Push up is the fundamental exercise for building your chest. It can develop your pecs, triceps, front deltoid (shoulder). I often see guys do lots of bench presses, but not push ups. It will be a waste of efforts if you cannot master the push ups.
Today, I’m gonna share with you the tips for building big chest with push ups, including the mind-muscle connection and the execution techniques for better development of your chest.
Push up is a compound exercise involving multiple muscles and joints. Our job is to emphasise the chest activation. The followings are some assisting exercises.
#1 Squeezing Pecs
It aims to enhance you intensity of mind-muscle connection. Put your arm across your body and squeeze your chest the hardest you possibly can. If you feel the instant tightening and pain, and that pain is so intense that you cannot hold it for long, meaning you shall have a quite good chest mind-muscle connection.
You can do it with single arm or both arms, as well as push up form. The wider the arms (elbows) apart, the harder are the exercises.
#2 Bouncing Pecs
It aims to enhance the agility of chest. Make sure you not move your arms and just using your mind. If you can freely bounce your pecs, that means you have the chest control. The wider the arms (elbows) apart, the harder are the exercises.
You can do these exercises in your spare time or before/after your chest routine. Remember: Quality over quantity. If you find it too easy, please try to lock your scapula (retraction).
Push Up Techniques
From biomechanical standpoint, the major movement of chest is shoulder horizontal adduction. which contribute the part of vertical pushing force. To maximise your chest engagement, imagine you are pushing inward instead of just forward. Your elbows try to come close to each other, with help of some external rotation of your arm.
Push up techniques:
- Push inward
- Elbow come close
- (Externally) Rotate your arms
Now, the exercise is more like a chest fly than a pressing. More chest engagement and less the triceps engagement. In an instant, this exercise become more intense.
If you do it with pause reps at peak contraction and slow eccentric negatives, it will become much harder. If you manage those techniques mentioned, the intensity of push ups will be equivalent to DB bench presses with 2/3 your bodyweight.
These tips can be applied to all push up variations, such as decline, incline, close-grip push ups etc. Remember these tips are just useful for your chest development.
If you are not targeting your chest, Like if you want to enhance the strength, explosiveness, triceps, Then these tips are not applicable.