Starting Position: Sit with your back firmly supported against the backrest. Adjust the seat height so that the handles are level with your mid-chest and are positioned no deeper than the front of your chest. Grasp the handles firmly with the thumbs clasped around the handles. Keep your wrists in line with your forearms (neutral) throughout the exercise. Plant your feet firmly on the floor to stabilize your body. Brace your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Maintain the natural arch in your low back. Do not press your low back into the backrest or allow your back to arch away from the backrest. Pull your shoulder blades back and down. Maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.
Gently exhale. Press the handles forward and straighten your arms. Keep your head aligned with your spine. Do not allow the shoulders to round forward.
Press until the elbows are straight, but not locked. Pause. Your shoulder blades should stay in contact with the backrest. Pause. Bend your elbows and return to start position in a slow and controlled manner. Repeat.
Exercise Variation: To increase the exercise intensity, perform the following variations:
(a) Perform unilateral (one arm at a time) presses
(b) Sit upright off the backrest, which will require a greater effort from your core to stabilize your trunk as you perform the press movement.
Very frequently individuals will press the bar to a point where the shoulder blades round themselves forward and move off the backrest. This promotes instability within the muscles that hold the shoulder blades to the ribcage. While this "push-plus" movement is considered an advanced movement, focus initially on pressing while keeping your shoulder blades flat and firmly positioned against the backrest.