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The Best Pushups For Muscle Mass

author image Jack Kaltmann
Jack Kaltmann is a Las Vegas-based writer with more than 25 years of professional experience in corporate communications. He is a published author of several books and feature articles for national publications such as "American Artist" and "Inside Kung-Fu." Kaltmann holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Miami University and is a retired nationally certified personal trainer.
The Best Pushups For Muscle Mass
A fit young woman is doing pushups. Photo Credit: nishka321/iStock/Getty Images

Push-ups are effective strength exercises for the shoulders, chest and arms, and they also can increase muscle mass in those areas. The keys to turning your push-ups from a conditioning exercise to a muscle-building movement is increasing resistance and changing body position.

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Add Static Resistance

To build more muscle, you must increase the resistance so your body is forced to adapt to the heavier workload. Your body adapts by adding muscle. The simplest method is to wear a weighted vest or a backpack loaded with weights. Increase the weight every week, or as your body adapts to the load. Aim for 12 to 15 push-ups per set for three sets, three times a week. Rest 2 or 3 minutes between sets.

Add Dynamic Resistance

Criss-cross heavy chains over your back, with the ends resting on the floor. As you push away from the floor, pick up more links, adding more weight the higher you go. You can accomplish a similar result by using resistance bands or exercise tubing.

Change Hand and Feet Positions

Changing your hand and feet positions will work your chest, shoulder and arm muscles differently. To focus more on your chest, place your hands farther apart. Bringing your hands together, underneath your sternum, shifts most of the load to your triceps. Elevating your feet on a chair or desk will put more work on your deltoids (shoulder muscles).

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