13 Best Bodyweight Push Exercises To Build Muscles

If you want to build your pecs, shoulders, triceps, and core without leaving your home or using weights, you can do bodyweight push exercises. I’ve shared various bodyweight pushing exercises in this article to help you build strength, muscles, and endurance, as well as improve your cardiovascular health.

Whether you’re male or female, you can integrate these exercises into your bodyweight workout routine to scale up your fitness level and improve your body composition.

Muscles Worked During Bodyweight Push Workout

Bodyweight push exercises bolster and tone multiple upper body muscles, particularly the chest, triceps, and shoulders. Let’s see a little about each muscle group.

Chest

The chest muscles include the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, and serratus anterior. These three muscles make up what is known as the “pectorals” or “chest. And you can strengthen these muscles with different push workouts, such as incline, decline, and flat pushups.

Shoulder

Shoulder muscles are made up of three different groups; anterior, middle, and posterior deltoid. Each group has its own function in shoulder movements.

Various push exercises, such as pike pushups and decline pushups target front delts. However, lateral and rear delts are difficult to train.

Triceps

The triceps muscle is a three-headed muscle located on the back of the upper arm. The muscles are known as the long, lateral, and medial head. You can strengthen these heads with push bodyweight exercises like triangle pushups and tricep extension pushups.

13 Bodyweight Push Exercises To Build Muscle and Strength

1. Incline Pushup

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment Needed
Beginner Upper Chest and Front DeltBench, Table, or Bed
Incline Pushup

Incline pushup is a simple and effective way to strengthen upper body muscles, particularly the chest and shoulder.

It also helps increase strength for performing standard pushups in case you struggle to perform the normal pushups on your toes.

How to do an incline pushup: Place your hands on a bench or table and get into an incline high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart, toes on the floor, and body straight from top to bottom. Bend your elbow and lower your torso until you feel the stretch in your pecs. Pause for a second and then push back until your arms are extended. That’s one rep.

Recommended reps and sets: 15 x 3

2. Standard Pushup

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
Beginner to Intermediate Chest, Front Delt, TricepsNone
Bodyweight Push Workout

The pushup is one of the most popular bodyweight exercises. It is a compound exercise that bolsters the chest, shoulders, and triceps and helps build strength and muscle mass in the upper body. It requires no equipment at all and is simple enough to be done anywhere, anytime.

How to do a basic pushup: Start in a high plank position with your arms straight below your shoulder, core tight, and body straight from head to heels. Then, bending your elbows, lower yourself until your chest touches the floor. Pause for a moment and then push up until your arms are straight.

Tips:

  1. Make sure your hips also go down as you lower your torso to perform pushups.
  2. Keep your head in a neutral position throughout the movement.
  3. Make sure you keep your elbows close to your body throughout this exercise; don’t let them flare outwards at any point during the movement.

Recommended reps and sets: 15 x 3

3. Decline Pushups

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
Intermediate Lower Chest and Front DeltBench or Chair
bodyweight push exercise

The decline pushup is more challenging than the standard one as it requires more balance and strength.

The difference between this and a regular pushup is that your feet are elevated on the bench, so you end up in a decline position. It allows you to work more on your lower pecs and shoulder as well as the core.

How to: Stand against a bench and place your feet on it and put your hands on the floor so your legs are elevated on the bench and your body straight from head to toe. Lower yourself down to the floor and then push back up with your hands until your arms are straight.

Recommended reps and sets: 12 x 3

4. Triangle Pushup

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
Intermediate Triceps and ChestNone

The triangle pushup is another excellent bodyweight push workout that hits the tricep and chest simultaneously and effectively and builds strength and mass.

It is found as the most effective exercise for activating all three heads of the triceps, showed in a study published by the American Council of Exercise (ACE).

It is also known as a diamond pushup because it requires you to place your hands in the diamond or triangle pushup.

How to do it: Start in a plank position with your hands together in a triangle shape. Keeping your back straight and abs tight, lower yourself down until your chest is close to the floor. Then, contracting your chest and triceps, press back up until your arms are entirely straight.

Recommended reps and sets: 12 x 3

5. Pike Pushup

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
Intermediate Shoulder and TricepNone

The pike pushup is a great exercise to build up your upper body strength. It helps improve shoulder strength and mobility as well as strengthen the triceps and abdomen.

How to do a pike pushup: Sitting on all fours, place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, and lift your knees off the floor and hips upward, so your body forms an inverted V position. Keeping your back straight and core, glutes, and thighs tight, lower yourself toward the floor between your hands until your head nearly touches the ground. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then contracting your shoulders, push back up until your elbows are extended.

Recommended reps and sets: 10 x 3

Note: If you’re a beginner, you can do pike pushups on your knees.

6. Tricep Dips

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
Beginner TricepAn elevated object
dips exercise at home

Tricep dip is one of the best bodyweight push exercises to do at home. It helps strengthen and tone triceps muscles as well as work on increasing strength and endurance.

It also engages your shoulder muscles and improves your pushing strength so you can perform other push workouts effectively.

This is suitable for every fitness enthusiast, whether you’re starting or have been working out for a while. You can include dips in your home workout program to forge your upper arms.

You can do tricep dips using a bench, table, chair, kitchen counter, or sofa, whichever is accessible.

How to do it: Sit on a bench or chair with your feet firmly on the floor and arms straight at your sides. Grip the edge of the bench with your hands and lift your butt off the floor. Keeping your arms straight, walk out a few steps. Bending your elbows, lower yourself until your glute is close to the floor. Now contracting your triceps, extend your arms.

Recommended reps and sets: 15 x 3

7. Bodyweight Tricep Extension

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
Intermediate TricepNone

If you want to target your tricep muscles specifically, you can try bodyweight tricep extensions. It requires you to extend your upper arms while lying in a forearm plank position. It also strengthens your forearms and improves your wrist mobility.

How to d it: Get into a plank position with your forearms on the ground, elbows beneath your shoulders, and hands below your face. Brace your abdominal muscles and maintain a neutral spine position. That’s the start. Now, pushing through your palms, extend your upper arms until you feel the contraction in your triceps. Lower them back and repeat.

Recommended reps and sets: 12 x 3

Tips: If you’re a beginner, you can do it on your knees instead of your toes.

8. Archer Push-up

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
IntermediateShoulder and ChestNone

The Archer pushup is an advanced bodyweight push workout that builds up strength in the upper body muscles, including the chest, shoulders, back, and abs. It also helps achieve better mobility and improves muscle coordination.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your arms straight and hands two times wider than your hip width, fingers pointing out.
  2. Keep your body aligned from top to bottom and brace your core.
  3. Bending your right elbow, lower your chest down and toward your hand until your shoulder is close to the ground and your other arm is fully extended.
  4. Pause for a moment return to the start and repeat on the opposite side to complete the first repetition.

Recommended reps and sets: 10 x 3

9. Plank to pushup

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
IntermediateUpper BodyNone

The plank to pushup is an incredible bodyweight exercise to build strength, muscle, and endurance all at the same time. This also helps improve your cardiovascular fitness and helps torch decent calories in a little time.

It bolsters the chest, shoulders, triceps, and abdominal muscles simultaneously and helps you achieve better fitness and physique.

How to do it:

  1. Assume a plank position with your forearms resting on the floor, elbows under your shoulders, and your toes supporting your lower body.
  2. Keep your forearms shoulder-width apart and maintain a neutral spine position.
  3. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, extend your arms alternatively until you’re in a high plank.
  4. Reverse the movement to return to the forearm plank. That’s one rep.

Recommended reps and sets: 10 x 3

10. Grappler pushup

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
IntermediateUpper BodyNone

Most likely you haven’t heard about grappler pushups. Grappler push is an excellent variation of a basic pushup that works out many muscles throughout the body, including the chest, core, and shoulder, and helps build up strength, endurance, mobility, and speed.

It is also a great exercise for raising your heart rate, annihilating significant calories, and maximizing your aerobic capacity.

How to do it: Perform a standard pushup and then lift your right hand and left leg off the floor and bring your elbow and knee close to each other and then return to the start. Repeat on the opposite side.

Recommended reps and sets: 10 x 3

11. Pushup Jack

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
IntermediateUpper BodyNone

Pushup Jack is a simple, fun, and effective exercise for developing the chest, core, and other muscles of your body. The goal of this exercise is to boost your cardiovascular fitness while developing strength and muscles.

How to: Start in a high plank position, perform a pushup and once you return in a high plank position, jump your feet out as far as possible. Jump back to return your feet to the start.

Recommended reps and sets: 10 x 3

12. Knee Tap Push-Up

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
IntermediateUpper BodyNone

The knee tap is an excellent exercise for scaling up your fitness level. It targets the chest, triceps, and core while improving your strength, mobility, stamina, and speed.

How to do it: Perform a basic pushup. Once you have done it, lift your hips up and tap your right knee with your left hand and left knee with your right hand, one at a time. That’s one rep. Repeat for the suggested reps and sets.

Recommended reps and sets: 10 x 3

13. Bodyweight Lateral Raise

Exercise LevelMuscle WorkedEquipment
IntermediateUpper BodyNone

The bodyweight lateral raise is an efficient way to work your shoulders and build up strength in your deltoids. It also strengthens your rotator cuff muscles and improves stability in your shoulder joint.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a plank position with your forearms on the floor and elbows under your shoulder.
  2. Keep your midsection engaged and maintain a flat back.
  3. Lift your right elbow off the floor and raise your torso to the right until your chest is visible from the side.
  4. Pause for a second and lower your forearm on the floor.
  5. Repeat the same steps with your opposite side.

Recommended reps and sets: Three sets of 10 reps each.

The Bottom Line

Bodyweight exercises are great for those who want to get into shape but don’t have the time or money to go to a gym or pay someone else to help them work out. You can work out your every muscle group using your own body weight, but this article includes specific bodyweight push exercises.

Bodyweight push workouts strengthen various upper body muscles, particularly the chest, triceps, and shoulders, and help build strength, muscle, and endurance.

Whether you’re male or female, you can incorporate these bodyweight exercises into your home workout routine to do on your push day.

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