The tried-and-true pushup is one of the best home workout moves out there, partly because it never requires any gear. But after awhile, it can also get boring . . . and it gets easy, too.
Thankfully, there are ways to level the classic move up. And one of the best ones is the half-typewriter pushup from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. The half-typewriter takes another Samuel favorite, the typewriter pushup, and adds even more time-under-tension and core focus, creating a vicious move that will leave your chest on fire. “Just a set of 8 to 10 reps will leave you burning,” says Samuel. “You’re hitting your chest from varied angles with one move.”
The half-typewriter pushup accomplishes this in two ways. First off, says Samuel, it forces you into nearly a minute of time-under-tension per set, a key component of any bodyweight workout to create challenge. “If you’re not rushing your reps,” says Samuel, “a set of this will leave your working-side chest, triceps, and shoulders under continuous tension for 50 seconds or so. That’s a long time, and that’s a ton of muscle-building stimulus.”
The key to the move, focus. Standard typewriter pushups allow half your body to “breathe,” to a lesser extent, as you typewriter across and place more challenge and tension on the other half. That doesn’t happen during Samuel’s half-typewriter. “Here, you’re just working one side,” he says. “That creates a new challenge.” You also get even more core stimulus, says Samuel, since your torso doesn’t slightly rotate in space. You get to focus on keeping your hips and shoulders square, a new and different challenge for your body.
The other major challenge: You get to push your chest through two different movement ideas. The upward action of every pushup mimics the motion of a bench press or dumbbell press, but that’s not it. “When I’m shifting laterally, I’m getting a bit of shoulder adduction action, another responsibility of the pecs,” says Samuel. “It’s not much, but it’s a solid at-home way to get multiple chest actions.”
The best part: All you need to pull this one off is room.
The half-typewriter pushup makes for a great home chest pump, says Samuel. “It’s a perfect first or second exercise in an at-home or all-bodyweight chest blast,” he says. “And it has other applications too. It’s a great finisher in a weight room chest workout, too.”
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.
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