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Getting a good pump doesn’t always take a whole gym packed with equipment, according to Men’s Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel. If you need a full-on chest and arm workout, skip out on the heavy weights, hit the deck, and push up.

This vicious pushup circuit will blast your upper body — and all your work won’t just go to one body part. Since you’re alternating hand positions, you’ll hone your pecs, shoulders, triceps, serratus anterior, and core, giving you an effective method to target multiple muscle groups.

The routine’s simplicity makes it an option for just about everyone. “Advanced lifters, this is your finisher [for a chest/upper body session],” Samuel says. “Beginners, this can be a full workout.”

You can do the circuit anywhere, too, since all you need is your bodyweight. If you have a few minutes and enough room to stretch out, you have no excuse to skip out on your chest pump.

How to do it:

Make sure your pushup form is perfect. That means you squeeze your core and glutes to keep your spine straight, keeping your gaze cast down slightly ahead of you.

Men’s Health

  • Perform 1 pushup with your hands in standard position (shoulder width apart).
  • Jump your hands into a tricep pushup position (hands 2 to 3 inches apart). Perform 1 tricep pushup.
  • Jump back to standard and go 2 reps, the jump to tricep position for 2 reps.
  • Jump to standard for 3 reps, then tricep for 3 reps you’re toast.
  • Continue up the ladder, adding reps for each style of pushup, until failure.

    “Make it to 5 reps and 5 reps (the video above is my last set and I wasn’t even close on that, it’s tough),” admits Samuel, “and you’ve done 30 reps. 3 sets and you’ll be rocked.”

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    When you’re training to failure, make sure you keep the form tight through every rep. If you find your groin sagging and your core flagging, call it a day. “Make the pushups clean and controlled, but don’t drop your chest all the way to the deck,” says Samuel.

    Beginners shouldn’t be overly concerned about nailing the perfect transition between the two hand positions, either. “If you can’t jump your hands you can still do this,” says Samuel. “Just move your hands to each position with control.”

    Just be careful with your form and hand positioning. “On the close-grip jump, don’t think too close,” advises Samuel. “Think hand-width just inside of normal pushup position and slightly below your chest. You’ll save your shoulders from unnecessary internal rotation that doesn’t actually benefit the triceps training effect we want.”



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