Thankfully, there are ways to level the classic move up. And one of the best ones is the half-typewriter pushup from Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. The half-typewriter takes another Samuel favorite, the typewriter pushup, and adds even more time-under-tension and core focus, creating a vicious move that will leave your chest on fire. "Just a set of 8 to 10 reps will leave you burning," says Samuel. "You're hitting your chest from varied angles with one move."
The half-typewriter pushup accomplishes this in two ways. First off, says Samuel, it forces you into nearly a minute of time-under-tension per set, a key component of any bodyweight workout to create challenge. "If you're not rushing your reps," says Samuel, "a set of this will leave your working-side chest, triceps, and shoulders under continuous tension for 50 seconds or so. That's a long time, and that's a ton of muscle-building stimulus."
The key to the move, focus. Standard typewriter pushups allow half your body to "breathe," to a lesser extent, as you typewriter across and place more challenge and tension on the other half. That doesn't happen during Samuel's half-typewriter. "Here, you're just working one side," he says. "That creates a new challenge." You also get even more core stimulus, says Samuel, since your torso doesn't slightly rotate in space. You get to focus on keeping your hips and shoulders square, a new and different challenge for your body.
The other major challenge: You get to push your chest through two different movement ideas. The upward action of every pushup mimics the motion of a bench press or dumbbell press, but that's not it. "When I'm shifting laterally, I'm getting a bit of shoulder adduction action, another responsibility of the pecs," says Samuel. "It's not much, but it's a solid at-home way to get multiple chest actions."
The best part: All you need to pull this one off is room.
- Start in pushup position, then shift your hands slightly wider. Turn your fingers so they face outwards. This is your starting position.
- Do a pushup, lowering to your left side.
- Pause at the bottom. Then, keeping your body parallel to the ground, slide across to the right.
- Stop halfway, then slide back. Press back up.
- That's 1 rep. Do 8 to 10 reps per side; do 3 sets.
The half-typewriter pushup makes for a great home chest pump, says Samuel. "It's a perfect first or second exercise in an at-home or all-bodyweight chest blast," he says. "And it has other applications too. It's a great finisher in a weight room chest workout, too."