Over 25 pushup variations included in our bodyweight program here…
The pushup is definitely one of the best (and only) options for building a big chest when training at home. That said, most of us don’t do this bodyweight exercise as effectively as we can be, which is costing us a chance to build the biggest chest or pecs that we can. In this video, I show you the best way to do pushups for a bigger chest by making just one small but important change to the way you do them.
To begin, it is important to understand what the function of the chest muscles are in the first place. We are all familiar with their ability to push our arms away from our body as in a bench press. That said, given the orientation of the fibers of the chest, it is actually more important for the pecs to pull your arm across your chest into what is called horizontal adduction.
This motion occurs most visibly in exercises like cable crossovers and even dumbbell flyes. That said, especially for athletes, flyes present a risk/reward ratio that isn’t necessarily optimal or even necessary if performed with the arms too far out in an attempt to maximize chest stretch. Even Arnold himself tore his pecs twice during the pec fly while chasing that elusive extra stretch he felt the exercise was providing him.
That said, the portion of the horizontal adduction that we should be chasing the most is the end contraction. This comes when are hands are positioned in front of our chests and at or crossing over midline if possible. Now when it comes to pushups, you can immediately see that because our hands are fixed into the ground that it is impossible to actually move them closer together as we complete each rep. That doesn’t mean that we can’t simulate the movement however to engage the chest in a much stronger contraction.
As I show you here, you want to be sure that when you come up to the top of each push up, you attempt to pull the hands closer to each other (though they won’t move since they are pressed into the ground) and then turn your forearms away from you. This second part can be accomplished by trying to envision your biceps turning towards the front as you come up. Both of these moves act to fire up the pec muscles even more and get a much stronger contraction on each pushup than you would otherwise get.
Simply counting reps when doing push ups is not what is important if you are trying to build muscle at home with this chest exercise. You want to focus on increasing the number of quality reps you perform. The quality means everything. Get a stronger contraction on your pecs and you will be rewarded with better development and chest growth when working out at home (or wherever you decide to incorporate these tips).
For a complete bodyweight only workout program that you can do without the need for any equipment at all, be sure to head to and get the ATHLEAN XERO program. This muscle building bodyweight only workout is the fastest way to deliver muscle growth when training without equipment or access to a gym.
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