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If you’re looking to develop explosive power throughout the shoulders, chest, and upper body as a whole, then drop pushups are an excellent choice. Below are five tips you can use to ensure you’re not only doing drop pushups properly, but to give you guidance on how to integrate them into your program.
As with any other pushup variation, don’t let your elbows flare out too wide. Instead, your upper arms should form roughly a 45-degree angle with your torso. Doing this will engage the triceps a little more, but lessen any potential strain on the shoulder joint.
It’s not uncommon to feel a little trepidation the first time you try the drop pushups. If you don’t “land” your hands on the blocks, then you could conceivably fall flat on your face, opening yourself up to a nasty injury.
To get used to how it feels to have your hands in the air, start with normal plyometric pushups. Do these by just pushing up out of a pushup as hard as you can, then lifting your hands off the floor. When this feels comfortable, you can try changing hand position a little wider or narrower, then back to where you started. After this all feels more natural, you can progress to drop pushups.
One other mental cue you may have to condition yourself to is to extend all the way through the top of the movement. Normally, when you get to the top of a pushup, you slow your body down so as to not come up off the ground. However in this case, you want to explode through the top of the pushup, as this is what will bring you up off the ground.
The original intended use for drop pushups is to improve power development and become as explosive as possible. As such, you’d want to perform the movement early in your workout so you could give it maximum effort. Go with 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps, trying to be as explosive as you can, coming up off the ground as high as possible on every rep. Be sure to rest 2-4 minutes between sets so as to let the CNS completely recover.
If you’re already pretty strong in relation to your bodyweight, it’s not uncommon to see drop pushups used for conditioning purposes. In this instance, sets of 8-12 reps are often done, but as a part of a multi-exercise circuit. You might see this sort of thing in bootcamp classes or cross-training workouts.
Just know that you should only perform drop pushups for conditioning if you’re in shape enough to do so. Not being strong enough in relation to your bodyweight or simply weighing too much in general can have you performing the exercise incorrectly or putting too much ballistic shock on the elbows and wrists.
Drop pushups are great for developing a more explosive chest and shoulders, as well improving power conditioning. Feel free to work your way up to the movement if you’ve never done it before, and ensure you have enough strength to do them in the first place. Do all this and you’ll have a great new tool in your arsenal to add to your upper body workouts.