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12 Best Pushup Exercises for a Nicer Chest
Learn 12 of the Best Pushup Exercises for your Chest. If you want to build a bigger chest at home without weights this video will help. Hit your upper and lower chest with these 12 unique pushup variations.
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Pushups are one of the first exercises ever used to target the chest and to develop upper body strength. And as long as you perform them correctly and you follow the right pushup progressions, you can conveniently use pushup exercises anywhere, to pack muscle onto your chest, and reveal attractive chest lines (2). But to do this you'll need to understand the many variations for this rather simple movement, because by understanding how to do them you'll be able to more effectively target certain parts of your chest (1) and constantly progress by challenging yourself with more advanced pushup variations.
And the first Pushup variation that I want to start with is the val-slide pushup and for this exercise, you actually don't need any equipment at all but furniture movers really do help. Luckily if you don't have them this exercise works just as well with paper plates. And I love this exercise because it really helps you incorporate horizontal abduction, which is the chest muscles' primary role from an anatomical perspective. So to begin you would get on all fours and place your hands on two furniture movers, Val-slides, or paper plates. Then extend your legs and plant your feet into the ground to get up into a pushup position. While keeping your core tight lower yourself down towards the ground and As you do this you want to slide your hands apart. After you get your chest nice and low to the ground, push back up and slide your backhands together while really squeezing your chest. Squeezing your chest at top of all of your pushup exercises is something that you want to get used to if your goal is to build up your chest. Then from there lower down, slide your hands apart, and repeat for reps. I'll go over exactly how many reps you're going to be doing for each exercise at the end to help give you a structured routine that you can use to build up your chest.
But for now, let's go on to the next exercise which is the chest squeeze pushup. Usually, when you take a closer grip you're going to be targeting your triceps more, but there's a way to really hit your chest with a close grip as well. You can do these on the ground, but I recommend using a medicine ball or basketball for this exercise. Start by placing both hands on the ball, slightly off to the sides. Then raise your body up into a pushup position and lower yourself down for a 3-second count, while squeezing your hands together the whole time. Once your chest comes down to the ball, press back up quickly, while still squeezing your hands tight together like you're trying to pop the ball. Then repeat for reps.
Next is the commando pushup jack. This exercise will once again require you to bring your hands back and forth from narrow to wide helping you target your chest. You would begin down in a pushup position just like before with your hands under the line of your shoulders and your body in a relatively straight line from head to heel. Then push hard into the ground and explode up as you spread your legs and arms out wide and catch yourself. As you land lower yourself down for a pushup until your chest almost reaches the floor, and then explode back up and hop your feet and hands back to the original neutral starting position. Then go back and forth for reps.
Another awesome progression that isn't quite as difficult is the archer pushup. Here you're able to load more of your body weight on one side challenging that one pec more. So it's almost like you're doing a supported one-arm pushup, and your other is actually doing a fly, which also puts tension on the chest. So start in a pushup position with your hands wide apart, as the wide grip pushups from before. Except instead of coming straight down you're going to shift your body weight towards one side and open up your elbow on the other side so that your arm is almost straight. Then lower yourself by bending your elbow, and try to keep that elbow close to your ribs on the way down. Then press back up, and shift your weight to the other side. From there just alternate back and forth for reps.
A slightly easier plyometric exercise is the staggered plyometric pushup. This is still a more challenging version of a pushup that you can use when you've progressed past the point of a regular pushup and you need a way to challenge yourself further. So with the staggered plyometric pushup, you'll get into a similar pushup position except for this time one hand will be planted further up above the line of your shoulder and the other hand will b planted further down below the line of your shoulder. From there lower yourself down for a pushup and as you do this you'll want that