‘Press and sit’ is a term used by my coach to define a set of exercises that he would like us to do every morning, that is, 100 press ups (or push ups) and 200 sit ups (which are actually crunches) so I guess it should be called ‘press and crunch’. Anyway, I’m going to delve into the purpose of this routine and why it is implemented.

Starting Off with Press and Sit

I started the press and sit routine in February 2018 with half the amount of reps he usually prescribes, so 50 push ups and 100 crunches. These are done in sets of 10 and 20, so after 10 push ups you turn over and start doing 20 crunches. The crunches are done so that you lower your body so that your upper back touches the floor and your legs are fully extended, heels just hovering above the floor before bringing your heels towards your body as you bring your body forwards and touch your heels with your hands.

After two weeks of doing this, I was told to double up and do the normal amount and time it. It took me 16 minutes and I’m not so sure how good my technique was. Now, over 6 months later I’m doing the press and sit routine in about 8 – 9 minutes which is a testament to the physical strength I have developed in my arms and core whilst doing this routine. Since I’m faster at it now, I try to focus more on my technique, making sure my chest always touches the floor, arms are by my body and they lock out every time I push up.

How to do Press and Sit

In the morning within 20 minutes of waking up, start to execute the routine, usually on a gym mat as the crunches can start to hurt your tailbone. This is in order to reap the mental benefits of the exercise. Start off with a lower amount of reps and sets if you feel the need and slowly work your way up to the desired amount of reps and sets. Despite having done this for half a year, I still can’t execute ten sets of push ups all in one go with speed. What I mean by this is, after the first set, my push ups are usually broken into a block of 5 push ups, 3 push ups and 2 push ups with about 2 seconds break where I put my knees down.

Typically, I do this 6 times a week with one day off, although before big races, I might be told to stop doing it 3 days beforehand and have 3 days off after the race not having to execute the routine which can be a relief for me since despite doing it religiously, I strongly dislike it. Ironically, since I realise how beneficial it is for me, I don’t like having a break from the routine for too long!

Mental Benefits of Press and Sit

By doing something you don’t like to do, it teaches yourself that you can endure quite a large amount of discomfort. This means that in daily life when you encounter a problem, you can probably deal with it and don’t need to deflect the issue onto someone else or procrastinate – I don’t procrastinate when it comes to doing it because I know it’s something I should do and if I don’t do it then I won’t be reaping the benefits. This can also apply to any hard gym exercises, difficult runs, training sessions or circuit training.
What makes this harder is executing it first thing in the morning when your body is not fully awake. After having finished the routine in the morning, I am very alert in the time after.
For runners, it can help teach them to push through the pain and discomfort they encounter in races or training.

Physical Benefits of Press and Sit

Push ups and crunches both help to strengthen your core. This can reduce the risk of pulling a muscle, especially during cross country where your body will be twisting side to side as your legs churn through the mud.
Your arms and back will get stronger which can help to maintain good posture, and so help you run faster in a race by ensuring you have good form even when you are fatigued.
A concern for runners is that working on arms, will make your arms bigger or pack on unhelpful muscle. Since exercises like push ups use bodyweight, they tend to give you more functional strength rather than gym machines which lock you into one range of movement. Your arms will not grow much bigger, but they may be leaner, have slightly more muscle and will definitely have increased muscular strength and muscular endurance.

Are there any core exercise routines you do very often? Let me know down below!