POP push-ups combine the many benefits of the standard push-up with power, speed, and control training. To do POP push-ups, you'll blast up out of a deep push-up with explosive power, such that your hands come into the air for a moment. You'll use core strength to control your landing.
Stand behind a flat bench that is firmly bolted to the floor. Important: Do not do this exercise using a moveable piece of furniture. Place your hands flat on the bench about shoulder-width apart and walk your feet back behind you until you achieve an elevated plank position, with your weight on your toes and hands, your back flat, and your shoulders directly over your hands. For a more advanced version of this exercise, try the on-the-floor variation described below (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, do a standard push-up, bending your elbows to lower your chest to the bench while keeping your back flat and a straight line from the top of your head to your feet. Lower down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle (see Photos 2 and 3).
- From the bottom of the push-up, push up with fast and explosive power so that your hands momentarily come entirely off the bench at the top of the push-up. When your hands land back in the starting position, immediately descend into the next push-up. As you push up and descend, engage your core so that your hips never dip below level with your back (see Photos 4 to 6).
To increase the difficulty of this exercise, do the POP push-ups on the floor rather than a flat bench. To do the exercise on the floor, perform it exactly as you did on the flat bench, but use extra care to keep your center engaged to help you land lightly out of the pop-up; if you land heavily, or with your arms locked, you risk wrist injury. To build up to the floor POP push-up gradually, use a shorter box or bench under your hands; the shorter the platform, the more difficult the exercise. Make sure that whatever elevated platform you use is pressed up against a wall, so that it does not slide out from under you when you pop up (see Photos 7 to 9).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.