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The 6 Best Push Up Workout for Chest Gains

Want to elevate your pushup game? Try this compound progression—a combination of exercises that targets the same muscle group with a few different moves.

Each pushup variation in this progression will work your chest in a slightly different way. “You’ll have to fight through fatigue, but since you’re changing the challenge with each move, you can keep going,” says Andy Speer, creator of The Anarchy Workout—an intense new fitness DVD from Men’s Health that will help you melt fat in less than a month and a half.

“This will help you squeeze in a lot of muscle-building work in a short period of time,” Speer says. 

1. Clap Push-up

Be sure to land with soft elbows after the clap! And, as always, a lot of core control is crucial to performing this push-up variation correctly. Don’t be afraid to start out on your knees or on an incline to get the hang of the timing.

2. Wide-arm press-ups

Build a strong back and chest by placing your grip as wide as possible and performing reps. Adding additional strain to the standard press-up, this exercise targets the outer pectoral.

3. Close grip push-ups

Turn your hands slightly inwards, place them together so your thumbs and forefingers form a triangle. Perform a press-up with your arms tucked. This focuses on the inner pectoral and tricep.

4. Weighted push-ups

With either a weighted vest or a weights plate placed on your upper back, you can add a huge amount of resistance to your standard press up. Adding resistance causes more muscle recruitment and more micro-tears, helping to build more mass as a result.

5. Stagger Plyo Push-up

Switch the position of your hands after every push-up. If this movement is too explosive or challenging for you. Simply switch your hands without the “jump” until you’re able to work your way up.

6. X-tap Push-up

Keep in mind you really have to get some air in this push-up variation! Let’s say this is the next step after the clap push-up!

Keep in mind you really have to get some air in this push-up variation! Let’s say this is the next step after the clap push-up!

Push up workout routine

To fit these variations in, build a routine that incorporates three or four of the exercises at a time. Include them in your barbell and dumb-bell chest workouts as a finisher or dedicate a session to them.

Example ‘A’ day:

    3 x 20 Plyometric push up
    3 x 6 Dumbbell bench press
    3 x 10 Wide grip push ups
    3 x 10 close grip push ups

Example ‘B’ day:

    3 x 6 barbell bench press
    3 x 6 dropping push ups
    3 x 10 one arm press ups (5 on each side)
    3 x 5 handstand press ups

Ensure your post-training nutrition is up to scratch, consuming protein to help support a growth in muscle mass and creatine to support increases in physical performance during short-term, high intensity, repeated exercise bouts. A minimum of 3g of creatine should be consumed per day.