Thankfully, Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. just may have an answer for you with his post pushup pump dropset. This devastating pushup series challenges you at the outset, than has you finish with that basic pushup you know. "Except by the time you get to the standard pushups," says Samuel, "your body has a uniquely off-balance burn."
It's a perfect way to get a chest pump, especially if you can't get access to the weights you might want to challenge yourself with for barbell and dumbbell bench presses. "I've used this as a lead exercise in a bodyweight workout, or as a finisher in a more aggressive weights-driven workout," says Samuel. "It's super-versatile."
The dropset is built around the post pushup, a move Samuel introduced late last year, so it gets off to a grueling start. You can do it just about anywhere, as long as you have a post or wall you can grab with one hand. "Just don't underestimate it," says Samuel, "because this combo will take more out of you than you may think."
But the best part is how quickly it works. Instead of doing, say, a set of max-reps pushups, you'll exhaust your chest after less than 25 reps. "We're only using bodyweight, but we're loading your pecs a ton," says Samuel. "There's no relief in this series."
The best part: You need zero equipment for it.
- Get in pushup position, with your right hand grasping a post, slightly lower than shoulder width. Your palm should be driving into the post, creating the tension to keep you balanced, and your core and glutes should be tight, hips and shoulders square to the ground.
- Bend your left elbow, lowering your chest to the ground. Pause an inch from the ground, then press back up. That's 1 rep; do 6 to 8.
- As soon as you complete those reps, remove your hand from the post and set up in standard pushup position. Do 8 to 10 reps. That's 1 set; do 3 sets per side.
Your focus throughout, says Samuel, should be on technique. The post pushups will obviously challenge you, but don't underestimate the unilateral burn you'll feel after them, and how it will affect you shifting to standard pushups. "Switching from unilateral pushups to bilateral here may throw you off," says Samuel. "Tighten your core and glutes to stay in proper, perfect balance."
The post pushup pump dropset works well in multiple ways. If you're on the road and need a chest pump, use it by itself, or as the leadoff move in a more rigorous pushup routine. Or, if you want an ultra-challenging chest finisher after weights work, hit three sets at the end of your next chest session.