Mix up your chest routine

Updated: Feb 21, 2019


Today I would like to write about one of the most popular exercises with both men and women, which is the press up.

You might think as a result that this is going to be a very short piece, but in fact there are many different ways to undertake a successful press up.

But before we get into that, let’s look at some first principles.

The press up is a great exercise partly because it belongs to that category of exercise known as the ‘bodyweight exercise’, which means that it uses your own bodyweight (as the name suggests!) as a key factor in the exercise itself.

Or, to put it another way, all you need to make this exercise work for you is your body, the right techniques and a focus on the exercise itself.

Before undertaking a press up (as with all demanding exercises) it is a very good idea to evaluate your own fitness level.

So, as a starting point, can you lift your own body weight?

Investigate this fundamental before moving forward and establish that this is indeed the case before proceeding.

Once you have done this (and established that you are effectively undertake a press up routine) we can examine in more detail the key aspects that makes the press up such a very good exercise; which is that you do not need any equipment to undertake the exercise (at the very least a medicine ball or a swiss ball may be useful in building a press up routine, but they are not essential). As a result you can undertake a press up exercise routine at home, in a park, in fact anywhere that you have the space to so exercise, and where you can focus.

So here are some suggestions for building an effective press up routine, or if you prefer, to follow is a list of different ways to perform a a successful press up.

1) The basic press up (the classic move).

Target: The pectoral muscles.

Exercise advice:

Keep the body in a straight line from head to heel(s). Then position your hands a little wider than your shoulder width, with you elbows pointing backwards (and not to the sides).

Exercise your desired number of sets and repetitions.

2) The Swiss ball press up.

The point with this exercise is to use your chest to control the wobble that may be caused by use of the swiss ball (making the exercise more stable during a heavier press up).

Target: The pectoral muscles.

Exercise advice:

Keep the body in a straight line and focus on not letting your hips sag during the routine. Grip the sides of the ball and perform the press ups.

Exercise your desired number of sets and repetitions.

3) The Swiss ball decline press up.

The additional wobble in this exercise gives your core a good workout, as well as exercising your upper chest, shoulders and triceps.

Target: The upper chest.

Exercise advice:

When performing this routine be sure not to let your hip sag and keep your feet together whilst on the ball.

4) The incline press up.

This is a great way to warm up before doing decline presses (or to exhaust your lower pectoral muscles safely afterwards!).

Target: The lower chest.

Exercise advice:

Again, do not let your hips sag when performing this exercise.

In addition, position your hands just a little wider than your shoulders width.

5) The clap press up.

The key principle here is that when you push up explosively enough so that you can clap your hands together you target the fast twitch muscles fibres in your chest that have the most potential for growth.

Target: The pectoral muscles.

Exercise advice:

Keep your body straight at all times, with your elbows pointing back.

Push up, so that you leave the floor, clap your hands together (!), and then go straight into the next repetition.

6) The passing medicine ball press up.

This exercise blends power and co-ordination so as to give you functional upper body strength.

Target: The pectoral muscles.

Exercise advice:

Start this exercise with one hand on a medicine ball, then push up and pass the ball to the other hand. From this point pass the ball back and forth with each press up.

7) The alternating offset jump press up.

The key technique in this exercise is in keeping your hands backwards and forwards whilst doing shallow press ups so as to hit your muscles from different angles.

Target: The pectoral muscles.

Exercise advice:

Place one hand level with your head and place one hand level with your chest. Then press up powerfully and swap the position of your hands and move your hands back and forth with each repetition.

In summary:

Ultimately what we are talking about here with the press up is an exercise that targets one major muscle group (the pectorals) from different angles for maximum effect.

So, build a routine to meet this objective and when doing so remember that the press up (whatever its form) remains a fantastic and reliable exercise to build a successful chest workout.

Be inventive with the routine, and then when you find the exercise combination that works best for you, keep repeating that chosen routine until you get the outcome that you want.

Julien

#julien #gym #advice #exercise

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Julien Bertherat, Personal Trainer in London
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