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Push-Up [Exercise Guide]

push up

What Is A Push-Up

The push-up is a strength bodyweight exercise which involves raising and lowering the body with the straightening and bending of the arms. An athlete uses hands and toes as support and keeps a body in a straight line while working out.

Since the beginning of contemporary strength training, a push-up has stayed among the best bodyweight movements, targeting upper body muscles. This crucial movement continues to be a mainstay in the workout plans of athletes, leisure gym-goers, bodybuilders, and even those healing from particular ailments.

Even though push-up is a common exercise and most people are acquainted with them, many may not know which muscles it specifically loads or how to do it correctly. We are here to fix it.

What Muscles Does Push-Up Work

Although push-ups are often thought of as a chest workout, the other muscles they target should not be ignored.

Here is a full list of the muscles that push-ups work:

  • pectoralis major
  • pectoralis minor
  • triceps
  • anterior deltoids
  • core muscles

Pectoralis major is a big, dense muscle located directly under the breast tissue. Pectoralis major works as the primary motive force while you do push-ups. This muscle is responsible for controlling the drop of your torso toward the floor and bringing it back up while you do the push-up.

One of the chest muscles that receives less attention is the pectoralis minor. It is located below the pectoralis major muscle and is much smaller. The pectoralis minor is responsible for maintaining the shoulder blades’ correct position during push-ups.

The triceps is a sizable and substantial muscle near the rear of the upper arm. The triceps contribute to the stabilization of the body during the first part of the push-up. Also, they are the key mover during the second part of the exercise, which involves extending the arms.

Large muscles that have the form of a triangle and are found on the shoulder joints’ top are called the deltoids. Because of its placement on the front of the shoulder joint, the anterior head is most targeted. They assist in bringing the arms inside toward the chest. During the descending part of the movement, delts also aid in supporting the shoulders.

The chest muscles are the primary target of the push-up exercise; however, the action is supported by additional muscle groups. One of these muscles is the abs.

How to Perform A Push-Up

Step 1. Get into the starting position

Begin in a high plank posture with your arms outstretched and palms placed on the floor at a shoulder-width distance apart. Put your toes on the floor so that they are parallel to your legs. You should engage the muscles in your core, glutes, and legs to align your spine properly.

Step 2. Lower your body

While retaining a straight back and looking a few feet before you, bend your elbows and slowly lower your body until your chest almost touches the ground. Keep an eye on your elbows and back. Elbows should be tucked in and back – straight.

Step 3. Go back

As you exhale, return to the beginning position by pressing your hands toward the ground and maintaining the same stance. Your primary focus should be squeezing the chest and tricep muscles while maintaining a tight core.

Advantages Of A Push-Up

Strengthens upper body

If performed regularly, push-ups create substantial strength in the pectoralis, tricep, and anterior deltoid muscles. In addition, studies have shown that doing weighted push-ups may activate muscles comparable to that of the bench press. Even while push-ups are more effective in strengthening the upper body muscles, they may also help build the abs and lower back muscles.

Improves figure

Push-ups can increase your heart rate, which is obvious to anybody who has done more than a few reps. A faster energy metabolism may be achieved by supplementing an aerobic workout routine with strength training activities like push-ups. This will result in a greater number of calories burnt. Therefore, you may achieve great changes in your body composition by including push-ups as part of a well-balanced exercise routine.

Extra available

You don’t need anything except your own body weight and free time to practice push-ups. No fancy equipment, no gym membership, or lots of space. You can practice push-ups everywhere. The technique is also simple and available for any fitness level. That means everyone can get the benefits of the push-up! 

5 Push-Up Alternatives 

1. Chest Dip

Dips target the chest, shoulders, and even the lower back in addition to the triceps. Chest dips are one of the most effective exercises for increasing upper-body strength and size. You’ll need a dip station or parallel bars to do this workout.

How to do a chest dip:

  • Grab hold of the parallel bars with both hands and rise up while maintaining a straight arm position.
  • Lower your body by bending your arms and leaning forward. 
  • Raise your body by extending your arms. Your abs and glutes should maintain their contracted state. Move as far as the flexibility of your shoulders will allow you to.
  • When you reach the highest point, bring your elbows together and hold that position for a moment. That’s one rep.

2. Tricep Bench Dip

Triceps, chest, and shoulder muscles are all worked out effectively with bench dips. Movement is easy to scale. You can use them to either relieve some strain or take on a greater challenge for your upper body.

How to do a tricep bench dip:

  • Stand near the bench. Put your feet out so your butt goes away from the bench about six inches.
  • Leave your straight legs on the heels in front of you.
  • Bend your elbows and come down. Try to reach a 90-degree angle with your elbows.
  • Push straight up, keeping your core tight. Breathe out on the way up.

3. Barbell Bench Press

Powerlifters put their strength to the test by doing this exercise, which athletes use to improve their ability to push with explosive force. The bench press is perfect for developing your chest and shoulders and boosting your overall strength. A barbell and the bench are on the list of required equipment.

How to do a barbell bench press:

  • Get ready to lift by setting up your barbell and bench. Check that the barbell is at a height that allows you to move it without too much strain.
  • Place yourself on the bench and bend your knees to a comfortable position. Grab the barbell with your hands spaced slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Put the weight down and keep the barbell over your nipples as you continue the exercise. Maintain a 90-degree angle with your arms as you drop the barbell, and draw your shoulder blades toward each other as you do so.
  • Push straight up, inhaling in as you go.

4. Dumbbell Chest Press

The exercise is similar to the previous one. The two main changes are pieces of equipment (dumbbells) and a bigger range of motion.

How to do a dumbbell chest press

  • Grasp the dumbbells and sit on the edge of the bench before attempting to place your body on it. After that, lay on your back and keep your feet on the ground.
  • Raise the dumbbells in front of you. Flex your glutes to improve your stability and make it easier to drop the weights. Bring the weight down. But avoid bringing it over the shoulders.
  • Dig your shoulders into the pad, keep the wrists straight, and come down at 90 degrees angle, lowering the weight under the chest level.
  • Maintain some distance between the dumbbells and try not to bring them into touch with one another at the peak.

5. Straight Bar Dip 

A version of the chest dip, the straight bar dip, is an exercise that focuses on building strength in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. The straight bar dip presents a one-of-a-kind challenge by requiring a different hand position over the exercise.

How to do a straight bar dip:

  • Lift yourself onto the bar and lock your elbows, so the bar is level with your waist. 
  • Pronate both hands on the bar somewhat wider than your hips. Narrower grips concentrate more on the triceps, while broader grips target the chest.
  • Unlock your elbows and drop until your forearms are parallel to the floor. 
  • Before returning to the top, touch your chest to the bar.
  • Keep your glutes engaged, toes pointed forward, and legs together.


What are push-ups good for?

Push-ups are an efficient and quick way to gain muscle. The triceps, pectorals, and shoulders are all worked out with this exercise. They may help improve the lower back and core by stimulating the abdominal muscles when done correctly. 

What are the benefits of push-ups?

The primary benefit is strengthening your upper body. Also, regular push-ups practice improves your looks and makes your figure more sportive and toned. Some studies prove that push-ups enhance heart health.

How many pushups in a day is good?

The average daily push-up count is well over 300 for some individuals. If done correctly, 50 to 100 push-ups should be enough for the typical individual. Begin with 20 push-ups, continually increasing the number of reps you do.


Push-up is one of the best bodyweight strength exercises. Its effectiveness has been proven by the time and experiences of thousands of athletes worldwide. Many push-up alternatives make it suitable both for beginners and advanced sportsmen.