Nov 08th 2018  


Illustration showing how in press-up position men and women's weight distributions vary - Illustration by Anna Wallen, Instructor, Fujian White Crane Kung Fu & Tai Chi Martial Arts Club

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Project Press-Up

There’s no shame in not being able to do a correct press-up (Really? – Yes). You’d be surprised how many otherwise strong people struggle to do press-ups, for the simple reason that they haven’t trained them properly before. Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem: start where you are now, and get better by practising regularly. In other words – Train!

Earlier in 2018 Instructor Anna Wallen cast an engineer’s eye over the problems people have with press-ups. Her findings and suggested techniques were set out in two posts on what became Project Press-Up.

Not satisfied with just telling you all what to do, Instructor Anna now invites you to a press-up training challenge. The purpose of the challenge is for members who are interested to see how much they can improve their press-ups over a period of time by working all the elements of the press-up, and improving their technique and strength.

The Challenges:

Kung Fu requires both speed and precision and so we have two classes of press-up challenge for each type of press-up:

  1. Maximum number of press-ups in good form within 1 minute.
  2. Maximum total number of press-ups in good form to exhaustion.

The Press-ups open for the challenge

Select your press-up type for one or both challenges (maximum two challenges per entrant) from the categories below:

  • Straight press-ups

Classic press-ups. Toes and palms/ knuckles the only parts of the body touching the ground, at shoulder height. Feet together. Elbows brush the side of the torso as you raise and lower the body. Ribcage should be one inch above the ground at the base. Back straight.

  • Knee press-ups

As above but from the knees – keeping the back straight can require more practice in this position. Shins should be perpendicular to the floor. Knee pads can be used.

  • Cantilever press-ups

Starting point for Cantilever Press-Ups

As above but with one leg bent, body-weight resting on the knee, the other leg straight and toes pointed, not touching the ground. Knee pad can be used.

  • Grasshopper press-ups (not open to maximum within a minute)

Straight press-ups but with different timing: start fully relaxed lying on the floor with hands and feet in correct position. Raise slowly and steadily to a count of ten seconds. Drop back to the floor. Relax, kneel up for a second, lie back down. Go again.

  • Plyometric (clap) press-ups.

Plyometric Press-Up

Straight press-ups but push up hard until both hands leave the ground with enough air to clap and replace hands touching the same area (we will tape a cross on the floor. So long as some part of both palms is within each cross this will count) to catch the weight on the way down.

  • Diamond press-ups

How to measure hand position for Diamond Press-Ups

Start lying on the floor with feet shoulder width apart, toes tucked under. Reach the arms above the head, palms down, thumb and first-finger tips touching to make a diamond shape between the hands, thumb tips touching the top of the head. Raise the body (elbows out) until arms fully extended then lower until the ribcage is one inch the floor. Repeat.



How do I join in?

Let your Instructor know which challenges you want to try, and which press-up style(s) you want to try. They will then check your current technique, and benchmark how many you can do now (if any!), either within one minute or to loss of form. Your Instructors will no doubt be providing plenty of “encouragement” over the coming weeks.

You can sign up any time, and we intend to continue over Christmas with a view to regularly checking interim results.  We will do a final check at Chinese New Year in February and see how you all got on. The aim is to maximise your own improvement, but no doubt a bit of healthy competition may sneak in with your fellow students.

Random inspirational quote coming up

Remember, as someone famous once said: “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”