Upper Body Push Exercises

Best Upper Body Push Exercises (Techniques and Tips)

Incorporating effective push exercises into your routine is essential when building upper body strength. Push exercises target chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles, helping you develop overall upper body power and definition. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter looking to optimize your workout, understanding and incorporating these exercises can take your fitness journey to the next level.

Building a Strong Foundation with Upper Body Push Exercises

Pushing for Power:

To kickstart your upper body workout, focus on compound movements that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Exercises like bench presses, push-ups, and overhead presses are excellent choices to build strength and muscle mass effectively. These compound exercises target the primary muscles and engage stabilizer muscles, promoting overall muscle development and functional strength.

Form and Technique Matter:

While performing upper body push exercises, prioritize proper form and technique to maximize results and prevent injuries. Maintaining a stable core, engaging the muscles throughout the movement, and controlling the weight are crucial to executing push exercises safely and effectively. Start with lighter weights to master the form before progressing to heavier loads to avoid unnecessary strain on the joints and muscles.

Variety for Progression:

Incorporating various upper-body push exercises into your routine is key to preventing plateaus and continuously challenging your muscles for growth. Experiment with different variations of push-ups, such as wide grip, diamond, or decline push-ups, to target various muscle fibres and keep your workouts engaging. Additionally, incorporating unilateral exercises like the single-arm dumbbell or cable chest press can help address muscle imbalances and enhance stability.

Related Article: Pull Exercises for Upper Body

Mastering Upper Body Push Exercises: Techniques and Tips

Optimizing Performance with Proper Breathing:

Proper breathing technique is often overlooked but significantly enhances performance during upper-body push exercises. Inhale deeply during the movement’s eccentric (lowering) phase and exhale forcefully during the concentric (lifting) phase to stabilize the core and generate power. Maintaining a consistent breathing rhythm can help you lift heavier weights and sustain endurance throughout your workout.

Progressive Overload for Strength Gains:

Incorporate the principle of progressive overload into your training regimen to continually challenge your muscles and promote strength gains. Gradually increase the resistance, sets, or repetitions of your upper body push exercises over time to stimulate muscle growth and adaptation. Whether adding an extra plate to the barbell bench press or performing additional push-ups, progressive overload ensures that your muscles are constantly pushed beyond their current capacity, promoting continuous improvement.

Rest and Recovery for Optimal Results:

While consistency is key to progress in your upper body strength training, adequate rest and recovery are equally important. Allow your muscles at least 48 hours of rest between intense upper body workouts to repair and rebuild tissue damaged during exercise. Incorporating rest days into your routine, practising active recovery techniques such as foam rolling or stretching, and prioritizing quality sleep can optimize muscle recovery and prevent overtraining.

You may also read Exercises to Avoid with Tarlov Cysts.

List of Top 10 Push Exercises

Regarding upper body push exercises, various movements target different muscle groups in your chest, shoulders, and arms. Pushups, for instance, are a classic bodyweight exercise that engages multiple muscles, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps. They can be modified to suit different fitness levels and goals, making them versatile. Chest presses, whether performed with dumbbells, barbells, or on a machine, primarily work the chest muscles while also engaging the shoulders and triceps. Chest flies are another effective exercise targeting the chest muscles, particularly the pectoralis major.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of each exercise:

  1. Pushups: A classic bodyweight exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Begin in a plank position with hands shoulder-width apart, lower your body until your chest nearly touches the ground, then push back up to the starting position.
  2. Chest presses: These can be performed using dumbbells, barbells, or machines. Lie on a bench with weights in hand, lower the weights toward the chest, then push them back up to the starting position, engaging the chest muscles.
  3. Chest flies: Lie on a bench or stability ball with weights in hand arms extended upward. Lower the weights to the sides in a wide arc motion, feeling a stretch in the chest muscles, then bring them back together over the chest.
  4. Overhead presses: Stand or sit with weights in hand at shoulder height, palms facing forward. Press the weights overhead until the arms are fully extended, then lower them to shoulder height, targeting the shoulder muscles.
  5. Lateral raises: Stand with weights in hand at your sides, palms facing inward. Lift the weights to the sides until they reach shoulder height, then lower them back down, focusing on the lateral deltoid muscles.
  6. Bent arm lateral raises: These are similar to lateral raises but with a slight bend in the elbows. Lift the weights to the sides until they reach shoulder height, targeting the medial deltoids and upper back muscles.
  7. Front raises: Stand with weights in hand in front of your thighs, palms facing down. Lift the weights directly in front of you until they reach shoulder height, then lower them back down, focusing on the front deltoid muscles.
  8. Dips: Position yourself between parallel bars or use a bench. Lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground, then push back up to the starting position, engaging the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  9. Triceps extensions: Hold a weight overhead with both hands or behind your head with one hand. Lower the weight behind your head until your elbows are bent at 90 degrees, then extend your arms upward, targeting the triceps.
  10. Skull crushers: Lie on a bench with weights in hand and arms extended directly above your shoulders. Bend your elbows to lower the weights toward your forehead, then extend your arms back up, targeting the triceps while keeping the upper arms stationary.

Benefits of Upper Body Push Exercises


Improved Muscular Strength and Endurance

Upper-body push exercises target multiple muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, back, and triceps. Regularly performing these exercises can help improve muscular strength and endurance, making daily activities such as lifting groceries or children easier.

Enhanced Athletic Performance

Many sports and physical activities, such as basketball, football, and swimming, require strong pushing power. Incorporating upper-body push exercises into your workout routine can enhance your athletic performance and gain a competitive edge.

Better Posture and Core Stability

Stronger muscles in the upper body can help improve posture and core stability, reducing the risk of injuries and improving overall balance and coordination.


What is upper body push day?

Upper body push day is a workout session focused on exercises that involve pushing movements primarily targeting the muscles in the upper body, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It typically consists of push-ups, chest, shoulder, and triceps dips. The goal is strengthening and developing muscles involved in pushing actions while promoting muscle growth, endurance, and overall upper body strength.

Which of the following are upper body pushing exercises?

Upper body pushing exercises include:

  1. Push-ups
  2. Chest presses
  3. Chest flies
  4. Overhead presses
  5. Lateral raises
  6. Bent arm lateral raises
  7. Front raises
  8. Dips
  9. Triceps extensions
  10. Skull crushers

What muscles are used in upper body push?

Upper body push exercises primarily engage the following muscles:

  1. Chest (pectoralis major and minor)
  2. Shoulders (deltoids)
  3. Triceps brachii (back of the upper arm)
  4. Core muscles (to stabilize the body during movements like push-ups and overhead presses)

What is the best push exercise?

The best upper body push exercises include:

  1. Push-ups
  2. Bench press
  3. Overhead press
  4. Dumbbell chest press
  5. Triceps dips

These exercises effectively target various upper body muscles and can be tailored to different fitness levels and preferences.


Incorporating upper-body push exercises into your workout routine can have numerous benefits, from improved muscular strength and endurance to enhanced athletic performance and better posture. You can achieve a stronger, leaner, and healthier physique by mastering the top exercises discussed in this guide, such as push-ups, dumbbell chest presses, shoulder presses, tricep dips, and incline dumbbell presses. Always warm up before your workouts and practice proper form to prevent injury.

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