There’s more to chest training than the bench press.
A lot of people know this, which is why they do incline presses and dumbbell presses and plenty of chest flies.
But there’s another way to mix up your chest workouts, too, and it doesn’t involve any weight at all. It involves integrating explosive pushups into your routines.
Doing so will help you develop the upper-body power and speed that can only make your bench press stronger.
When you work under the heavy weights of the bench press, you can’t always train your fast-twitch muscle fibers, and you also place plenty of pressure on your joints. But explosive pushups don’t often create those problems, and they offer a way to both test and develop your upper body power and coordination anytime, anywhere.
Insert the moves in this video into your chest workouts to change things up and train those fast-twitch muscle fibers. None of these should be the first move in your chest workout—leave that for a bench press or dumbbell press—but they work well as a second or third exercise to finish off your pecs.
Not all of these moves are easy, though. But if you take your time and work them into your routines once a week, you’ll find yourself making gradual progress with each move.
That progress will also feed your bench press—the burst you develop with each of these pushups should translate to a stronger and swifter initial press of the bar off your chest when you bench.
The beauty of all these pushups is that, much like power cleans and push presses, they force your entire body to work as one.
You need to keep your core tight, from your abs to your lower back down through your glutes, to properly do a clapping pushup. And your core will work even harder on Superman pushups. (And if you’re looking for more ways to get that six-pack, check out Anarchy Abs by Men’s Health.)
Additionally, your upper back and rotator cuff muscles must work on hands-to-wall and hands-to-bench pushups, and your glutes and legs will get plenty of work on pushup-to-squat-holds.
Make sure you can do 20 to 30 good-form standard pushups before trying the clapping pushup, and make sure you can do 10 to 20 clapping pushups before jumping your hands to other surfaces.
But give these pushups a try. They’ll deliver plenty of cardio bang for your buck and help your other lifts.
Oh, and they look pretty cool to pull off, too.