Here’s the good news: you don’t have to queue for your gym’s sole bench to build an athletic upper body. In fact, endless bench pressing isn’t even the best way to do it.
This zero-kit workout, designed by strength and conditioning expert JC Santana, hits the muscle fibres in your chest and arms from every direction for the optimal number of reps needed for growth.
Better yet, you can do it at home in the time it would normally take you to get ready for the gym.
- Do this workout once or twice a week.
- Leave 48 hours between this workout and your regular chest or upper-body workouts.
- Do all the reps of each move back to back, with minimal rest.
- Rest for two minutes once one round is complete, then repeat two more times.
1a. Rotational press-up
Rest: Straight into 1b
- This hits your shoulder muscles from an odd angle, building strength and stability.
- Start in a press-up position and lower yourself to one side, twisting as you do so most of your weight is on one shoulder.
- Press up, then do the same on the other side. That’s 2 reps.
1b. Shuffle Press-Up
Rest: Straight into 1c
- Get in a press-up position with one hand ahead of your shoulder and one behind.
- Lower yourself to the floor, then press up. That’s 1 rep.
- At the top of the move, jump or walk your hands into the opposite position, then do the next rep.
- Continue alternating.
1c. Diamond Press-Up
Rest: Straight into 1d
- For this triceps blaster, position your hands together under your chest so your index fingers and thumbs form a triangle, and lower yourself until your chest touches your hands.
- Press back up to the start.
1d. Gorilla Press-Up
Rest: Straight into 1e
- This variation on the clap press-up forces you to get more height, taxing your fast-twitch fibres.
- Start in a standard press-up position, lower yourself to the floor and then press up quickly, launching yourself off the floor.
- Slap your chest quickly before returning your hands to the start position.
1e. Single-Leg Press-Up
Rest: 2 mins, then repeat 1a
- This is easier than the one-arm variation but still taxes your core.
- Raise one leg, keeping your glutes tight, and do a press-up.
- Switch legs and repeat. That’s 2 reps.
Photography: Tom Miles