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What Muscles Do Push-Ups Work?

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

The best part about workout sessions is that you can tailor them to your needs, and this is why people have so many different fitness regimens. A lot of this depends on the outcome you expect to get from your workouts. It is best to have a diverse range of exercise routines to help strengthen your body.

Push-ups are an essential part of any exercise routine, and this is something that you need to make sure you are getting right. For the best way to approach push-ups, you need to understand what muscle groups they work. Push-ups are a simple form of exercise, but they can be a valuable part of your workout. There are many different muscles you use to perform this exercise, and modified push-ups can work even more.

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Standard Push-Up

The standard push-up is what most people think of when it comes to push-ups. They are the most common type of push-up you will encounter or perform. They are essential for working the muscles at the top of the body, most notably the chest muscles. To perform this exercise, Put your feet together and your palms flat on the ground, lined up with your shoulders. Do several reps here until you get comfortable and feel like moving on to a different version.

Kneeling Push-Up

If you find yourself struggling with the regular version, you can try a kneeling push-up, which represents a more relaxed exercise with a similar outcome. You can use your knees for this one, or do a push-up against a wall. Switching things up until you feel comfortable with the technique is a good idea. It will give you a chance to build up some core muscles so that you can move on to other methods.

Wide Push-Up

If you are comfortable with the regular push-ups, consider trying this version. It is very similar to what you are already familiar with, except that you position your hands further apart. Doing so will work your shoulder muscles even more. Some prefer wider push-ups as they can sometimes help take more of the weight load, and can be easier to perform.

Triangle Push-Up

Also known as a narrow push-up, these can be one of the more challenging positions. With a triangle push-up, you need to have one hand on top of the other to form a triangle shape. This is one of the best exercises when it comes to working on your triceps and chest muscles. When regular push-ups aren’t too challenging anymore, these are a great next step.

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Decline Push-Up

The decline push-up involves having your feet in an elevated position, such as on a bench or box, and then performing the motions like you usually would. The benefits of this kind of push-up are that you get to produce more force, which makes it ideal for those who want to have a more intense workout. This method works out the chest and shoulder muscles aggressively.

Pike Push-Up

By taking a downward dog yoga position, with your hands placed slightly farther apart, you can start this modification. These are a great way of helping to improve and strengthen your core and work on improving the shoulder muscles. This is a more unusual push-up, and it may look odd as well, but you will find it to be a very concise way of building up the strength in your core and shoulder muscles.

Staggered Push-Up

The staggered push-up is a more complicated, but extremely effective method. These are performed by leaving one hand in the original position and moving the other arm further back. It’s great for building up core muscles.

Clap Push-Up

You should be extremely comfortable with the other push-up positions before attempting the clap push-up. These are mostly regular push-ups, but you want to get your hands off the floor and clap them together each time you start coming back up. It’s harder than it sounds!

Push-ups are a great exercise to implement into your routine. They are great at working your back, shoulder, and core muscles, along with your triceps and biceps.

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