This version of the push-up is going to focus on achieving a MASSIVE peak contraction of the pecs, similar to a pec deck machine or cable-crossover exercise only using just a bench…
… yes, literally just a bench.
And it’ll actually give you just as good (if not better!) contraction on your pecs than those machines will!
Now, even though the exercise LOOKS like a regular push-up, the key here is HOW you perform the exercise.
Set your hands on the bench, gripping around the SIDES of it. Just the “meat” of your hands on the thumb side should be on top…(we do want a little vertical support). Keep your body relatively straight and stiff during the exercise.
Now lower yourself to the bottom position.
CRITICALLY IMPORTANT!!!! At the bottom, rest your chest COMPLETELY on the bench so that you take ALL the elastic tension out of the upper body.
Eliminating this tension is also going to help you reduce the action of the triceps during the “up” phase.
The hips will bend a bit here in order to achieve the flat chest position on the bench (that’s what I mean by relatively straight body position…you do want to keep a stiff body during the exercise, though).
I actually move my arms a bit at the bottom to ensure I’ve taken all the tension out of the upper body at the bottom.
Now…DO NOT push up…that’s not the muscle action we’re looking for.
Instead, try to MASH your hands together as though squeezing the bench.
This will just happen to move your body up as a side effect…
Keep trying to push/squeeze your hands together until your elbows are fully locked out at the top of the exercise.
Then repeat, coming back down and resting your chest fully on the bench.
Then SQUEEZE in to move your body back up.
Remember, the real key here is NOT trying to complete a certain number of “reps” with this one…I’m not even going to give you a rep-range guideline for this.
The key is FEEL.
We’re trying to achieve a MASSIVE contraction in the pecs and if you’re trying to count to a certain number of reps, you’re going to lose focus on trying to FEEL the pecs contracting hard during the exercise.
So bottom line, drop the concept of “reps” for this exercise…just take your time and get your mind into the muscle to focus on that peak pec contraction.
And, above all, think “push in” instead of “push up”.
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.