This was a hard exercise to find a good video clip for. Tricep press ups differ from the standard press up in that the hands are placed under the shoulders and the elbows are reasonably close to the ribs, not flaring out. It is a tough exercise, but a good one if there is no equipment available. It does not build tricep size particularly, just makes them very strong. Not everybody wants to look like Hercules. And, girls, it is worth remembering that a big triceps muscle, when your arms are stuck out, is relaxed, so will still look like a bingo wing. It is important to differentiate between body fat and muscle.
The reason the video was hard to find is we have to be super careful with the shoulders as we lower the body. At the lowest point, the shoulders should not roll forwards and upwards or eventually we will have shoulder injury to contend with, so progress the exercise with a great deal of attention to shoulder position. In the absence of a trainer or training partner, from time to time do the exercise side on to a mirror. Check both sides.
The other area that goes wrong is the back. This must be straight throughout the movement.
At first, this can be a frustratingly difficult exercise. If the shoulders are rolling about like drunken sailors and the back like a banana, then try working the eccentric portion of the exercise; this is the lowering phase. Start with the knees down and lowering the body under control. To get back up, sit back towards your knees, and straighten your arms, bring the body forwards and then lower yourself again until the form breaks down – and this is backs bending and/or shoulders rolling. When you can do about 8 – 10 of these, try slowing down the lowering phase. Increase the lowering time to 4 seconds x 10 reps. Then you may find you can now push up with good form.
When the strength is sufficient to progress to the toes, follow the same routine of lowering as above, this time from the toes and pressing upwards with the knees on the floor. Remember to always keep the back long and the shoulders back.