Weighted Power Push Ups

arnold_schwarzenegger_trainingPower Rack Weighted Push-Ups – An Easy Way To Get A Bigger Chest!
Guest Post By Nick Nilsson

Note: This exercise is an excerpt from Nick’s new book “The Best Chest Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of”…53 unique exercises and training techniques for the chest. If you’re looking to break through a plateau, get some training variety or just have some fun in your training again definitely check this book out!


— This exercise is a GREAT way to add resistance to the push-up and get the bodyweight-exercise benefits of the push-up.

If you can do more than 15 reps of push-ups, they won’t build a whole lot of muscle. But when you add significant resistance, they can be even better than heavy bench press for adding mass and strength. Moving your body through space means greater muscle fiber activation and greater functional strength.

This setup allows you to easily add as much (or as little) weight as you want to the exercise! (and it beats trying to find a person to sit on your back).

First, you’ll need a power rack – set one safety rail near the very bottom (this is where your feet will be placed – maybe one or two notches up) and one about 2 to 3 feet or so off the ground (this is where your hands go).

If you don’t have a rack but have a Smith machine or other adjustable-height bar setup, you can very easily use this exercise as well…just set the Smith bar higher and set your your feet on a bench or other low object. The reason you’ll need to get your feet up is that otherwise the plates are probably going to hit the floor at the bottom of the rep.

To add weight, you’ll need a dip belt – I’m using 90 lbs on the belt in the demo here. Start by getting the weight around your waist.


** Now here’s the trick…you won’t be leaving the weight on your waist. Instead, squat down and rest the weight plates on the ground – now slide the belt up to your mid-back. This will place it closer to your chest and shoulders and take any potential stress off the lower back during the exercise.

Basically, you’re putting the weight closer to where your body is supporting it so that you’re not putting pressure on the lower back.

Set your hands on the higher rail – right out to the sides near the uprights (or wherever is comfortable to you for a push-up).


Now step back and put your feet up on the lower safety rail. Your body should be in a pike position (slightly bent at the waist) – this will be the easiest on your lower back. At the top of the exercise, notice how my back is almost horizontal – these two things (along with the belt being higher up on my back) make this easy on the lower back. The pike position really takes the stress of the back and puts it on the chest.


Lower yourself down to the bottom of the push-up position then push back up, just like you were doing a regular push-up on the floor!


Because you’re able to add pretty much as much weight as you like or need, this is a VERY useful exercise. If you ever can’t complete a rep, all you have to do is step down and you’re done. This makes it an ideal way to really work the push-up hard and get the “bodyweight exercise” benefits of the push-up while still getting the “progressive resistance” benefits of a free weight exercise.

Now check out the video!

About the Author:

Nick Nilsson, also known as the “Mad Scientist of Exercise,” has been training and innovating unique and powerful new exercises and training techniques for more than 18 years. He’s published 9 books on weight training, including his most recent – “The Best Chest Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of”

Visit his site now to learn more about how this book can take your chest development and pressing strength to a whole new level AND grab your FREE sample chest exercises!

Comments 2

  1. Good post. I was doing weighted push ups, but i was using a backpack with weights. If anyone doesnt have a power rack, they might want to try that. Its also good because you can adjust it so its not sitting on your lower back.

  2. “Moving your body through space means greater muscle fiber activation and greater functional strength.” Agree, awesome concept. My favorites (before my shoulder injury) used to be pull-ups and dips – both weighted. And results definitely showed. At one point I kind’a slacked off and only did weighted pull-ups and nothing else for my back… dude, the v-shape got massive.
    Mark Martinez,
    Testing out hypergain like the energizer bunny

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