A solid hard chest, horse shoe triceps and ripped abs too. Sky rocketing upper body power. Even bragging rights among friends. The push up and its cousin the bodyweight dip offer all this and much more. If you had to choose only two exercises to perform this would be the first half (the second being pull ups of course!)
Exploring the Push Up
Used everywhere from the school yard, to the gym and dojo to the sand and dirt of special forces training camps the push up is rightly beloved as one of the simplest and best exercises we could ever perform. Embrace it.
Here’s some push Up tips to keep in mind.
Always use Proper Push Up Form. Many of us have picked up bad habits in the way we execute our push ups over the years. Here’s proper push up form:
1. Keep your self stiff and tight – including your abs. 2. Elbows at a forty five degree angle at the sides of your body. 3. Take a breath as you lower your chest to the floor. 4. Exhale as you press up. 5. Repeat.
Engage your Mind while doing Push Ups. It’s helpful to visualize your palms exploding through the floor while doing your push ups as a means to building more explosive power.
Raise your Feet for a Upper Chest Emphasis. Place your feet on a chair, bed or better yet a inflatable exercise ball to focus the emphasis of the push up more greatly on the upper chest and shoulders. This can help develop a more pleasing physique by most accounts.
Don’t be Frightened to go High Volume. It’s not uncommon for Body weight Training enthusiasts to do 100, 250 or even 500 push ups every few days. Ignore those who cry about “over training” from Bodyweight training. This has proven to give fantastic results and is exactly the method used in modern military – and in prisons too, to build seriously hard and strong muscle!
After push ups our next powerful chest, triceps and really total upper body builder is the dip. How we choose to do dips depends on our strength levels, conditioning and what we have in our surroundings to perform our dips on.
Parallel Bar Dips. The traditional dip that requires the most starting strength to begin training with. With your hands on two bars (or handles) you dip your entire body and press it back up using your upper body power. Many school yards have parallel bars to dip from allowing you to train for free in the sun while forging a mighty upper body.
Chair Dips. Putting your hands on a chair behind your back while your legs are extended and heels resting on a second chair (your body should be roughly “L” shaped) this offers a much easier dip version for those who find full dips too difficult.
The Atlas Dip. My personal favourite of the dips taken from the Golden Age strong man and physical culture guru Charles Atlas. Two chairs are placed in front of you about 20 inches apart depending on how wide your shoulders are. Place a hand on each chair seat while your body is extended behind you, feet on the floor. Perform push ups between the chairs. Atlas suggested way back in 1922 for his students to do at least 200 a day, working their way up to what he did – 500! This is a really superb exercise many modern trainers aren’t aware of. It can be a game changer in building a great looking chest, shoulders and triceps too! Try it and I think you will be impressed with your results.