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How to Do Push Ups and What Muscles They Work

How to Do Push Ups and What Muscles They Work

Work out your upper body with regular, decline & incline push ups.

Push ups or press ups is one of the most effective chest exercises you can do with no equipment. It can be done at different angles from decline to flat to incline push ups for your upper chest. The idea is to target and work all of your different chest muscles. This short article covers the basics on how to do push ups and what muscles do push ups work.

What muscles do push ups work

Push ups also known as press ups if you’re English like me primarily work the chest, shoulders and triceps muscles. Along with your core, neck, back, hips and legs to keep the body in alignment.

  • Decline push ups are great for the lower pecs.
  • Incline push ups for your upper cheat are also great for your deltoids (shoulders), triceps and upper chest.
  • Regular push ups will all focus on all of the different chest muscles, plus some shoulders and triceps.

Another bonus: The more muscles you work the more calories you burn!

How to do push ups

  1. Start in a plank position on your toes or knees with your core engaged and back in a neutral position.
  2. Bend your elbows until your chest or nose touches the floor keeping your back in a neutral position.
  3. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position.

Top of incline push up Eve Dawes WBFF Pro

Incline push up for upper chest starting position

Bottom position incline push up Eve Dawes

Incline push up for upper chest ending / mid rep position

Push Up Variations

You can make push ups easier or harder and change the muscles targeted by your foot and hand positions.

  • You can do this upper body exercise on your knees, on your toes or on 1 foot depending on your strength. On your knees is an easier version.
  • To target the chest and triceps use a wider grip.
  • For more focus on your triceps use a closer grip and keep your elbows in.
  • Incline push ups for upper chest: To target the shoulders and upper chest perform press ups with your hands on an incline.

1 leg push up starting positionTo target your core more, perform on one leg only and lift the other slightly.

Tips to get the most out of this exercise

  • Avoid injury by warming up with dynamic not static (held) stretches first and using correct form.
  • Remember to stay hydrated in the sun and on warmer days avoid working out during the hottest part of the day.
  • No equipment workout series: Starting with number 1! No Equipment Total Body Workout

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