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Cobra Push-Up [Exercise Guide]

cobra push-up

What Is A Cobra Push-Up

Do you want to develop your flexibility and find a bodyweight exercise to load your triceps more? Try cobra push-ups. In essence, it’s a combination of yoga-pose and regular push-ups. The move implies doing push-ups with the upper body while keeping the lower body against the floor.

This movement suits intermediate and advanced fitness levels because the technique demands more strength and mobility than conventional push-ups. This exercise will diversify your workout routine if you look for an effective compound move and want larger arms.

What Muscles Does Cobra Push-Up Work

Cobra pushups work the following muscles:

  • lower and upper chest
  • front shoulders
  • lower and upper abs
  • lower back
  • triceps (lower, upper, and outer)
  • obliques

The move primarily works the triceps and shoulders. At the top of the movement, most of the load goes to the lower back, making it stronger and more flexible. Secondarily, the exercise stretches your abdominals, hip flexors, and groin.

How To Perform Cobra Push-Up

Step 1. Get into starting position

Put your hands on the floor in front of your shoulders in a push-up posture. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart or a bit wider. Lay your hips and feet on the ground.

Step 2. Push your upper body up

Perform a push-up while holding your hips as close as possible to the floor and bringing your upper body into a slightly forward position. Raise your head. Keep your gaze fixed directly in front of you during the whole action. You will be able to keep the correct body posture if you use this technique.

Step 3. Pause for a few seconds

Stop for a while at the very top of the movement. Feel the tension and stretch in all the targeted muscles. But don’t hold on too much.

Step 4. Come back

Return to the starting position by bending your arms and lowering your torso parallel to the floor. That’s one rep. Do as many reps as possible.

If you are a beginner and can’t do cobra push-ups with straight legs, you can shift starting leg position to kneeling. Then, your lower leg will be bent and raised at the movement’s top.

Benefits of Cobra Push-Up

Improves flexibility

This movement implies a more extensive range of motion compared to regular push-ups. Extending your arms fully and raising your upper body, you stretch the muscles and improve your flexibility. Being flexible is crucial in most workouts and everyday activities. Developing this ability decreases overall injury risks and increases your quality of life.

Builds strong muscles

The exercise’s trajectory creates enough resistance to load your muscles qualitatively. Regular practice will make your triceps and chest muscles stronger. Also, the exercise targets all three groups of triceps, which makes it an excellent choice for building bigger arms.

Burns calories

Cobra push-up is a compound movement that loads many muscles simultaneously. To practice cobra push-ups, you should spend a lot of energy. This helps to burn more calories and contributes to weight loss.

Extra available and variable

Cobra push-ups don’t require any equipment. You can practice it at home, in the open air, or anywhere you like. An athlete can also choose a variation to spice up the training regimen or shift focus.

5 Cobra Push-Up Alternatives

1. Hindu Push-ups 

Hindu push-ups impact delts, triceps, serratus anterior, subscapularis, erector spine, and hips. The action itself will also aid in opening up the body, giving you more energy.

How to do Hindu push-ups:

  • Get down on all fours. Hands should be shoulder-width apart. Raise your buttocks in the air and stare down at your feet
  • Lower your head between your shoulders, bend the elbows, and thrust your body forward with your chest
  • The shoulder blades need to be lowered. Squeeze the upper back and the back of the deltoids. Extend your arms, making a wave
  • Come back to the starting position

2. Push-ups 

Standard push-ups are number one among the most popular exercises for strengthening the chest and core muscles.

How to do push-ups:

  • Get down on all fours, putting your hands slightly wider or shoulder-width apart
  • Keep your arms extended and your legs straight in line; use your toes as support
  • Go down, bending your arms. Stop when your chest almost touches the floor
  • Push up, extending your arms

3. Dips

If you want to bulk up, burn fat, enhance your flexibility and gain strength simultaneously, dips are the perfect exercise for you.

How to do dips:

  • Get your hands on the parallel bars while maintaining a straight posture with your arms extended
  • Go down, initiating the movement by bending your arms. Lean forward a bit to make everything right
  • Allow yourself to sink to the point where your shoulders are below your elbows and hold that position for a few seconds
  • Straighten your arms and raise your whole body

You may also like: 5 Best Chest Dip Alternatives.

4. Cable Tricep Pushdowns

This workout is one of the finest ways to build triceps. The exercise also allows loading glutes, lats, abs, traps, and pecs.

How to do tricep pushdowns:

  • The first thing to do is to put cables high on the cable machine. Then, step back to create some resistance. Keep your legs close and a bit bent. It’s a starting position
  • Grab the handles (straight or EZ-curl bar), breathe out, and push the weight straight down. Keep your spine neutral, and hold your elbows in front of your hips
  • Go all the way down with your arms, and come up to the position where your bent arms create around a 90-degrees angle
  • Lower your arms, and come up to a 90-degrees point again

5. Tricep Kickbacks

Triceps kickbacks are exactly what they sound like: they work your triceps. The exercise is perfect for building functional strength.

How to do tricep kickbacks:

  • Pick up the dumbbells and get started
  • Bend your legs a bit and lean forward. Your upper body should be parallel to the floor
  • Using your feet on the ground as a support, lift the dumbbells with your elbows bent at 90 degrees angle. Your upper arms stay parallel to the floor throughout the whole movement
  • Kick the dumbbells back. Feel the tension and a nice squeeze as you extend your elbows. Try to keep your arms stationary


What are cobra push-ups good for?

The exercise primarily targets the triceps and, to a lesser degree, loads the abs, chest, lower back, and shoulders. It’s good for building strength and flexibility.

How do you do cobra push-ups?

Get into your regular push-up stance, but lay the hips and feet on the floor. Push up, raise your chest, shoulders, and head for a while, leaving your lower body on the ground. Come back, do reps.


Cobra push-up is a push-up variation aimed at developing your flexibility and mobility. It’s a compound movement that works all three heads of triceps. Also, the move targets the shoulders, abs, chest, and lower back muscles. Regular practice can help athletes lose weight and become stronger. Cobra push-ups are often used as a warm-up before weight lifting exercises. The movement has many alternatives to choose from. Pick the one you like!