The press-up is one of the best chest exercises you can do, so you know that any variation that makes it a little harder will be a highly effective move. The plyometric press-up is a challenging progression for those who are already comfortable with the classic press-up, and it brings with it extra benefits in the form of increased power thanks to the explosive movement involved.
As with all press-ups, the muscles that benefit are primarily the chest, triceps and shoulders, with your core also heavily involved. The plyometric portion of the move, where you push yourself into the air, recruits fast-twitch muscle fibres to improve your power as well as increasing strength. After a week or two of doing plyometric press-ups, you can expect to see improved performance on the bench press, as just one benefit of incorporating the move into your routine.
The exercise also increases the cardiovascular challenge of press-ups, making it a useful addition to challenging HIIT workouts and circuits where you’re looking to spike your heart rate.
How To Build Up To A Plyometric Press-Up
For all the reasons above, the plyometric press-up is well worth doing, but those same reasons means that it is also more challenging than a classic press-up, and an exercise that many might struggle with at first.
Building up to a plyometric press-up starts with becoming adept at the classic move, which will strengthen the key muscles required. You should be able to knock out 15 to 20 press-ups without any trouble before tackling the plyometric version.
You can also make the plyometric move easier with variations similar to those you might use to make the classic press-up easier, such as lowering your knees to the floor or placing your hands on a raised surface.
Given its explosive nature it’s also important to warm up before going into a set of plyometric press-ups to reduce any risk of injury. You can keep it simple by warming up with normal press-ups.
How To Do The Plyometric Press-Up
Start in a press-up position, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet together. Your body should form a straight line from your neck to your ankles, and you should aim to keep your hips in line with your shoulders throughout the movement.
Bend at your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor, keeping your elbows close to your sides as you go. Press back up explosively so that your hands come off the floor, then land softly and go straight into another press-up.
You can also throw in a clap while in the air, which will demonstrate that your powerful press has created sufficient airtime to bring your hands together and then still catch yourself on the way back down.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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