The press-up is a savage test of a host of upper-body muscles, especially the chest, shoulders and triceps. Your core will also benefit from the standard press-up, and if you introduce a few basic variations on the move you can recruit even more muscles.

Before you start varying your press-ups, however, it’s important to ensure your form on the classic move is correct. Even if you’ve done a million press-ups in your time, make sure you check your form against the following technique guide.

1) Start on all fours, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart – moving your feet further apart will make it easier, while bringing them closer together makes it harder.

2) Straighten your arms. Keep your hips in line with your shoulders throughout the movement.

3) Lower your chest towards the ground by bending at the elbows, keeping them by your sides. Flaring your elbows works the chest more, while keeping them close to you targets the triceps more. The closer your chest gets to the floor the better, unless you end up just lying down. That’s not going to help anyone.

4) Press back up. Then do it all again.

Diamond press up

This variation shifts the focus of the exercise to your triceps, though you’ll still be working your shoulders and chest as well. Start in a standard press-up position, but place your hands together under your chest with the thumbs and index fingers touching so that they form a diamond shape. Keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides, lower slowly until your chest is just above the ground and then push back up.

Decline press-up

While the diamond press-up hits your triceps harder, the decline variation is tougher on your shoulders and upper chest muscles. To perform the exercise, get into a press-up position with your feet on a raised surface, which should be about 30-60cm off the floor. Lower your chest towards the ground, then push back up.

My challenge this month is the press up challenge. This can be done anywhere and although it’s far from easy by the end of it you will be so pleased with your new toned upper body! Let’s come out of lockdown stronger and leaner than ever!

Day 1 20 press-ups
Day 2 25 press-ups
Day 3 30 press-ups
Day 4 35 press-ups
Day 5 2 sets of 20 press-ups
Day 6 2 sets of 25 press-ups
Day 7 2 sets of 30 press-ups
Day 8 2 sets of 35 press-ups
Day 9 45 press-ups
Day 10 30 press-ups + 10 diamond press -up
Day 11 35 press-ups + 15 diamond press-ups
Day 12 35 press-ups + 20 diamond press-ups
Day 13 40 press-ups + 20 diamond press-ups
Day 14 40 press-ups + 25 diamond press-ups
Day 15 45 press-ups + 25 diamond press-ups
Day 16 50 press-ups + 25 diamond press-ups
Day 17 2 sets of 30 press-ups + 30 diamond press-ups
Day 18 2 sets of 35 press-ups + 30 diamond press-ups
Day 19 60 press-ups + 30 diamond press-ups
Day 20 30 decline press-up + 30 press-ups+ 30 diamond press-ups
Day 21 35 decline press-ups + 35 press-ups + 30 diamond press-ups
Day 22 35 decline press-ups + 35 press-ups + 35 diamond press-ups
Day 23 40 decline press-ups + 35 press-ups + 35 diamond press-ups
Day 24 40 decline press-ups + 40 press-ups + 35 diamond press-ups
Day 25 40 decline press-ups + 40 press-ups + 40 diamond press-ups
Day 26 45 decline press-ups + 40 press-ups + 40 diamond press-ups
Day 27 45 decline press-ups + 45 press-ups + 40 diamond press-ups
Day 28 45 decline press-ups + 45 press-ups + 45 diamond press-ups
Day 29 50 decline press-ups + 50 press-ups + 45 diamond press-ups
Day 30 100 press-ups
Have fun & remember- if it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you!
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