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How to Get Big Muscles Doing Pushups

author image Matthew Potak
Matthew Potak has been writing sports and fitness articles since 2006. His work has been published in "St. Augustine Record," "Elite FTS" and "Aggresive Strength." Potak is currently attending Florida State College and pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in business management.
How to Get Big Muscles Doing Pushups
A woman is doing push ups. Photo Credit: lokisurina/iStock/Getty Images

Pushups are a common and effective exercise for building muscle. When performing pushups, do reps in the 12 to 15 range and use proper form. When performing the repetitions, use a controlled tempo. Use different hand placement to work various muscle groups. According to an article in "Muscle and Fitness Magazine," "The push-up is like the cockroach of the bodybuilding world. It's been around forever and it ain't going anywhere anytime soon. And why should it? This basic upper-body move is a gym staple to this day for one simple reason: it works."

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Push-up Muscle Building Steps

Step 1

Lower your body for two to three seconds and then raise your body for three to four seconds. Using this method creates longer time under tension, which will aid in muscle gain. Keep the repetitions between 12 and 15.

Step 2

Use proper form on pushups to work the muscles and keep constant tension on them. Begin with your body on the ground. Slowly push your body up, keeping your head up, until your arms are fully extended. When the arms are extended, slowly lower your body to the ground.

Step 3

Use different hand placements. Use a wider hand placement when you want to focus more on chest development. The wider your hands, the more the pecs are isolated. When you want to work the shoulders and triceps, use a closer hand placement. You can also place both of your hands on chairs and lower your body all the way down, and press fully up. Performing this movement creates more range of motion to your upper body, and more range of motion equals more muscle development.

Step 4

Elevate your feet on a stair or step stool to increase the resistance of the exercise by making your body work harder against gravity. When the resistance is increased, the muscle must work harder, which increases exercise intensity and muscle size. Strive toward a goal of doing pushups with your feet elevated on a chair or stability ball.

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