One of my goals this year is to work on improving upper body strength.  For many women this is an area of weakness.  

 

I hate press-ups, I find them tough, and therefore I tend to avoid them.  

 

However, as I read more about diseases such osteoporosis I’m realising how important it is to keep working on improving upper body strength to maintain bone density.

 

Despite not really enjoying them, I have to admit press-ups are a great exercise to strengthen all the bones in the hands, wrists, forearms, elbows and shoulders. They also help strengthen upper back and core muscles.  They don’t require any special equipment, and there are lots of variations to suit all ages and abilities.  So here are my Top Tips on Press-Ups…

 

Technique is the Key to success

#1 Hand Positioning: hands should be in line and slightly wider than the shoulders.  

#2 Elbows: Your elbows should not be flaring out at 90 degrees or hugging your body, a happy medium (around 45 degrees) is ideal.

#3 Head:  Keep your head in line with your spine, not dropping down to the floor. Keep your eyes looking just ahead of your hands.

#4 Back: try not to arch your back

#5 Core: Keep your core engaged (abdominals pulled in)

 

Find the right press-up variation for you.

For many, a full press-up, will not be a suitable starting point. Here are some other options:

  • Box press-up: Hands under shoulders,  knees on the floor, under your hips.
  • 3/ 4 press-up: Take your knees further back increasing the gap between your hands and knees
  • Against the wall: Stand about a metre away from the wall; place your palms on the wall, and do a basic press up. NB: If your heels come off the ground you’re feet are too far away. Try not to arch your back, and keep stomach pulled in.   

 

Quality over quantity

It’s better to do a few with good technique than loads with poor technique.  Start with a few, and gradually try to  increase the number.  (My goal is for 3 sets of x10 press ups).

Finally, be consistent, include them in your fitness routine every week!