One you’ve never even tried, I reckon.
The Best Bodyweight Exercise You’ve NEVER Done.
Wanna build some upper body beef and turn those shoulders into SWOLE-ders? How about them triceps into…well, bigger triceps? And how would you like to improve your handstand pushups/military pressing strength along the way?
Got your attention yet?
Good. Then look no further than perhaps THE most underrated bodyweight exercise OF ALL TIME. So underrated no one’s even doing it. How do I know? Because I’ve been doing them for years but as far as I know I invented them, as I’ve never seen them done anywhere else (save for a few colleagues of mine from around the world who have put their students through them to great results).
I call them souped-up pike pushups. They’re done like a regular pike pushup (body piked, legs on an elevation), only unlike your regular, run-of-the-mill pike pushup which is pretty easy to bang out tons of reps on, these mofos require that you elevate your hands as well, adding an additional challenge that – as I’ve found – builds not only an exceptional amount of strength, but an appreciable amount of muscle as well – and in a relatively short amount of time. Despite muscle building not currently being on my agenda, in the last few weeks that I’ve started doing these again I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that my shoulders are more and more resembling cannon balls while my triceps are looking even horse shoe-ier.
If you’re working on handstand pushups, these are a perfect addition to your program for a number of reasons:
1) They allow for a higher number of reps, and in overhead pressing movements, more volume = more strength
2) They will greatly enhance your strength in handstand pushups. The increased range of motion that you get from souped-up pike pushups has a massive carryover into the standard handstand pushup, wherein your range of motion is restricted to your head on the floor. For example, when I first started doing these years ago, I went from 5 to 9 handstand pushups within ONE WEEK of practicing these. Nearly doubling your strength in a given exercise in one week? I’ll take that.
If you’re working on the military press, this move is similarly good as an assistance movement of sorts for the following reasons:
3) It will allow you to build up more volume in your pressing groove (similar to point 1) WITHOUT the stability challenge required of your legs and glutes, which must be kept tight sometimes to the point of cramping as your military pressing loads get heavier and heavier.
4) Unlike the handstand pushup – a typical favorite assistance exercise for the military press – with the souped-up pike pushup you’ll get a full range of motion un-available to you in the standard handstand pushup (unless you’re doing those with a full range of motion, in which case there’s not much more I can teach you about handstand pushups because you’ve arrived!)
Give these bad boys a shot and watch in amazement as your upper body pressing strength and raw muscularity starts going through the roof, previously stalled progress starts chugging forth once again, and your friends/family/co-workers seethe with jealousy. You know they’ve already got all eyes on you and your training journey as it is. You might as well give them something to talk about.
And if you’d like, check out my quick YouTube tutorial on the souped-up pike pushup. Don’t forget to share your secret with your friends when they start asking why you’re busting out of your shirt all of a sudden.
Happy training! And as always, enjoy crushing weakness.