Push exercises are a crucial part of any upper body workout. Pushing exercises are suitable for your upper body (chest, shoulders, and triceps). You can spend an entire day focusing on these muscle groups and then switch to your legs, biceps, and back again on another day.
This article will discuss the best push exercises that you can do at the gym or home.
We will cover proper form and other details. This article will help you to understand what exercises you should do when you want to target your chest, triceps, shoulder muscles, or if you are doing an all-around push-up.
Push exercises training is easy. It is simple. You’ll see a significant improvement in your performance if you lift more weight (e.g., perform more reps or increase intensity (lift heavier weight).
There are specific exercises that you should consider in your main course and others that you shouldn’t.
Many of the ways we view training today are influenced by years of bodybuilding-dominated media. To maximize muscle development, bodybuilders must hit their bodies from all angles.
Because so much of the data we read about fitness comes from bodybuilding, it is easy to end up with an overwhelming number of exercises when we only consider strength training.
The exercise list is as easy as this:
- Upper push
- Upper pull
- Hip dominant movement (hinge).
- Quad dominant movement (squat).
- Split the stance
It is easy to create training plans if you only have six options. Select an upper and lower movement, then add core to your training plan. Select the opposite upper activity, a different lower body type, and then finish with the center. It’s that simple.
Training in this manner is not for everyone. Barbell back squat is a better option for quad-dominant than leg extensions.
Both can be quad dominant, but the ones that will increase muscle size, strength, and performance are better than the other. The other, however, seems to be a way to hurt your knees.
How do you choose which exercises to use?
Let’s start by looking at the best push exercises. Let’s not forget about the three main training tools: kettlebells, barbells, and bodyweight. There is no single best exercise option. You can do them all together at different times.
Here are some of my favorite push exercises for each tool.
1. Dumbbell fly
Fly means that you should be “flagging” your arms like a bird. Although the concept is genuine, it is challenging to learn the correct form of a fly. These are the steps to perform a dumbbell fly.
- Place your back flat on a table and grab two dumbbells of lighter weight.
- Place the palms so that they are right next to one another. You will need to be careful that they don’t touch each other.
- In a controlled motion, spread your arms out. You’ll feel a little stretch in your chest when you lower them.
- Keep your arms parallel to your chest by lowering your lower extremities. As you do this, inhale.
- As you raise your arms into the same pot, keep your shoulders tight. You should ensure that the weights don’t clang together. It indicates that you have lost control.
Most people who make dumbbell fly mistakes tend to overextend their arms or put too much weight on the dumbbells. Focus on your movement, especially when your dumbbells reach their maximum motion.
You may also like: 35 Best rear delt exercises
2. Bench dip
A bench dip is an excellent option if your body cannot handle regular dips. This exercise allows your triceps the opportunity to make use of your body weight. This exercise can be done at home.
These guidelines will show you how to do it.
- Place your face away from the bench, and pretend that you are about to sit on it. Straighten your legs and place both of your hands on the bench.
- Your feet should touch the floor, and your butt will be in the air.
- Your arm should be at 90 degrees. Use your triceps to lift yourself back into the original position.
Standard Dips (Harder).
Standard dips use special machines that are only available at a gym. Although you can find similar equipment in schoolyards, many of these items are not designed to lift people.
You may also like: Dips exercise: How to do dips at home?
3. Pec deck
When done correctly, the pec deck machine or the seated lever flying is an excellent way of engaging your chest. Overdoing it with weight is the biggest mistake in isolating exercises. Instead, be specific about your form and follow these instructions.
- Adjust the settings of your machine and seat to ensure you are comfortable. You should ensure that your arm pads are at chest level.
- If you are just starting, adjust the weight.
- Hold the handles in your hands and place your arms on the pads.
- Keep your arms straight and your hands together. As you do this, inhale.
- After a few seconds, slowly return to your original position. As you do this, exhale.
You can also find cable versions of this machine at most gyms. This machine can be used in many systems. However, you will need to purchase a specialized unit if you can use the resistance bands creatively.
You may also like: Lower Chest Workout: 11 Best lower chest workout at home
4. Overhead shoulder press
Our next stop in shoulder exercises is the overhead shoulder press. The same bar is used for benching. Instead of raising the bar above your chest, raise it behind you. It will also help your upper back.
This Smith machine can be used to help with form. The Smith machines can be controlled by long bars connected to a chain that guides them up or down. These machines cannot be removed, and they are permanently fixed, so you will need to maintain your form.
No matter your method of doing this, these are the instructions for performing an overhead shoulder press.
- Place the bar on your chest by lifting it. You don’t want the bar to touch your chin!
- Make sure your wrists are comfortable and your hands are at shoulder length.
- In a controlled motion, raise your arms high in the air. As you do this, inhale.
- Slowly lower the bar. As you do this, keep your chest up. As the bar falls, exhale.
Good posture is vital for this exercise. It applies primarily to your hips, back and shoulders. You can likewise do this workout by using dumbbell lifts. A dumbbell workout ensures that you work both sides of your body. It allows you to test how effective your standard shoulder presses are.
Overhead Press vs. Military Press
Although it is often confusing, the overhead press can be more straightforward than the military press. It gives you a hint of what you can expect if you look at how soldiers stand at attention.
- Your heels are closer together.
- The hips and quads of your hips and quads should be extended.
- Your arms and shoulders can be moved only.
Military presses place more importance on maintaining a stable core. Although there is excellent build potential, it is not for those who just started the overhead press. A military press is a great place to start if you’re looking for more challenges.
5. Dumbbell lateral raise
A dumbbell lateral lift is a great exercise to increase your strength and mobility. This workout isn’t meant to be done with heavyweights. You should instead focus on lighter weights and specific movements.
You can reduce your weight if you notice that your body is becoming abnormally sore after this exercise. If you are not satisfied with your body, consult an expert. These are the steps to follow:
- Two lighter weights should be held on each side of your body. Place your palms comfortably in front of your core.
- To reach shoulder height, lift your arms into a T-pose. This exercise is not effective if your wrists rise above your elbows. As you do this, inhale.
- Slowly lower the weights to one side of your body. Make sure they don’t touch your body. As you lower the weights, exhale.
If you can engage your core, this exercise will provide an excellent opportunity for it. It is a very focused exercise, so you should combine it with other isolations to ensure that your body receives the best care.
6. Cable Tricep pushdown
Most gyms have a cable machine. Several of these exercises can be done with a cable machine. It can also be done with a resistance band.
To ensure that you are comfortable before you start, make sure to check the machine. You will typically face the device and grab onto the rope, cable, or bar. The pin must be at an appropriate weight. Start low if you’re not sure where to start.
Once you have accomplished a healthy weight, it is time to pay attention to your form.
- Retain your core tight and your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your elbows near your ribcage.
- Push the machine down until your elbows are extended. As you push your triceps, keep your core engaged and your elbows straight. As you do this, breathe in.
- Inhale and return to your original position. To work your triceps, keep them in a controlled and firm motion.
This workout can be challenging if you’re trying to do it at home. If you have a resistance band or pull-up bars, place yourself under the bar to connect the resistance band. It’s very similar. Make sure the resistance band is tight.
7. Bench press (for your chest, shoulders, and triceps)
Another way to strengthen your chest and triceps is the bench press. Although this exercise is famous for its bragging rights, the first thing you should do is to maintain proper form. Poor form during a bench press can cause injury, especially when you are lifting heavier weights.
This guide will help you ensure that you’re following the correct form of bench pressing.
- Place your back flat on the bench.
- Ensure to be at eye level with the bar.
- The bar can be marked with different grip width options.
- Make sure your thumbs are also wrapped around the bar.
- The middle option should be your best choice.
- Straighten out your arms so that the bar is lifted. At this point, inhale.
- Place the bar at chest level
- Gradually lower the bar until your elbows reach 75 degrees.
- Keep pushing the bar up until your arms straighten again. Inhale and push the bar up.
- Place the bar so that it is in its original position.
- Your butt should remain on the bench and your arms vertical.
Many people come to the gym with a single goal in mind: get the most bench press. Although that is a great goal to achieve, bench pressing can be done for endurance. To bench press for endurance, increase the reps and reduce the speed.
Close Grip vs. Wide Grip Bench Press
By shifting the location of your hands, you can change the focus of your bench press workout. Close-grip presses are more focused on the strength of your triceps, placing more pressure on this muscle group. The pec muscles are more prominent in a wide grip bench press. The “middle grip bench press” is the best option until you are comfortable with the standard form.
What is the difference between flat and incline bench presses?
For developing your upper pectoral muscles, incline bench presses work better. Because the exercise is more similar to a shoulder press, you will also use your shoulders more. Only one requirement is that you raise your benching equipment at an angle. This position is ideal for the incline dumbbell fly, which we will be discussing later.
How to do bench press without a spotter?
It’s great to go on a workout with your friends, but it can be challenging to do so when your friends are unavailable. With that in mind, can you bench press safely without the help of a spotter?
Yes, the answer is yes. Keep these things in mind:
- You can grip the bar by moving your thumbs so that you have some control of the bar’s descent into your chest.
- Always ensure that your gym has safe arms if you have a bench.
- Collared weights will not shift as you lift them. You can also tilt your body to help you lose weight by not wearing collars. Weights shouldn’t naturally slide off your bar if you follow good form.
You may also like: Deadlift Workout: Benefits and variations to lose weight
8. Overhead Tricep extension
These are the compound workouts. Now we are able to move on to the more targeted exercises once we have completed those. It will begin with an overhead tricep extension.
Follow these instructions to perform this exercise:
- This workout can be done standing on a bench or by putting your feet shoulder-length apart.
- While holding a dumbbell or any other weight above your head, keep your core engaged.
- Slowly lose weight. Make sure your biceps aren’t helping the movement. As you do this, inhale.
- You should lift the weight to extend your arms fully, but not too far. As you do this, exhale.
This exercise focuses on your triceps as the only part of your body that moves. This workout is not meant to be done if you move your biceps or any other aspect of your body.
Do not continue if it is starting to hurt. This exercise can be an essential part of your daily routine if you listen to your body.
9. Push-ups for your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
When done correctly, push-ups can be one of the most efficient workouts. Many people don’t have the correct form for their workout. Poor conditions can cause ineffective workouts. It can even lead to serious injury.
These steps will help you do a push-up right.
- Place your stomach and chest against the ground, with your legs straight ahead.
- Make sure your arms are parallel to your chest.
- Exhale as you push your hands up and hold your feet steady.
- For a few seconds, keep your body in the plank position.
- As your body returns to its original position, inhale.
When doing this exercise, people tend to have their butts too high. It can reduce the effectiveness of the training by not dropping their arms to the full 45 degrees. Flatback is the key to a successful push-up.
Push-ups on a yoga pad are another option if you’re looking for comfort.
What if I can’t do a standard pushup?
We all need to start somewhere if we are having trouble maintaining our form after just one pushup. These beginner-friendly modifications can help you solve this problem.
Push up on your knees
You can follow the same steps as before, but your knees should be on the floor. Your elbows should bend at 45 degrees. To get started, try to complete a set of ten.
Push up on an Incline
An incline is an excellent alternative to push-ups if your knees are hurting from an injury. You will need a chair or table that is relatively small to support your body.
Make sure the floor is not slippery. Keep your back straight while keeping your arms bent at 45 degrees.
Push-ups can be made more difficult by adding a few extra weights. These are some challenging push-up variations that will make your at-home workouts more effective.
10. The Best Barbell Pushing Exercise
When it derives to increasing strength and size, the barbells are the best. Barbells have a downside: you need to be able to use them often and have good posture.
People complaining about their shoulders often use barbell pressing options, even though they may have limited mobility.
The barbell military press is a fabulous exercise that hardly gets enough attention. This exercise is excellent for upper-body pushing and can be done standing. It means that you can get all sorts of additional benefits, such as lower back activation, glute, or ab,
However, keeping your hands on the bar can pose a problem for some people. It can also cause shoulder problems.
Although it is similar to the handstand pushup in many aspects, it has a slight disadvantage due to the open-chain nature and the closed nature of handstand press-ups. It’s good exercise, but it is not great.
The barbell bench press is the most famous lift for upper-body push exercises. The barbell bench press is known for its ability to destroy shoulders and elbows. It also doesn’t require the core because you are lying down.
It can be viewed as either a plus or a negative and allows you to lift heavier weights and develop your pushing power without distractions. However, standing is not an excellent way to learn force.
It is not the best option in this fight.
The push press is the winner of the barbell presses exercise. The push press requires less skill and training than the split-jerk, but it is just as easy on the joints as the kettlebell jerk.
Push pressing allows you to lift more weight and is safer than traditional training methods. It also teaches your body how to be strong, which many people who only train slow and heavy cannot do.
11. The Best Kettlebell Pushing Exercise
A kettlebell press is an excellent exercise. However, pressing heavy kettlebells can cause shoulder pain as it pulls you into external rotation.
It’s not an overemphasis for me to say that most people who spend a lot of their time kettlebell pressing have the worst shoulders of anyone I know.
But if you increase the volume or intensity, you’ll find that shoulder problem occurs sooner than you think.
We need a drill that feels the same as the heavy press and exerts the same effort without putting the AC joint under too much strain. The bottoms-up presses (BUP) are here to help.
I’m now going to do the kettlebell jerk. This lift is a favorite of mine. Because it is ballistic, the AC joint does not feel stress. It also transforms pressing into an athletic act that expresses athleticism like strict pressing.
Double jerks require a lot of ankles and thoracic mobility. This degree of upper back flexibility may be difficult for many people, but it will open many physical possibilities. You will be amazed at the strength endurance that you can attain if you do extended sets.
Push-up workout at home
- Chair Dips: 3 sets of 20 reps
- Decline Push-Ups: 3 sets of x 15-20 reps
- Handstand on the Wall: 3 sets max
- Pike Press: 3 sets of x 10-15 reps
- Push-ups: 3 sets of x 15-20 reps
Push your workout to the gym
These exercises can be used to give you a great push exercises at the gym.
- Bench Press: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Flat Bench Flys: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- Lateral raise: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- Dips: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Overhead Press: 3 sets, x 10-12 reps
- Push-ups: 3 sets max reps
This pushing workout will help you get solid and significant!
Switch things up on the next push day (if you’re doing two push exercises per week, which is ideal to do a Push-Pull routine),
- Bench Dips: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Cable Flyes: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Incline Push-Ups: 3 sets max reps
- Smith Machine Overhead Press: 3 sets x 10-12 Reps
These are my top three suggestions for an excellent pushing workout. I’d structure as follows:
- Handstand pushups: These require the most focus and skill, so they should be done first. Do 3-5 sets of 1-3 reps.
- To achieve the most incredible combination of strength and muscle size, you should do 4-6 sets of 5-8 reps of barbell push press.
- Do extended sets of 1-2 minute jerks with the kettlebell. You can do 5-10 minutes worth of lice.
Push exercises are best when you keep good form. You should focus on the shoulders, triceps, and chest.
Sometimes you might end up working your upper back. It is a good idea to try to squeeze as many compound exercises as you can into one movement.
Push exercises can also be used to isolate specific zones. These are the best isolating exercises to help you make real gains. Push exercises should be a crucial part of any full-body workout.