The photo above only shows a basic Press Up…the only difference is that your hands come off the ground between repetitions in a Basic Plyo Press Up. I used this to drive home the point of demonstrating the correct technique in every repetition of the basic exercise before you use more advanced exercises – and when you use advanced exercises, the technique should stay the same. After all the years of testing Police Applicants on the Press Up exercise I must admit to seeing a huge array of techniques…most of them not good for the body!
I use many versions of the Press Up exercise in my own programs and for the programs of clients as it is a very versatile exercise and don’t really hate it…other than the Super Slow version (10 seconds down, pause for a second, 10 seconds up and no pause at the top). It doesn’t matter how strong you think you are, this version ‘splits the atoms’!
So let’s go through some tips on how to do this basic exercise properly –
- Keep your legs, body and head in an anatomically straight line. Many people drop their head and/or hips which places a strain on their neck and/or lower back. If you have weak core muscles, this exercise is quick to demonstrate this fact!
- Grip the floor with your hands (or screw your hands to the floor, if you prefer this explanation) …as long as you get the idea of tensing your upper body.
- Pull your body towards the floor, just don’t let your body drop to the floor! This keeps a whole-body tension and keeps control of the negative movement.
- Squeeze your armpits into your body and pull your shoulders down and away from your head. This puts your arms in the optimum position to pull and push.
- Breathe in as you descend and out as you push up, keeping your Core tight at the same time.
- Squeeze your buttocks tight which helps to stabilize your spine and also have your feet close to each other at least. (I press the insides of my feet together as this helps to develop whole-body tension and develops great stability.)
The Plyo Press Up
The importance of whole-body tension is even more important if you wish to gain enough momentum in the positive movement to launch your hands off the floor. To start with, achieve just getting your hands to leave the floor and ensure that you gain a grip on the floor with your hands as they touch the floor and continue to hold that tension throughout the whole set of repetitions (up to 10 – 12 repetitions and 3 – 4 sets, as long as you can demonstrate perfect technique throughout each repetition in every set).
Clap your hands together between each repetition to add a higher element to the exercise when you can achieve a powerful enough movement to get high enough. There are many variations of the exercise including using Medicine Balls under one or both hands, which adds further to the skill level.
This is a great exercise which isn’t used enough in gym programs when most people with opt to lie down on a bench…
Everything in the correct position here in this photo and brush your chest to the floor in every repetition. Your arms will be fully extended at the top of each repetition if you can launch your hands off the floor.