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How to do a Press Up

What is a press up?

What is a press up

See all press up variations

Press ups are easy-to-perform, suitable for all fitness levels and can be done anytime, anywhere without the need for any kit.

As a compound exercise, they use more than one muscle group at the same time. As a result, they'll give you a great workout, help burn calories, get your blood pumping and leave you feeling energised.

A classic press up does more than just work out your arms. They also work wonders for your shoulders (deltoids), chest (pectoralis major), core (rectus abdominis), hips (obliques) and legs (quadriceps).

If you want to put your strength to the test, here are some press up variations for you to try, ranging in difficulty level from beginners to advanced, that will promote muscle growth and strengthen and tone your upper body.

As with every exercise, quality is more important than quantity so check out the tips below on how to get the most from each and every rep.

Press up tips

  • Make sure your abs are tight when performing the movement, and avoid pushing your hips back to the sky.
  • Start with your feet hip-width apart. If that's too easy bringing them together will make you work harder to stay stable
  • As you perform each rep, keep them slow and measured and get your chest as near to the floor as possible

Press up variations

Press up from knees

Level: Beginners

Equipment: no equipment required

  1. Start on your knees and place your hands on the ground slightly in front of your shoulders 

  2. Your upper body should be straight and at a 45-degree angle 

  3. Slowly lower your chest towards the floor  

  4. Slowly push back up to the start position

Press up

Level: Advanced

Equipment: No equipment required.


  1. Start in a standard press up position
  2. Place each hand as wide as is comfortable. The wider apart your hands are the harder you will work out your chest 
  3. Slowly lower your chest towards the floor whilst ensuring your abs are tight and your spine is in neutral position.
  4. Slowly push back up to the start position

Tricep press up

Level: Advanced

No equipment required.

  1. Start in a standard press up position 
  2. Bring your hands together so your thumbs and forefingers make a diamond shape in line with your chest 
  3. As you slowly lower your chest towards the floor ensure your elbows go back rather than out 
  4. Slowly push back up to the start position


If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.