What muscles do push-ups exercise

Several muscles in the arms and core are activated when you train push-ups. Learn more about what muscles the push-ups exercise.

What muscles do push-ups exercise

The chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles engage the most, but push-ups also strengthen the abs, back stabilizers, and thighs.

Muscles used for push-ups

Doing push-ups, you feel your arms and chest work. The primary muscles used in push-ups are:

Pectoralis Major: This fan-shaped muscle forms the chest wall. It has a stern or lower part most activated during a push-up. The upper area, which is close to the collarbone, also works during a push-up, but to a lesser extent. Muscular pecs help you throw and push actions.

Triceps Brachii: The triceps is a muscle located at the back of the upper arm. The primary function is to lengthen the elbow joint.

Anterior Deltoids: The anterior deltoids are located on the front of the shoulder. This muscle supports the action of the pectoralis major. The front deltoids also help you lift your arms in front of you.

Muscles that stabilize

Biceps: This biceps muscle supports the arm when the triceps is activated. The shorter head is what works during push-ups.

Rectus Abdominis: This is a broad and long muscle that covers the front of the upper body and, when toned, is responsible for the six-pack appearance. During a push-up, the rectus abdominis intervenes as you squeeze it to keep the body straight.

Obliques: These abdominal muscles are on the sides of the waist and are responsible for lateral flexion and rotation. During push-ups, they are activated to prevent twisting and another unwanted upper body movement.

Quadriceps: The quadriceps also intervene to keep the body straight, supporting lifted legs and toes with roots on the floor.

Erector Spinae: This muscle operates in conjunction with the rectus abdominis and obliquely to stiff the back.

How to do push-ups

Push-up is a complex exercise, as it activates several joints. Your body must work in symmetry, making it one of the most functional exercises you can do. Remember that when doing a push-up to use the proper technique. Your hands are lying on the floor a shoulder-width apart with your hands flat. 

Keep your abdomen stable and straight when you push up and down, which means no twisting the hips or dropping into the lower back. If you find it too difficult to lower your chest to the floor without relaxing, you can quickly put your knees on the mat to build the original strength.

Add some variety

The way you do push-ups affects how much activation each of the primary muscles gets. Try these variations to introduce more challenges:

Push-ups with incline: This exercise is usually a little easier than a standard push-up, especially if you choose a steeper incline. This move will work the sternal part of the pectoralis muscle most.

Push-ups with the legs raised: Place your feet on a box or weight bench to place more weight on the anterior deltoids and upper, or clavicular, pectoralis major.

Diamond push-ups: When you hold your hands close together under the chest and squeeze the elbows towards the upper body when you press up and down, the triceps brachii gets more activation.

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