The Push-off Pullup


There’s an exercise besides the bench press that builds a big chest. And no, we weren’t thinking of dips. Flys? Not a chance. It’s the pullup-that’s right, the popular “back” exercise-with a slight twist. The push-off pullup builds not only your lats but also a muscle hidden behind your rib cage-one that will prove to be your secret weapon in building a deep chest.

Hang from a pullup bar, your hands just outside shoulder width with your palms facing away from you [1]. Perform a pullup [2], then, as you begin to lower yourself, push your body away from the bar as far as you can while maintaining a controlled descent [3]. (You should take three seconds to return to the starting position.) That’s one rep. Do three sets of four to six reps, resting two minutes between each set. Put this exercise first in your workout.

The push-off motion at the top of each rep works the subscapularis, a thick rotator-cuff muscle on the front of each shoulder blade that moves your arms in front of your torso. Building the subscap will push the other muscles in your chest outward, adding a thickness to your upper body that will be hard to hide.

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