The push-up, long a favorite among junior high school P.E. teachers and Marine Corps drill instructors, is for many, more closely associated with punishment than anything else. Though common to group exercise programs, its use in serious strength and conditioning regimens is infrequent. These days, the push-up, like the jumping jack, tends to be relegated to outdoor programs where the number of exercisers and lack of equipment make it a staple due to necessity.
In an earlier time the push-up was largely regarded as a measure of a man’s strength and fitness. In more modern times much of this reputation has been passed on to the bench press, but the push-up's passing misses the great opportunity to master a gateway movement to one of the most developmental progressions in all of fitness.
The push-up is more a family of movements than a single exercise. In fact, it is a progression that starts from the horizontal, which is the classic "P.E. push-up" and then, through gradually, incrementally, elevating the feet from the floor to a point where the athlete is eventually in a handstand, becomes the handstand push-up.