by Mike Scialabba
We all know that heavy pressing with barbells and dumbbells are far superior to increasing hypertrophy or "size" of ones chest, shoulders and tri's in comparison to other movements, but let's not forget about the fundamental importance of maintaining push ups in a solid upper body routine. Push ups are one of the few pressing exercises that can be utilized for chest and arm development while still maintaining scapula movement and increasing core strength.
Here are 3 Push Up variations you can utilize to seriously benefit any upper body routine!
Drop Outs (CNS activator)
Use this to prime the Nervous System and heat the muscles prior to your heavy pressing. Start by standing adequately away from a bench. Drop straight into the bench ready to catch yourself in a push up position. Once your hands hit the bench drop straight down into a push up and fire off as hard and fast as you can propelling yourself back to your starting position. Do this for only sets of 3-5 when utilizing it as an 'activator'.
Chain or Plate Loaded
This push up variation can be used as a major movement for some trainees, or as a secondary movement for pretty much anyone no matter how tough you are. If chains aren't available, you can simply have someone place a plate on your back, just make sure they're there to take it off for you when you're done!
Powerlifter J.T Hall shows us how Plate Loaded Push Ups are done with 360LBS!
Control Freak Ricochet
This is a modified ripped off version of Tuminnello's more speed oriented Swiss Ball ricochet. Use this as a finisher or between auxiliary sets. Tightly squeeze the sides of a Swiss Ball. Perform a complete push up off the ball, lightly touching the chest to the ball as to not create any bounce. When nearing the top of the push up, jerk the ball off the ground bringing it hard into the chest and straight back into the floor, all the while maintaining near flawless push up position. As the ball touches down allow the body to regain movement toward the ball, again not losing control or allowing the body to 'rush' back into the ball.
Add these movements into your next upper body routine and reap the rewards of healthier shoulders, a strong anterior chain, and better chest!
Mike is the Director and Owner of the Missoula Underground Strength Training Center located in Missoula, Montana. He's an Expert Strength Coach and has been in the business for nearly a decade working with hundreds of individuals utilizing conventional and unconventional training methods. Be sure to check out his blog!
This exclusive article (and others) can be found in the latest Wannabebig Serious About Muscle Newsletter - October 13th, 2010
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