This Terrifyingly Tough Pushup Finisher Will Fry Your Chest and Triceps

Pushups are an essential tool in your workout repertoire, but pumping out reps up and down, day after day, can get old. The exercise might be boring if you’ve been doing them since elementary school gym class—so you should mix it up and toss in more difficult, challenging variations any chance you get.

Some variations don’t offer much more excitement than the norm—think close grip or plyo pushups, for example—but others, like the typewriter pushups, can be super challenging. Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., even creates challenges with the moves to toast his upper body.

“The typewriter pushup is one of my favorite ways to finish out a chest session, because it allows you to attack your chest from multiple directions,” says Samuel. “You’re training standard push mechanics, as you do in all pushups, but you’re also activating your chest adductors, the same muscles you hit with cable and dumbbell flies, when you slide across the ground. On top of that, this is the lone pushup where you get to push and pull: as you slide across, you’re essentially “pulling” your torso toward your bending arm, a mechanic that activates your mid-back more than you think.”

To perform the Typewriter Terror Pushup Challenge, you can’t just be the type of person who gasses out after a few reps of the standard version of the exercise. Master the basic form of the move and get comfortable pumping out 10 to 15 reps at a time, then brush up on the typewriter variation and make sure you can perform around that many reps in a row with good form. Then, you’ll be ready to take on the challenge.

Men’s Health/Eric Rosati

  • Get into position for the typewriter pushup, with your hands on the ground wider than your shoulders facing outward. Be sure to keep other standard pushup cues in mind, like squeezing your glutes and bracing your core to keep your spine position solid.
  • Straighten your left arm and lower your torso onto your right side to perform 1 archer pushup rep.
  • Keep your arm bent and your chest close to the ground, then press with your right arm and pull with the left to slide your torso over to the other side. That’s the typewriter action. Perform 1 archer rep on the left side.
  • Repeat the series, but perform 2 archer reps on each side.
  • Keep moving up in reps until you reach 4 or 5 reps and slides.

    The structure of the workout is what really makes it stand out from the standard finisher. “By adding the count-up to the pushup portion, we’re spicing things up and placing extra stress and challenge on your triceps,” Samuel says. “Every pushup rep you do from that archer position is essentially a close-grip pushup with your weight biased to the pushing side. That means a lot of near-unilateral work for your chest and tris on each side. This will catch up to your tris faster than you think.”

    The series is also useful to prep you for other fancy moves, too. “It’ll also help you hone other pushup skills,” Samuel advises. “Your bent-arm side is pressing up a large percentage of your weight, making this a great half-step move towards one-arm pushups, if you’re ever interested in pursuing those.”

    Take on the Typewriter Terror Pushup Challenge as a finisher for your chest day or as a standalone workout when you need something quick by banging through 3 or 4 sets of 4 to 5 reps. For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.

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