This push-up workout isn't for the faint of heart.
If you want to quit every time the weight hurts your little muscles then this is certainly not the workout for you! This is a workout that has gotten me incredible results in a very short time period!
Before I get into the basis of this workout, I want you to forget everything you've read that's a traditional style of pyramiding up in work weight during your workouts.
I want you to forget the commonalities of workout routine structure and having the sun and stars perfectly aligned before you hit the gym.
Forget everything YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO, because the truth of the matter is much of what “you're supposed to do” doesn't work the best for everyone.
In the future I'll probably put this into an actual manual that provides a more detailed framework for this routine, but this is just a sample upper body day that you can try.
See if you don't get some massive pumps and explosive growth from this workout!
PUSH-UPS AND PRE-EXHAUSTION
For myself, push-ups were pretty much a staple of my workouts when I first began bodybuilding.
When I came up with my basic “125 routine” which I laid out in Becoming the Bull, push-ups were one of the main exercises that I performed on a routine basis.
Performing push-ups is what initially got my chest to grow before I transferred into executing regular barbell and dumbbell presses. Even after getting into heavier resistance I continued to occasionally do push-ups.
There was always something about a push-up that felt like a more natural movement to me. To this day I can get a much better pump/muscle connection in my chest from push-ups over any other chest exercise!
So after years of stalling in the growth department I decided to go back to my instincts on what worked well for me, rather than doing what everyone else said to do.
I decided to try something extremely challenging; integrate push-ups with heavier resistance THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORKOUT!
What was the magic number of push-ups this time? It was 500 push-ups per workout, done between heavy resistance sets!
This is a downright bitch, but your entire upper body will be absolutely pumped like a motherfucker when you're done with your workout!
Now, I understand that 500 push-ups may be excessive to a lot of readers here, so begin with a # that's challenging for you. Make it your goal to try to hit a certain number of push-ups per set. For me it's 50 on some days, other days it's 100.
However I need to structure it I'm doing it until I hit 500 reps total. I'm actually up to 700 push-ups a workout lately.
HOW IS THE WORKOUT STRUCTURED?
How is this chest workout structured? Well, it's very instinctive but I perform it by doing an upper body exercise with heavier resistance and then followed directly by a set of push-ups. Then it's back to a heavier weight and back to push-ups again.
I go back and forth like this until I complete all of those push-ups! Lately my workouts have been full upper body on a given day, and these push-ups will come after each muscle group.
Performing these sets of push-ups isn't just exclusive to chest training. These sets come after resistance training for chest, shoulders, back, arms,
So I may do a set of 225 lbs on a flat press x 5 reps and follow it up with a set of 50 push-ups, and then go back and forth between the 225 lbs x 5 reps and then the sets of 50 reps on push-ups.
When the main resistance portion of my chest is finished that doesn't mean I'm finished with my push-ups. I may be at around 250 push-ups when I'm finished with my lower rep, resistance training for my chest (heavier presses, cable crosses, etc).
I still have 250 push-ups to go to get to 500 reps. And lately it's been 450 more to get to 700 reps! So that means that I can hit 3 sets of shoulder work and be at 400 push-ups (since a set of 50 push-ups after each weighted exercise).
I can then perform 3 sets of back work to be at a total of 550 push-ups, and then say 3 sets of arms to be at 700 push-ups. I'm just giving you a sample rundown of something I would do to get to the 700 push-ups I've been doing lately.
Like I said before, part of this workout is instinctive and it'd literally take me writing a short guide to explain my mentality throughout the workout and remainder of the week. This is simply a sample day!
SOME MUSCLE GROUPS ARE “TOUCHED ON” BUT NOT DESTROYED!
So because this workout is focused on mainly push-ups for chest stimulation and upper body pump, it's extremely difficult to “hammer all muscle groups” and feel recovered enough during the remainder of the week.
So when I move onto working my back it may only be a few sets. Shoulders may only be side lateral raises this workout, possibly just overhead smith machine presses the following workout.
This entire workout is structured around push-ups and a process of give and take for other muscle groups. Legs are on a day to their own.
Upper body is on a day to it's own. Cardio may be on a day to it's own. Like I said, I'll be coming out with a guide soon that details the entire week.
WHY IT WORKS SO WELL
You may be thinking that after you build your chest through heavy resistance workouts you're wasting time doing all of these push-ups. Well, my experience has told me just the opposite!
First off, there is a stretch in my chest on the bottom portion of a push-up that a bench press and dumbbell press has never given me (I place my hands on dumbbells on the floor to do my push-ups, allowing me to get a maximum stretch).
Second off, when I begin fatiguing within a given set of push-ups, I can make a slight body to hand adjustment and keep going (I'll lean my body back more to push more from the shoulders/upper chest area, or vice versa).
All of these push-ups not only pump up my chest, but they further exhaust my chest through maximum time under tension, making the next set of heavier weighted resistance even more challenging!
You know you're making some incredible strength gains when you go back to that Smith machine and bang out another set of 225 lbs after 400 push-ups!
Part of my mentality behind this workout was simple; do what worked for growth in the beginning while incorporating heavier resistance training into a single workout session!
This workout is sort of built around the same theory as the Mike Tyson squat workout; repeated motion for muscle stimulation. Only this workout is for prioritizing chest growth and blasting through a sticking point in terms of chest growth.
This workout also serves as a great pre-pump for other muscle groups such as shoulders, triceps, lats, core, you name it!
FUCK ALL OF THE RULES!
Fuck all of the rules when it comes to working out. I used to think that my routine had to be perfect…no triceps and chest on the same day as one would take away from the other;
No biceps on the same day as my back as one would take away from the other;
Don't do too many reps or you're getting more into “cardio rather than muscle stimulation”.
Well fuck every bit of that! Over time I realized just exactly how stupid thinking this way was for total body development. Our bodies don't operate by telling us “Let's just use our biceps to pick up a cinder block.”
Our bodies don't tell us “Let's just use our triceps to push our broken down car”.
SO I SAY TO FUCK ALL THE RULES!
Just don't worry about them when it comes to this style of a workout.
USE SOMETHING TO ACCELERATE GROWTH, BUT NOT ALL THE TIME
I think this workout is good when you're at a sticking point with chest development. I've also noticed all of my other muscle groups in my upper body sort of “awakening and responding more from the high rep push-up routines.
I train in all different styles, I don't do simply 1 method all the time. You can't when it comes to bodybuilding.
You are constantly clawing at EVERY WAY YOU CAN to get further ahead! But hey, if it were easy everyone would do it!
For more training routines and advanced muscular development systems & diets, check out Becoming the Bull.
Not only does it contain several advanced workouts for maximum muscular growth, but the nutrition and health knowledge I offer is second to none!
Happy growing -JD