The pushup remains one of the best go-anywhere bodyweight exercises of all-time, a chest-builder that blasts triceps and shoulders too. And over the years, it’s seen many variations. But if there’s a general issue with all of them, it is this: You’re almost always working in just one plane. You push the ground away from you, and that’s it.
Your body can (and should) do more. It’s capable of moving in other planes, and your muscles (and your chest) can stabilize you when moving laterally. That’s something you’ll experience in this Archer Pushup Dropset Hell series from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. The series combines the challenge of the archer pushup, a unilateral movement, while also pushing you to move in multiple planes, something your body will thank you for. “We do everything linear, out in front of us, in the gym,” says Samuel. “Your body is meant to build strength and stability laterally too. By integrating the half-typewriter pushup into this series, you’re giving your chest and shoulders a chance to build that stability.”
The time you spend in the half-typewriter pushup, which has you sliding your torso halfway across the ground while in the bottom of a pushup position, also builds time-under-tension, a valuable way to challenge your muscles. And once you’re done with that, there’s more fun, too.
“After half-typewriter reps, we ease up just a bit,” says Samuel, “and focus on really controlling our archer pushup with two-step reps.” You follow with standard archer pushup reps. The classic archer pushup is already challenging, but on the heels of all that other work, it takes your chest to the limit. “You’re pushing your body here,” says Samuel, “and all you’re using is bodyweight.”
That last part is key because it means you can do this move anywhere, anytime. Yet it still packs plenty of challenge. “In some ways, you’ll challenge yourself with this pushup series more than you will if you do simple bench presses or incline presses in a gym,” says Samuel. “Your core and glutes must stabilize you here; if they don’t, you can’t hold the position. That’s different from a bench where, at times, you can get lazy with your core control.”
Take on the Archer Pushup Dropset Hell series anytime, anywhere.
The Archer Pushup Dropset Hell series can be used in a variety of ways in your workout. If you’re doing a weight room chest workout, use this as a devastating finisher at the end of your session. If you’re doing a total-body workout, you can also use this as your pushing element, pairing it with some leg work and some back work. Or you can use it in a pinch, anytime, anywhere for a lightning-quick chest pump that will elevate your heart rate more than you think. “It’ll take you about 10 minutes to get through this,” says Samuel, “but it’s worth it.”
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts.
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