THE 5-ALARM BURNER PUSHUP ROUTINE
Why it works: Your muscles can handle more weight during the eccentric—or lowering—portion of a pushup than in the concentric, or lifting, part of the movement. That’s because your muscles are working with gravity as opposed to against it.
By focusing on the eccentric, you’ll be able to do additional reps, recruiting more muscle fibers and spurring more growth.
Do it: Perform as many reps of a standard pushup as you can with perfect form. Remember that number. Then perform as many eccentric pushups as you can.
For each rep, take 3 to 5 seconds to lower your chest to the floor with each rep. When your chest reaches the bottom, place your knees on the floor and press your chest up so you are on all fours. Straighten your legs to return to a pushup position.
Try to match the number of eccentric reps to the number of standard reps you completed. Rest for one to two minutes, and repeat then if you’re able.
MOMENTUM MASSACRE PUSHUP ROUTINE
Why it works: Your muscles, tendons, and ligaments build up elastic energy as you lower into a pushup, says Gaddour. This energy helps your muscle spring back up to the starting position.
But starting from a dead stop at the bottom of the movement eliminates your ability to produce elastic energy. Therefore, you must generate maximum force by activating the greatest number of fast-twitch fibers as possible, he says.
Do it: To perform a dead-stop pushup, lie face down on the floor with your arms extended out to your sides perpendicular to your torso. Your body should form a “T.”
Quickly move your hands directly underneath your armpits, and then immediately press your body off the floor so you are in a pushup position. Your body should stay in a straight line from your head to your heels the entire time. Now reverse the movement and return to the starting position.
Do as many reps as you can with good form, making sure to form a “T” each time. Perform three to five sets, resting 60 seconds between each set. Do this two to three times a week.
4-SECOND SIZZLER PUSHUP ROUTINE
Why it works: Keeping your muscle in a fixed position—an isometric hold—increases the time it’s under tension, which can promote muscle growth, says Gaddour.
And since you’re stopping at your weakest point—at the bottom of the pushup—you’re reducing the amount of elastic energy in your muscles, he says.
Do it: Perform as many pushups as possible. For each rep, you’ll lower for one second, pause for four seconds with your chest hovering above the floor, and then push up to top for one second.