Push-Ups Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

Push-Ups is a bodyweight exercise that works your abs, triceps, deltoids, pecs, forearm muscles and side deltoids.

Push-Ups is a great basic move. When done correctly, it can effectively target your arms, chest, core, forearms, shoulders, upper body, upper chest and waist.

It requires no equipment to do.


How to do Push-Ups


This is similar to a regular push-up, except that because of your narrower hand position, diamond push-ups target the triceps (back of your upper arms) more than the chest. Before you put your hands on the floor, set them up to the correct width by touching your thumbs together and your first fingers together, to make a triangle shape. Maintaining this shape, place your hands on the floor directly under your chest then step your feet back behind you and lift your knees. Engage your glutes, tense your legs and brace your core to keep your body rigid.

Keeping your elbows in towards your ribs and your forearms vertical, bend at the elbows to lower your body towards the floor. Your head and shoulders should move forwards of your hands as you get closer to the floor. Use your full range of motion to lower your chest in between your hands, as close to the floor as you can, then push your hands into the floor, keeping your body tensed, to move it up away from the floor back to the start position.

Watch out for elbows flaring out to the sides away from your ribs. They should always point back towards your feet. Another common mistake is to lower down without moving your head and shoulders forward of your hands. These mistakes can lead to injury so focus on quality of movement rather than quantity. If you can’t maintain quality in this movement, try some of the easier versions of this exercise to build up strength and technique first.

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do push-ups from this step-by-step illustrations:

Push-Ups 1
Push-Ups 2
Push-Ups 3
Push-Ups 4
Push-Ups 5
Push-Ups 6

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for push-ups may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for push-ups are:

Primary Muscles

  • Abs
  • Triceps
  • Deltoids
  • Pecs
  • Forearm Muscles
  • Side Deltoids

Synergyst Muscles

  • Traps

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Push-Ups work?
Push-Ups works abs, triceps, deltoids, pecs, forearm muscles, side deltoids.
What is Push-Ups good for?
Push-Ups is beneficial for conditioning and to strengthen. It works the best for arms, chest, core, forearms, shoulders, upper body, upper chest and waist, as it works abs, triceps, deltoids, pecs, forearm muscles, side deltoids. Push-Up is a great bodyweight exercise for men and women.
Is Push-Up a good exercise?
Push-Up is a popular bodyweight exercise for abs, triceps, deltoids, pecs, forearm muscles, side deltoids.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Push-Ups faster?

Push-Ups Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Push-Ups and how should you?

Push-Ups Standards and Averages


Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Push-Ups Alternatives


Wonder how to make Push-Ups either easier or more challenging?

Push-Ups Variations

Discover more