What Muscles Do Push Ups Work? – 10 Different Pumps

what muscles do push ups work

Pumps muscles the chest, the triceps, past clusters of cottonwood and large jagged. Some variants, such as submerged push-ups, also strengthen the rhomboids and forces that are beneficial for straightening the back. Today we will talk about what muscles do push ups work.

Push-up is the essential strength exercise included in all home strength training programs at bodyweight, such as our Crossfit upper body program. You can do Push-ups anywhere. So let’s know more about what muscles do push ups work.

What muscles do push ups work?

Push-ups in bodybuilding are most often carried out at bodyweight, therefore without added load (such as a weighted vest, for example) and, possibly, on a simple floor mat. The starting position is the straight arm sheathing position. From this maintenance, the best way to do classic push-ups follows the following procedure:

  • stand on the feet and hands facing the ground,
  • keep the legs and arms straight,
  • space the hand’s shoulder-width apart,
  • keep the feet about 20 cm apart
  • starting position in facial support to do a push-up

The following two actions then carry out:

1. Inhale and flex the arms to bring the rib cage close to the ground, at about 10 cm, without digging the lumbar region. A preliminary work of static abdominal musculation makes it possible to better feel this position with the right body without arching without having the buttocks pointing upward.

2. Push until the arms are fully extended, always keeping the body well sheathed and straight to regain the starting position in the face plank. Breathe out profoundly at the end of the movement. Tucking the stomach under the navel to strengthen the deep abdominal muscles as much as possible.

The duration of a single pump’s execution varies according to the explosiveness of the muscular contraction and the extent of fatigue. Still, on average and at a regular tempo. Without stopping in the low position with the arms flexed, this time estimates to be one second for a series of 10 push-ups performed without downtime. With the pectorals, the serratus anterior muscle. It is also called upon to do push-ups. Because it maintains, by its contraction, the scapula on the rib cage, it is securing the bust’s arms.

10 different pumps: what muscles do push ups work?

1. Tilt of the bust

By varying the inclination of the figure. We focus on the work of muscle-building of the pectorals on the top of the pectorals. The clavicular bundle of the pectoralis major and the anterior bundles of the deltoids. If we have the feet raised on the bottom of the pectoralis major, the support manuals elevate.

Tilting push-ups and muscle building of the pecs

Unlike push-ups resting on the knees, push-ups with raised feet increase the difficulty to limit the number of repetitions. And you can do that, for example, if the goal is to gain mass. It is preferable only to do a series of 10 repetitions at most. The ideal is to use a gym ball because the increased instability compared to a simple weight bench causes more muscles to participate in the exercise.

Raised feet pump with a gym ball

Pump on football – instability caused by pressing the ball increases the difficulty of the exercise.

The bust’s inclination even more marked with three other variants presented below: the plunge push-ups, the vertical push-ups with raised feet, and the hand-stand-push-ups.

2. Distance between manual supports

The spacing of the manual supports has a consequence on the force’s distribution at the level of the pectorals, the triceps, and the large serrations.

Push-ups with hands apart

By having the hands apart, it reduces the pectorals’ contraction. Because, in this position, it is more challenging to bring the shoulders together. On the other hand, the effort of final stabilization and repulsion at the level of the shoulders with the round back and the arms outstretched in full extension is favorable to the work of large serrated.

Push-ups with close hands or diamond push-ups

With the hands brought together so that the thumbs and forefingers touch each other, the triceps and pectorals fully solicited, highlighting the inter-pectoral groove. These are the diamond pumps.

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3. Orientation of the arms

The separation of the arms from the bust changes the relative amount of work done by the pecs and triceps. When doing push-ups with the arms outstretched, forming an angle of 45 ° with the chest, the pectorals provide the most significant amount of work. If the components are tight, almost glued to the bust, then the triceps are particularly stressed. Beyond 45 ° and especially 90 °, that is to say, when the arms and the bust form a T, the elbow and shoulder joints are in an anatomically unusual position. There is then a significant risk of injury.

influence of the position of the arms in the performance of push-ups in weight training

4. Classic and alternating pop-ups

Jump push-ups require explosive muscle qualities. The eccentric (the descent) and concentric (the rise) phases of the movement alternate without stopping time. With this springtime, the jump push-ups constitute an ideal plyometric exercise to increase the arms’ explosive force, for example, in the punch in boxing. They can do it by resting on the feet or the knees.

Plyometric pumps on the knees

The thigh-bust alignment is permanent during the push-up on the knees. Knee pads will facilitate the exercise.

Suppose we precede them with a bench press with a heavy bar. In that case, we obtain an excellent combination for working in load contrast with the upper body’s explosive power, especially the pectorals and triceps.

Work in load contrast: bench press and jump pump

It is very profitable to use a well-inflated ball of a large enough diameter ( basketball, football, or rugby) to increase the difficulty and do alternate jump push-ups with reduced and unstable support.

Starting position: One hand is on the ball, the other on the ground.

1st action: There is first a vertical and oblique thrust (extension of the arms); at the high point, change of supports.

2nd action: Descent and ascent (flexion-extension of the arms) and a new change of support

Alternate jump push-ups on a ball for bodyweight training

The work in plyometrics, for again in power and explosiveness, and the stabilizing annex muscles’ participation, characteristic of a bodyweight exercise, are entirely sufficient by doing alternate jump push-ups. The alternate jump push-ups are part of the bodyweight program that can download from the site.

5. Lightweight pumps

To reduce the difficulty, especially if you are overweight or new to bodybuilding, you have the choice between doing inclined push-ups with the palms of the hands against a wall or by resting on the knees.

  • Pump tilted facing a wall to strengthen the triceps
  • Push-ups on the knees move less mass with each movement.
  • knee-pump weight training
  • Knee push-ups are part of the circuit training strength program for toning.
  • tonicity program in circuit-training without equipment

6. Spiderman push-up or Spider pumps

Spider pump or spiderman push-up to also solicit the oblique abs. During the spider pump’s downward phase, it is a question of simultaneously bending the arms and one leg, trying to bring the knee as close as possible to the shoulder. Each time you flex your arms, you have to change the flexing portion. This exercise strengthens the arms, pecs, shoulders, and also the oblique abdominals. Before performing the complete workout, we can start by soliciting only the oblique abs while supporting on the elbows.

  • Spiderman pump for oblique arms and abs
  • Preparatory exercise on the elbows to solicit only the oblique abs

7. T-shaped pumps lateral torso rotation

T-pumps with torso rotation at the end of the arms’ extension increase the work of lateral sheathing and put more strain on the posterior deltoid bundles, the muscles of the shoulder, and the back muscles. You can complicate the exercise by placing yourself in manual support on dumbbells. They are useful to facilitate the clearance and increase the muscular effort’s intensity during the bust’s rotation.

  • T-pumps with torso rotation at the end of the push
  • T-pump with lateral rotation
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8. Inchworms to muscles do push ups work

This variation requires an adequate level of flexibility in the hips and hamstrings. It consists of moving from the standing station to the ground in full arm flexion and then returning to the upright station. The instructions are as follows:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, lean forward, and place hands on the floor.

2. While keeping the hips relatively high and trying to maintain slight flexion of the knees (you will feel the hamstrings stretch), alternately move the hands forward until you are in a plank position. facial.

3. From the plank pose, perform a push-up, then move your hands back, bringing them closer to your feet to return to the same hip and knee angles as you had before.

After doing the push-up, it is also possible to advance one foot alternately then the other instead of bringing the hands back to find the position with the bust tilted so that we offer a little with each movement. This slow undulation of the body while moving forward evokes the caterpillar’s displacement, hence the name inchworms given to this pump.

9. Burpee with pump and jump traction

The burpee with a pump is a full body weight exercise because it works the calves, quads, glutes, abdominals, pecs, deltoids, and triceps in the same action. Applying the biceps and back muscles is enough to place yourself under a bar when doing a series of burpees and follow the vertical jump with a pull-up.

  • bodyweight burpee exercise
  • Pump between the armrest and the vertical jump of the burpee

10. Hand muscles do push ups work or HRPU

The Hand Release Push Up is a push up (a pump) during which the hands are held in the air (release) for a moment at the end of the arms’ flexion before starting the extension and the return to the sheathing position.

Hand release push up with raising hands at the end of the flexion of the arms

FAQ of what muscles do push ups work

1. How to quickly build the pectorals?

Also, the pecs evoke masculinity, and the bench presses the power and illustration of strength in its purest form. For some people, building up their pectorals is relatively straightforward, and a few sets of bench press and push-ups are enough for them to achieve profitable muscle growth.

2. What product to build muscle quickly?

Therefore, whey is a protein very concentrated in amino acids, very pure and very digestible, ideal for muscle building, lean, and mass gain. 

3. What sport to firm the chest?

The pumps

This exercise is undoubtedly one of the most important for building the pectorals and therefore firming the breasts. If you are not used to push-ups, you can put your knees on the floor. Spread your arms well, and when you go down, the whole body must go down at the same time.

4. How to work the chest?

The top for building pectoral muscles and improving chest tone. The exercise: lying on the floor, legs bent, a dumbbell in each hand, arms at the sides. Bring your arms back above your chest and then bring them back to the starting position. Perform four sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.

Conclusion of what muscles do push ups work

The load to be moved for conventional pumps cannot vary unless you equip yourself with a weighted vest or a backpack. According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, it is always equal to about 60% to 68% of body weight. Stocky builds are at a disadvantage as in all bodyweight exercises. According to each person’s morphology. 

The variations within this 60% -68% range are due to the different weight distribution. To know this percentage very precisely, you can put your hand on manual support, with your hands on a scale. 

From the classic pumps, there are many variations by modifying. The inclination of the bust but still maintaining the same motor action of flexion-extension of the arms while resisting gravity. 


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