Building a chest using weights is one thing but doing it through body weight push ups is another. I am a big fan of variation and trying different methods of training to give optimal results. I am also a big fan of the quote '' If you always do what you have always done you will always get the same results''. So if you are with me on this one I want to give you different variations of push ups that you can perform in the gym, in the park, on the street, where ever you exercise which will be fun first and foremost and give you results.
For us guys (especially myself) I dreamt of having well defined pectoral muscles growing up as a teenager. You know, most guys want to have a good chest. I think purely for vanity reasons but let's face it, it is something you can always see and is pleasant to the eye. Your chest muscles are made up essentially of your upper and mid to lower pectoral muscles. Pushing exercises and resistance placed away from the truck of the body creates a tension on the chest muscles. Enough writing from me on the chest muscles, let's have a look at these awesome bodyweight push ups you can use in your workout.
The Warm up
A regular push up you have probably done most of your life is the traditional one whereby you place your hands shoulder width a part. Pressing in this motion will work the mid and lower part of your chest muscles. A great warm up exercise for you to generate blood flow and oxygen into the muscles. Aim for 20 repetitions over two sets to make sure you are fully warmed up. Don't forget some stretches if you need to do those too.
Explosive by nature and tiring when put into practise, this is the clap push up in just a few words. As this is one of the harder exercises it is best to start with this and use the energy you have to get as many as you can. So this exercise will work your type 2, explosive muscle fibres within your chest muscles. See how many you can perform in a 60 second period. Simply go into your warm up press up position and from here press and lift the hands off the floor and clap for one rep. Repeat and don't forget to breathe ;)
Diamond push ups means narrow hands so working on the middle of the chest and having a little help from the triceps (the muscles on the back of the arms) is what this exercise will target. So position the hands so that they make a diamond on the floor, keep your hips up and press for as many repetitions you can get again within a 60 second period. Don't forget to squeeze every rep and really work the chest.
Up until now you have been performing your exercises with your hands flat against the floor, well now you are stepping it up a notch. What? Stepping it up a notch now I hear you cry, yeah you read it right. Push ups on your fingertips which is going to improve strength all round. See how you go with these, but keep an eye on your form.
Oh yes, possibly the king of all push ups is the one handed push up. In order to perform this exercise you must perform a triangle like shape with your body for you to drop down into the push up. From here, tuck one hand into your lower part of your back and let the other hand take the weight. Only perform this exercise if you are strong enough to do so.
Placing your legs higher than your torso will put more stress on the upper part of the chest muscles. So be sure to place your legs on some steps or on top of your sofa if you are performing these in your home. Hand position can be narrow, normal or wide so that you work either the middle upper part of the chest or wider.
These spider man push ups are great to do to increase heart rate and blood flow around the body. This exercise almost resembles a cardio like approach whilst still working the chest muscles. With this exercise you are going to need some space as you will travel along the floor. Start by performing a press up and then with one leg bring it into your elbow and then place the foot on the floor where the knee meets the elbow. Naturally your body will shift forward and then you do the same with the other leg. After 4 or 5 push ups you will find yourself travelling along the floor.
So there you have it. Next time it is international chest day (this usually takes place on a Monday) you can add some body weight push ups to your arsenal of exercises. Don't forget to refuel with protein so that you build bigger and stronger chest muscles. Stay fit and healthy :)