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The Push-Up Home Workout For Big Arms

Coach’s push-up home workout for big arms
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As most of the UK enters another lockdown, you may be looking for new ways to pass the time. Sculpting your arm muscles certainly beats an unending box-set binge in our book so we thought we’d bring this simple routine devised by Martin Rooney, creator of the Training For Warriors protocol, to your attention. With a few smart tweaks to the reps and rest periods, it can be spun into a surprisingly effective four-week plan. It also doesn’t require any equipment so if you haven’t equipped your home with a set of dumbbells – or aren’t prepared to pay inflated prices on principle – you can still emerge from lockdown with bigger, stronger arms.

The plan uses push-up variations to focus on your triceps rather than your biceps. Curls are fun and all, but your tris make up roughly two-thirds of the muscle in your arms. Neglect them and you’re short-changing yourself.

How To Do This Workout

Instead of doing endless standard push-ups, this plan challenges your chest and triceps with five variations, working them from every angle. Can’t do the tougher variations? Add a set of the easier moves for each one you miss.

Do the workout twice a week. Over four weeks, change the reps and rest for each set as follows.

  • Week 1: Reps 10, rest 2min
  • Week 2: Reps 8, rest 1min
  • Week 3: Reps 10, rest 1min
  • Week 4: Reps 12, rest 2min


1 Single-leg push-up

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Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and bring one foot slightly off the ground, then lower yourself until your chest touches the floor. Push back up, trying not to twist. Switch legs with every rep.

2 Divebomber push-up

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Start in an inverted V-shape – hips pushed towards the ceiling, arms and legs straight. “Dive” towards the floor, as if trying to push a ball along with your nose, then finish with your head and chest up. Reverse the move to the start.

3 Gorilla push-up

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Starting in the traditional top push-up position, drop into the rep fast, then use your stretch reflex to explode upwards. Leave the floor and slap your chest, then get your hands back down quickly. That’s one rep.

4 Spider-Man push-up

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Start from a normal top push-up position. As you lower yourself, bring one knee up and to the side, trying to touch your elbow. Alternate sides with each rep.

5 Elevated single-arm push-up

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Start with one arm straight out to the side, elevated on a chair, sofa or something similar. Get through the reps with as little assistance from your elevated arm as you can manage.

Model: Freddie Abrahams @WAthletic

From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.

With contributions from