Getting in a good strength building chest workout at home can be a challenge especially if you don't have any equipment. This routine solves that problem with a selection of push ups that can easily get you sore the next day.
Though this video can be used as a standalone routine, it is best to use this as part of a larger program that targets other areas of the body. We suggest coupling it with some kind of cardio beforehand as well as targeting the upper back and biceps (the muscles that oppose the ones used in this workout) to create a well rounded routine.
Also this video just covers one set of each of these exercises and if done with the hardest version you can handle then you can easily get your chest sore the next day but doing this routine twice through in a single day with a few hours break in between is best if you want to use it for mass/strength building. You will also want to focus on the "negative" of each repetition if you are wanting to increase size. For these versions of a push up the negative portion of the repetition is the drop down towards the ground. If you focus on a slow controlled drop even if you can't push yourself up it will increase the effectiveness of the push up and allow you to build more strength and size.
Below is a more in-depth description of each push up variation and how to get the most out of each.
30 Seconds per set with 30 seconds in between each to rest. No equipment is needed other than an optional exercise mat.
- Single Leg Push Up: This should be your most challenging push up so be sure to push yourself to get the most out of each repetition. Start on your hands and toes with your feet spread to shoulder width or wider and lift one foot so that it is hovering off of the ground, then complete each repetition as you would a traditional push up. The wider you set your feet the harder the push up will be as it will shift more weight to one arm. You can actually get the to point where you are using just one hand for 100% of the load. Switch which foot is up and repeat for the same amount of time and/or repetitions.
- Wide Push Up: Done exactly like a traditional push up but with your hands set as wide as is comfortable and you can control. We suggest hands 2 to 4 inches outside the width of your elbows when arms are straight out from your sides. This version puts more strain on your chest muscles so drop to your knees if your form starts to slide.
- Staggered Hand Push Up: Place one hand by your waist/hip with your fingers facing towards your feet keeping that elbow tucked to your ribs. The other hand should be next to your face with your fingers pointing towards your nose and that elbow pointing up and away from the direction of your fingers. Try to keep your shoulders and hips as flat to the ground as you can. This not only targets your chest in a unique way but also puts extra torque on your core muscles forcing them to do more work to keep your body inline.
- Narrow/Tricep Push Up: Place both hands under your chest with your elbows tucked to your sides, fingers pointing up towards your face. Then push through your hands to a full plank position. This version focuses more on your triceps and lower chest so be careful as your triceps will most likely be exhausted by this point. Do a full version and just focus on the "negative" (from a full extension dropping towards the ground) or switch to a half version off of your knees. Just be sure to keep your back flat and hips inline with your chest and legs.
- Side Push Up: Lay on your side and place the arm closest to the ground around your waist and the other arm in front of your chest with your hand flat on the ground with your fingers pointing up inline with your body. Press into your hand hinging at your hip lifting your shoulders up off of the ground. If you are particularly strong then come up on to your hands and knees rather than your hip and if you are Superman then come up on to your feet (I have never seen the this last version done, by the way).
Though this routine is not necessarily a heavy hitter for calories, 64 on the low end and 113 on the high end, it will continue to burn calories long after you are done due to the afterburn effect of strength training. Though not as high as after a HIIT routine it can still add up to a substantial extra burn not to mention that strength training and mass building (relatively) permanently increase your metabolism in the long run.