This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Here’s a chest-buster: punches to flys to plyometric push-ups. Though these are different movements, they share a common theme—developing power. Try to keep your rhythm quick and continuous, so that you don’t pause between repetitions, and use the momentum developed in each movement to power you into the next repetition.
Attach a tube to a fixed point at your head height (if you do not have access to tubes, use a dual-cable machine). Stand with your back to the point of attachment and one tube handle in each hand. Stand with your feet staggered, one in front of the other. Bring the tube to chest level, elbows bent back behind you, palms facing down. The tube should run on the inside side of your arm (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, punch forward with alternating hands, bringing each arm forward to a full extension in the punch. Make sure not to swing your upper body side to side as you alternate punches—stay stable and reach through your chest. Do the recommended number of punches, and then switch the leading foot and repeat for another set (see Photos 2 and 3).
- After you have completed the punches, bring the tube around to the outside of your arms, again with elbows bent back and palms down. Your hands will now be slightly wider than in the starting position. Perform the recommended number of power chest flys—pressing both arms straight forward from the chest, keeping your shoulders retracted even as your arms come forward, and then keeping the flexion in your chest as you pull your arms back to their starting position. Make this movement continuous and strong (see Photos 4 to 6).
- After the first set of fly presses, switch the lead foot and repeat for another set of chest presses.
- Once you have completed both sets of fly presses, drop the tubes and take up a plank position on the floor, with hands directly under your shoulders, arms extended, back and hips flat and center engaged (see Photo 7).
- In the plank position, perform a pop-up power push-up. Keeping your center strong for stability, lower your chest to the floor as in a standard push-up. From the floor, develop explosive power and pop back up into the air, such that your hands come about an inch off the floor at the top of your movement. Land back in your starting position and control that landing momentum down into the next push-up. Do the recommended number of plyometric push-ups to complete your first set of super chests (see Photos 8 to 10).