In this article I am going to show you many new push up exercise variations that will drastically improve your upper body power but actually improve your overall conditioning. The creative exercise listed below can and should be used by high level athletes such as MMA fighters and Football players to become more explosive, as well as be used by fitness enthusiasts to build muscle in the chest shoulders and arms.
Rethinking the Clap Push Up One of the popular push up exercises used for improving upper body power is the clap or plyo push- up. This exercise is great for developing explosive pushing power and we do use it on occasion. However, the constant pounding on the wrist from the landing is a concern of mine for some athletes like wrestlers and football players. These types of athletes are constantly being thrown down and therefore having to breaking the fall by landing on their wrists in much the same way as the plyo push-up. The last thing I want to do as a coach is use an exercise that replicates something that an athlete’s probably does too much of already. Especially something that has a high risk vs. benefit ratio. Here is a great alternative the plyo push-up that we have found to be just as effective at developing explosive pushing power while limiting impact on the wrist.
Box Jump Push -Ups Perform 4-5×3-6 We prefer to use a closer, shoulder width hand position on this movement as it has more functional carryover to sports like wrestling and football. This exercise can easily be progressed by increasing the height of the box.
Swiss Ball Ricochet Push-Up This is one of my all time favorite exercises and another great way to develop explosive power and speed in the upper body. We prefer to do movements like this for time frames of 8-15 sec at max speed. When performing this exercise be sure to maintain ideal spinal alignment throughout this movement. Click here to view pictures and videos of all of the exercises listed in this article.
Metabolic (Power-Endurance) Push -ups The concept of metabolic strength training and power endurance is just starting to be explored in the world of performance training. In most sports, athletes are required to continuously explode and repeatedly produce power, sometimes for hundreds of reps. This type of power endurance will not be developed with traditional 5×5; 3min rest type methods and therefore requires specialized protocols. Below are two push-up based metabolic protocols we use to ensure our athletes remain explosive and end up being the last one standing when the smoke clears. I recommend establishing a proper technical, strength and power base before utilizing these protocols. Get ready for a killer pump!
20/20/20 Push-Ups This is a great metabolic circuit that is easy to remember and doesn’t require any additional equipment. We normally use this circuit at the beginning of our power endurance phase. It takes 1min to complete. Perform with no rest; 20 sec Push-ups 20sec Push-up pause (hold bottom position) 20sec Plyo or clapper push ups Rest 1-3min
The JC Push-up Circuit This is an awesome metabolic protocol that I learned from my good friend and colleague Juan Carlos Santana. You’re going to need a medicine ball (MB) for this one. Perform as circuit with speed; 5-10 MB Lock offs on each side 5-10 MB Cross over push-ups on each side (alternate sides) 5-10 MB Close grip push-ups 5-10 MB Drop and returns Rest 1-3min We normally start with 5 reps and progress one rep a week until 10eps is reached. Both of these metabolic protocols can eventually be progressed so that the exerciser can complete 2-3 rounds without rest. At one time I was able to complete 5 rounds of the JC circuit without rest. My chest, shoulders and arms never looked better. Not to mention it made my abs sore for a week.