Maybe the strongmen of old didn’t have access to weights. I say that as, many of the old fashioned “get fit at home” manuals and pamphlets, put push ups and push up variations at the core of their regimes. Maybe they assumed that their home based clients did’t have a “bench”.
Not a totally insane assumption.
So, push ups or “dips” as Charles Atlas called them, belong in any home regime. I think they are often overlooked.
Charles Atlas does his “dip”between two chairs in order to get a bigger range of motion. according to his pamphlet its great for “Chest, Shoulders and Back. Excellent for preventing Lung and Chest troubles. Do the dipping exercise at least 100 times every day. Aim to do it 200 times daily if you are keen on getting a very big and powerful chest development. Do this by dipping 25 or more times, rest and relax a few moments and do them again. Rest and do them again.” Charles Atlas said he did 200 daily.
However, it isn’t as simple as just doing any type of push up. Notice from this video that you are aiming for a planche push up. Your shoulders go forward and your hands end up as near the hips as possible
Of course, this is achievable if you already have push ups. If you don’t work your progressions like mad