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Will Pushups Build Mass?

Will Pushups Build Mass?

Pushups are great! They were how I first started working out at home. When I was in middle school I didn’t have a set of weights at home. So, I would do pushups, sit ups and a few bicep curls every night while watching TV. It worked pretty well for me back then, so I’ll have to go ahead and say yes. Pushups can help build mass if done properly.

Pushups are a form of resistance training that uses your body as the weight being moved. So, rather than breaking down why push ups help build mass, I’m going to tell you how to create workouts centered around pushups that will help you build mass. This will allow you to do some resistance training anywhere you want, even if you don’t have access to weights or a gym.


Muscles Being Targeted by Push Ups

Push ups are a compound exercise because they force you to recruit multiple muscle groups to perform the motion. This is awesome, since it allows you to train a greater number of muscles while performing only one motion. The muscles being targeted during the basic pushup are your pectorals, deltoids, triceps, rhomboids, rectus abdominus and quadriceps. These muscles pretty much make up the majority of the anterior face of your body.



The best thing about push ups is the fact that you can do a number of variations that help increase the difficulty of the movement and helps train different muscles. So, I’ll go into a few of the different variations and discuss what each variation does, why you should include them in your workout and link to a video showing you how to perform it.


Decline  Push Ups      

Decline push ups are great because they help isolate the muscles of the upper chest due to the angle at which the body is being pushed.  The more you elevate your feet, the harder it gets. So, start off with just a step stool and work your way up to your bed or some other high object.


Rotational Push Ups

Rotational push ups are another great variation to incorporate into your workout. Torso rotation is important to develop and strengthen. Plus, rotational push ups help strengthen your shoulders and abdominals.


Walking Push Ups

Walking push ups are great because they incorporate a new movement that forces your abdominals and shoulders to help stabilize your body as you walk your arms forward. Anytime a movement recruits new muscles, it’s probably great for mass building.


Plyometric/Clap Push Ups

Plyometric push ups are great for developing upper body power and explosiveness. But be careful, its only appropriate for people that already have reached high strength levels. Without being strong, training for explosiveness and power is not recommended. To make it more difficult, try clapping your hands after you push your body upwards.



The plank isn’t really a push up, but it is a great upper body exercise that is performed from the pushup position. It helps improve posture and increase midsection endurance and stability. Try doing planks at the end of each set of push ups.




Push Up Workouts

There are many different workouts you can perform that only involve push ups. However, its difficult to recommend a specific number of sets or reps, since everyone has different strength levels and can’t always do 20 pushups in a row.

However, my personal recommendation is to first pick 4-5 different pushup variations. Then, start with the first one and perform as many as you can until you fail. Take a break until you feel recovered and then do the second variation until failure. Do this until you have cycled through all of the variations. I pretty much still do this when I’m traveling and don’t have access to a gym.

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