Push-ups are among the best exercises you can do to build strength, burn calories and improve your overall conditioning. The Army, Navy and Marines of the U.S. military use push-ups as a key part of conditioning tests for personnel at all levels. To build up the inner chest muscles, you can adjust your hand position and your actions as you do push-ups.
To build added strength to your chest muscles, change the position of your hands as you do push-ups. Instead of placing them directly under your shoulders, place your hands closer to the center of your chest. You will notice that when you are in the "up" position, your torso will be much higher off the ground and your hands will be no more than 12 inches from each other. When you descend, you must do it slowly to help your chest get the full effect of the exercise. Do 20 push-ups, take a one-minute break and then repeat the set.
Place each hand on two thick phone books when you do push-ups. You will need four phone books altogether. Both of your hands should be about 6 inches off the ground when doing raised push-ups. Push up so your elbows are straight and then lower your body so your chin is below the level of the phone book when you descend. Push back up. Do this 20 times, take a one-minute break and repeat the set. This exercise will give your chest a much tougher workout than standard push-ups.
Clap push-ups will help you build explosive strength in your chest and your upper arms. Start off in the standard push-up position. Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulder blades and your torso will be 2 or 3 inches off the ground. Push up explosively with your hands so your body rises up off the ground. When you are at the apex of that push-up, clap your hands quickly and then return your hands to the ground so they can support your body weight. Try to do 10 push-ups, take a one-minute break and then repeat the drill. Eventually, work your way up to 20 clap push-ups to build strength in the inner chest.