This is a GREAT way to add resistance to the push-up and get the bodyweight-exercise benefits of the push-up.
If you can do more than 15 reps of push-ups, they won’t build a whole lot of muscle. But when you add significant resistance, they can be even better than heavy bench press for adding mass and strength. Moving your body through space means greater muscle fiber activation and greater functional strength.
This setup allows you to easily add as much weight as you want to the exercise! (and it beats trying to find a person to sit on your back).
First, you’ll need a power rack – set one safety rail near the very bottom (this is where your feet will be placed – maybe one or two notches up) and one about 2 to 3 feet or so off the ground (this is where your hands go).
To add weight, you’ll need a dip belt. Start by getting the weight around your waist.
Now here’s the trick…you won’t be leaving the weight on your waist. Instead, squat down and rest the weight plates on the ground – now slide the belt up to your mid-back. This will place it closer to your chest and take stress of the lower back during the exercise.
Set your hands on the higher rail – right out to the sides near the uprights (or wherever is comfortable to you).
Now step back and put your feet up on the lower safety rail. Your body should be in a pike position – this will be the easiest on your lower back. At the top of the exercise, notice how my back is almost horizontal – these two things (along with the belt being higher up on my back) make this easy on the lower back. I’m using an extra 90 lbs and there was no lower back stress at all. The pike position really takes the stress of the back and puts it on the chest.
Lower yourself down to the bottom of the push-up position then push back up, just like you were doing a regular push-up on the floor!
Because you’re able to add as much weight as you like, this is a VERY useful exercise. If you ever can’t complete a rep, all you have to do is step down and you’re done. Very easy!
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.