Girls, master the Full Press Up!

downloadMany of our female clients approach us with the request to be able to do a full press up. Most ladies have the desire to be able to master a major strength exercise such as the press up, but don’t have the knowledge of where to start and how to progress themselves to do a Full Press Up.

We usually explain that simple as it looks like, a Full Press Up is a fairly technical exercise, which requires not just upper body strength and mobility but a well functioning core and body awareness.

Apart from the satisfaction of being able to lift and control your own bodyweight it’s a great exercise to tone the arms and pecks, and to get the core working and tighten those abs.

Use the following videos and progressions to be able to do a Full Press Up.

Each section is designed to get you to execute the exercise well and you also can use the individual sections as a standalone full body circuits. Before we go into the circuits just have a look at the following videos demonstrating some common mistakes:

When doing Planks or any variations of Press Ups always keep your back straight and your bum slightly squeezed. If the back starts to drop it means that the core is switched off and the lower back is under too much pressure. Unfortunately this is a common mistake which can lead to injuries and postural problems.

We prefer to do Press Ups with the elbows going backward rather than out. The reason for this is the protection of the shoulder socket.
Here is the demonstration of this:

The third common mistake is having the hand too far out forward. It’s quite an unstable position and having the hands under the armpits make the exercise more stable as well as switches the core on.

In the following circuits I will demonstrate the exercises however I only do a few repetitions of each exercise. The best thing to do is watch each tutorial video and then complete each circuit at your own pace. You might only be able to do a few repetitions to start with but keep practising and the numbers will come.

When doing the circuits don’t go to complete fatigue as this will affect your technique. Stay comfortable and perform each exercise in a controlled manner. This way you’ll have good technique and avoid injuries.

I have given the desired numbers for each exercise in all circuits. Everyone takes different length of time to progress from one circuit to another. Don’t feel pressured to progress too quickly.

Once you reached the highest numbers recommended with each exercises in the circuit then progress onto the next circuit.

In the first circuit there are 3 exercises. Find the recommended repetitions bellow and your goals is to do 3 rounds at the highest reps/longest times recommend.
Incline scapula activation 5-15x
Table 5-10x
Incline high plank 60 seconds

If you reached the repetitions without technique failure progress onto the following circuit:
Prone scapula activation 5-15x
Table 5-10x 10seconds hold
High plank 60 seconds

Again if you reached the recommended highest number of repetition here is the following circuit and got up to 3 rounds you can progress to this circuit:
Incline press up 5-15x
Table 1-5x 30 seconds Table hold

If you can do 3 rounds of 15 incline press us and hold the table for 10x 10 seconds you can try to do the Negative Press Up circuit:
5-10x Negative/Eccentric Press Ups
5x 30 seconds Table

If you managed to do 3 rounds of 10x Negative Press ups it’s time to try to do a Full Press Ups.
If you can only do a few of the Full Press Ups you can carry on with doing Negative Press Ups.
5-10x Full Press Ups
5-10x 30 seconds Table Hold

If you find that there are point of the lowering phase when you loose the control of the movement here are two exercises to fix that.

Usually there are two sticking point which is in the middle and at the bottom where you might feel weaker. Just go to these point and hold your body in that position before you lower yourself onto the floor.

About Judit Rago

Judit Rago works as a Personal Trainer in the Arches Leisure Centre and teaches Kettlebell classes as well as One-on-One client PT. You can contact her on if you would like to find out more!

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