Push-up Exercises

Guide 2 Muscle Gain   >   Exercises   >   Push-up

Push-up Exercises

Push-ups (also known as "press-ups") are a well-known exercise that targets the deltoids, pectorals, and triceps.

To perform the push-up your lie towards the ground, with your palms on the ground, and then raise and lower your body (which is kept rigid) by flexing your elbows.

Side view of a push-up:

There are many variations on the basic push-up. Some of the more common variants include:
  • Full push-up ("common push-up") - the standard push-up, as shown above - legs are held straight and off the floor

  • Backhanded push-up - performed using the back of your hands rather than palms

  • Diamond push-up - bringing the thumbs and index fingers together under the body, with your elbows pointed towards your knees (emphasizes triceps and shoulders)

  • Guillotine push-up - performed from an elevated position so that the head, neck, and chest are lowered past the plane of the hands - emphasizes the shoulders

  • Hindu push-up - your hands and feet start on the ground about a shoulder-width apart, you lower your head and chest by bending your elbows, but then swoop so that your head and chest are raised but your knees and hips almost touch the ground

  • Knuckle push-up - resting on your knuckles rather than your palms - often used by martial arts practitioners and boxers

  • Maltese push-up - hands are positioned near your hips and widely spread

  • One arm push-up - push-ups using just one arm at a time

  • Planche push-up - a difficult variation where you feet do not touch the floor - you just your hands (known as the "planche position" in yoga)

  • Plyometric push-ups - these are push-ups where you push quickly and with enough force to take both hands off the ground. There are many variants including clapping, pushing completely off the ground ("Aztec push-ups), yourself to a standing position, or rotating your body through 360 degrees during each push-up!

  • Raising your feet - placing your feet on an elevated surface (emphasizes upperpectorals)

  • Raising your hands - placing your hands on an elevated surface (emphasizes lower pectorals)
The push-up is recommended for the following muscle groups:
  • Deltoids
    The muscles which form the rounded contour of your shoulder.

  • Pectorals
    The muscles of your chest.

  • Triceps
    The muscles on the rear of your upper arm.
The push-up can also contribute to training:
  • Abdominals
    The muscles around your abdomen ("abs").


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