Push-Up Guide for Blowing Up Your Chest
It’s time to push your fitness routine to the limit. Welcome to the push-up massacre. Do you think that you can’t see gains from bodyweight exercises? You’re wrong. Adding variation to the traditional push-up can target minor muscle groups and make you universally stronger.
Sometimes, I fall short of my fitness goals and the dreary tasks of daily life keep me from training consistently.
When that happens, I like to do something out-of-the-box, something downright crazy to reinvigorate myself. I call them massacres. They’re a great way to break out of your fitness rut, break through a workout plateau, or get you back in the spirit of a consistent workout routine.
This is the push-up massacre. It’s a no-holds barred bodyweight exercise drill that will have you begging for leg day.
The push-up massacre isn’t for the faint of heart. So, fire up your favorite fitness playlist and prepare for some punishment.
I have a few different massacre style workouts, but the push-up massacre is by far my favorite. Push-ups are one of the most basic strength building exercises, but it’s also one of the most effective. At the most basic level, you don’t need any equipment or memberships to reap the benefits. Your own bodyweight provides the resistance.
Related: 10 mental hacks to get to the gym!
If you’re just starting out with strength training, then push-ups are one of the best ways to gauge your fitness level with low impact. If you are more advanced, then push-ups can help supplement your ongoing fitness routine.
With just a few subtle tweaks to your form, you can target different muscle groups and scale the intensity of the exercise to your personal fitness goals. You can’t beat that.
As with any form of intense exercise, be sure to consult with your healthcare professional before you begin any new exercise regimen. You might not be able to perform the full amount of repetitions for each exercise but try to do at least 10 to 12 reps and at least 2 sets.
Otherwise, this will just be a regular upper body, bodyweight workout. Also, be sure to drink water throughout the course of the workout and take at least a 90-second break between exercises.
The push-up massacre is going to heavily tax your muscles and your stamina. So, you’d better not skip the warm-up. Trust me, you’ll regret it later.
Start with some dynamic arm rotations. This will bring more flexibility and range of motion to your arms and shoulders. It loosens up your rotator cuff, promotes blood flow and helps to prevent injury.
Swing your arms forward and backwards in broad, circular motions. Keep the motion smooth and swing your arms for about 30 seconds in each direction.
Move on to some torso twists. Don’t just place your hands on your hips. Extend your arms out to your sides and when you twist your torso to the right, swing your left arm over the front of your body and your left arm behind your body. And vice versa. This is a dynamic motion that pushes the range of your torso twist just a bit further.
Now, it’s time to get your heart rate up. I prefer to jump rope because it’s a compound movement. It takes some coordination and works multiple parts of the body. Your wrists are rotating and you’re bouncing on the balls of your feet.
The Massacre – 6 Push-up Variations in 2 Sets
This is a compound exercise that works the Pectoralis Major (center of chest) but to stabilize the body you will also feel your triceps, abs, and biceps being engaged. Start by lying prone on the floor with your palms slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
Extend your arms and push your body up. Just before your elbows lock out, lower your body back down to the floor. Remember to keep your body rigid and straight throughout the full range of motion. Perform 20 to 25 repetitions.
Diamond Hand Push-up
This is sometimes called a close-grip push-up. This compound exercise directly targets the triceps. Your deltoids (neck) and pectoralis muscles will work in synergy with your triceps, but you will feel your biceps, abs, and obliques firing off to stabilize the body through the range of motion.
Start in the up position with your palms forming a diamond shape beneath the center of your chest. Slowly lower your upper body to the floor and just before your chest touches the back of your hands, push your body up again. Perform 20 to 25 repetitions.
This push-up variation starts to manipulate the amount of resistance you can create with just your bodyweight. The higher the elevation – the more difficult the exercise. 45 degrees should be enough. At this range, you will target the pectoralis major, specifically the clavicular band.
You will also be targeting the anterior deltoids when you lower your body. Start by kneeling on the floor with a bench or raised platform directly behind you. Be sure that it is stable and can support your weight.
Position your hands on the floor like a traditional push-up, roughly a bit wider than shoulder width. Put your toes on the bench behind you and place your body in a plank position. Now, arch your neck slightly backwards and bend your arms at the elbow. Push your body up by flexing the arms. Perform 20 to 25 repetitions.
Now, turn around and face the bench or inclined platform that you used for the declined push-up. Place your hands on the edge of the bench and extend your legs until you are about at a 45-degree angle to the floor. This exercise reduces the amount of resistance on the muscles.
It targets the sternal band of the pectoralis major and the anterior deltoid. Because you just completed the decline push-up, your deltoids will be screaming even with the reduced resistance. Lower your body by bending at the elbow, then extend your body until just before your elbow locks out. Perform 20 to 25 repetitions.
This is an advanced, plyometric push-up variation. This exercise targets your shoulder muscles specifically, but you will feel all the muscle groups in your upper body working toward stability. Start by lying on the floor with your hands wider than shoulder width apart.
Move to the plank position by extending your arms. Now, lower your body toward the floor and then swiftly push your body up until your hands actually leave the floor. In mid-air, clap your hands beneath your chest and quickly place them back in the original position, lowering your body back to the floor.
Even people who perform push-ups regularly might have trouble here. Just try to do at least 10 to 12 repetitions, but if you can push yourself to 20 to 25 repetitions that would be a massacre.
This is the most difficult push-up variation in the rotation because it maximizes the amount of resistance you can achieve through bodyweight alone. It’s sometimes called an inverted push-up or handstand shoulder press.
The target muscles are the deltoids, pectoralis muscles, triceps and abs. The most straightforward way to do this exercise is to stand facing a wall. Place your hands on the floor and kick your legs up until your heels touch the wall.
If you’re more advanced, then try inverting your body between two stationary benches. Lower your head toward the floor by bending at the elbow. The more you bend the elbow – the more difficult the exercise. Just don’t let your head touch the floor.
If you feel a strain or feel like you can’t complete the exercise simply push off the wall and put your feet back on the floor. At this point in the routine, the goal is only to achieve 10 to 12 repetitions.
Congratulations! You survived the massacre!