweight chest exercises
See the one arm press up guide for an advanced version of this exercise