Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBodyweight
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Shoulders, Triceps
Target Muscle Group


Chest Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Push Up Overview

The push up is an exercise used to build the muscles of the chest. The shoulders and triceps will be indirectly involved as well.

The push up is an old school movement that nearly everyone has performed at one point or another in their lifetime. The exercise is extremely beneficial in not only building the chest but also promoting healthy shoulder stability.

You can include push up in your chest workouts, upper body workouts, push workouts, and full body workouts.

Push Up Instructions

  1. Assume a quadruped position on the floor with your hands under your shoulders, toes tucked, and knees under hips.
  2. Extend one leg at a time and assume a pushup position with the legs straight, elbows extended, and head in a neutral position looking at the floor.
  3. Slowly descend to the floor by retracting the shoulder blades and unlocking the elbows.
  4. Descend until the upper arms are parallel or your chest touches the floor.
  5. Push back to the starting point by extending the elbows and driving your palms into the floor.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Push Up Tips

  1. Your arms should resemble an arrow in the bottom position, not a “T”.
  2. Your spine should remain rigid throughout the entire exercise, think of the pushup as a moving plank.
  3. Squeeze your glutes and brace your abs before descending in order to keep the ribcage neutral.
  4. Keep the chin down and don’t look forward.
  5. Imagine you’re trying to push your thumbs together while completing the movement, this will improve activation of the pecs.
  6. Don’t allow the head to jut forward, the chest should touch at the same time as your nose.
  7. Think about trying to push yourself as far away from the floor as possible.
    • Ensure you push all the way through the floor at the top of the repetition and allow your shoulder blades to move around your ribcage.
    • Most folks cut the repetition short and don’t garner the full benefits as such.
Posted on: Wed, 03/20/2024 - 21:05

Should I replace this with decline smith machine benchpress or decline Dumbell bench press ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 03/26/2024 - 07:28

What program are you doing, and why do you want to replace it?

Posted on: Sun, 07/09/2023 - 09:14

Hello! The strength in my arms is quite low and I am not able to do push-ups no matter how hard I try. Is there an alternative to push-ups I can for Day 1 workout until I build up strength?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 07/22/2023 - 12:57

You can do partial pushups or pushups while standing and pushing against a wall. What equipment are you training with outside of bodyweight?

anna panna
Posted on: Mon, 01/24/2022 - 05:09

Hi. I find push ups really hard as if i have no strength in my arms. What exercises can i do so i can enjoy the pull ups and push ups? I cannot pin what is weaker my arms or my shoulders? Any advise is appreciated.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/25/2022 - 18:52

Hi, Anna. If you train in a gym, then perform lat pulldowns or assisted pullups on a machine instead of bodyweight pullups, Also, consider tricep pressdowns, which will help for the pushing strength. The bench press is great for chest, shoulders, and triceps as well. Make sure you perform these movements slowly so you can feel the muscles working. This will help you incorporate them when you decide to pursue doing pull ups and pushups again.

Posted on: Sat, 12/10/2022 - 12:30

The point of doing any physical workout is… that it is hard. This makes the body adapt; building strength (doing the same move isn’t as hard once the body adapts. That is the ‘point’ of exercise. Do a little that is a bit of a challenge. No need to stress yourself out or push so hard you damage your body. Just go past easy. a few times, then stop. Do it again the next day. Then do it again the next day… and the next day and the next day and so on. You’ll find within a few weeks… your push past easy will be further than when you started. Then, at that point push a little past easy again. It’s a slow process. But, for me (and common sense) is the most healthy way to do it.

Or, you can push far past easy, to the point of ‘can’t do any more’. Then skip a day, (do a different exercise). Then do it again. Keep going every other day. You’ll get quicker results. But, you’ll be sore basically every day for a long time. Sore is fine, ‘pain’ on the other hand… better to back off. Our bodies grow about as fast as a normal plant… slow and steady. Ain’t no get rich quick here.

Swanny boot neck
Posted on: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 19:14

During my time in the boots we were always to do pushups hands shoulder width appart chin up looking toward your misses blowing you kisses arms folding by your side body dropping to 3 inch from terrafirma.. (place a tennis ball under your chest)

Posted on: Sat, 05/25/2013 - 15:07

Site is good and useful but comments are hilarious :)

Posted on: Thu, 03/28/2013 - 19:22

its really really usefull....best for chest.

Posted on: Thu, 03/28/2013 - 19:20

thanks for advice sir, i like your website....its really useful for me....thank you very much sir.

Posted on: Mon, 09/03/2012 - 15:59

Will the push up be more affective when the body is at an incline (diagonally) with the head facing down?

Posted on: Tue, 02/12/2013 - 09:46

This puts more emphasis on the shoulders.

Posted on: Fri, 08/31/2012 - 11:55

Best sir jay cutler

Posted on: Sat, 08/25/2012 - 09:18

i like ur website

Posted on: Tue, 04/24/2012 - 00:15

nice advice

pardeep singh
Posted on: Wed, 04/11/2012 - 22:07

Best exercises 4 chest punp

Yogesh padalkar
Posted on: Sun, 03/11/2012 - 22:27