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Importance of Progressive overload.

Progressive overload is the way to go, whether your goal is to increase  your push-ups or build a bigger chest. No matter the exercise or the muscle that you want to build. Progressively overloading your muscles on any exercise will make you better at it and in this case, allow you to do more push-ups while building a bigger chest. Below we will be discussing various ways you can do that without any gym equipment.

Slow down

1.Slow your reps down

This is the best approach to take if you want to build a bigger chest without using anything but your own body as the weight (calisthenics). When you perform a push-up, slow down when going down and stop before your chest touches the ground and hold that position for 3 seconds. Slowing down the eccentric (downward movement in this case) will allow you to put more stress on your chest and shoulder muscles. This acts as additional resistance to both your chest and shoulders. Replicating the same stress on your muscles as if you were using weights.

You can go harder on this and get down slower or hold it for more than 3 seconds at the lowest point. All of this will act like additional resistance and allow you to get stronger, build more muscle and increase your push-ups just using your body. This approach is known as time under tension. To know more about time under tension in detail. Read

Weighted backpack

2. Weights as progressive overload

The weights at the gym are not the only form of resistance that you need to progressively overload your muscles. In fact, just a couple of books or some phone books can do a fine job when it comes to adding resistance to your push-ups.  Wear a back-pack, add books to it, make it moderately heavy. The weight should be something that you can perform a push-up in, but not more than, let’s say 8-10 push-ups max.

Now challenge yourself and try to do more than what you did today the next day. If your stuck at, let’s say 10 push-ups. Slowing down your reps and putting more time under tension on each rep will make you stronger at the exercise and allow you to push past that plateau.  That is one of the reasons why slowing down your reps is #1 on this list. It can make you better at any approach you choose to take with push-ups.

3.Always push beyond your max

This might seem like common knowledge, but the truth is people get comfortable, especially when doing body weight exercises and push-ups are the top of the list in that regard. For example, doing  25 reps of push-ups is a good push-up goal if your a normal person. Staying at 25 push-ups is not. You should always try to increase the number of push-ups you can do but in proper form.

Doing 25 push-ups fast versus doing them slower is a massive difference. However, being able to do 25 push-ups with time under tension while being slow  on the way down will allow you to easily double  the numbers of push-ups you can do fast. So, if your in high school and you’re doing a push-up challenge, if you can do clean, slow push-ups for 25 repetitions. The chances of you being able to do up to 40 push-ups fast are significantly higher.  Slowing down your reps comes into play here as well, allowing you to double your push-ups.

decline push ups

4 Decline push-ups

Another way to increase your push-up count, strength and build a bigger chest is to do push-ups with a slight decline. Get in a push-ups position with your feet on the bed, sofa, any sort  of bench that can slightly put your upper body in a decline with your feet raised up. Performing push-ups this way can help put more stress on both your chest and shoulder. Allowing you to push yourself, which in turn will help you build a bigger chest and shoulders.

The chest, shoulder, triceps and abs are the  muscles that get worked when it comes to performing push-ups. Elevating your feet puts more stress on your chest, triceps and shoulder while forcing you to push more of your body weight compared to a normal-push. Now, if you slow your reps down on decline push-ups you will get more benefit from this exercises as well in terms of more strength, muscle and push-up count. Adding a backpack with weights as mentioned in approach #2 will further allow you to push yourself.

5.Switching grips

Switching grips can help you in two ways as both of them are interlinked to each other. using a wide grip helps you target your chest and upper arms more. Doing push-ups with a narrow grip where your hands are narrower to your shoulder width helps you target your chest and triceps more and can be a challenging exercise but helps you build stronger triceps. A diamond push-up is also an example of a narrow grip pushup. However, you can do the standard push-up with a narrow width as well.

Switching between both grips allows you to target specific muscles like the triceps and chest or the chest and shoulders. It can also help build more strength and add variety to your workouts. As muscles can get used to a movement, it’s always better to switch grips  every now to shock your muscles.  This can allow you to build more muscle.

It goes without saying you can practice time under tension, weighted push-ups, push beyond your max as well as do switched grips on a decline to further challenge yourself and get stronger. All of these tips can be used in conjunction with each other, further increasing the stress on your muscles, allowing you to get stronger and build a bigger chest and no doubt increasing how many push-ups you can perform at any given time.


  • The importance of TUT should not be underestimated as it’s one of the most effective ways to build muscle with body weight exercises.
  • You can pick your approach of choice or do everything together.
  • All these tips provide variety to the otherwise boring push-up routine.
  • All of these techniques can be just in conjunction with each other, further increasing the difficult to your liking.
  • If you need more workouts, than you can do at home or at the gym. Read
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