Push-Up: Muscles Worked & Technique

Push-up exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Push-Ups

Muscles worked in push-ups

Primary muscles worked:

Secondary muscles worked:

How to Do Push-Ups

  • Assume the starting position, with hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Try to form a straight line from head to feet, and brace your abdomen slightly.
  • Lower yourself as deep as you can, while inhaling.
  • Reverse the motion when you’ve touched the floor, and push yourself up to straight arms again while exhaling.
  • Repeat for reps.


The push-up is a classic bodyweight exercise for the upper body, with the benefit that you don’t need any equipment to perform it. In push-ups, you lift about 70% of your own body weight, but you can increase or decrease that amount by placing your feet or hands, respectively, on an elevation. In kneeling push-ups, you lift about 55% of your body weight.

You can also vary the exercise by placing your hands closer och wider apart, which will transfer more of the load to the triceps or chest, respectively.

A hidden bonus with push-ups is that you also get some static training of your core, similar to that of the plank exercise. To get even more core training, you can do your push-ups with either your hands or feet in a pair of suspended gymnastic rings or similar.

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Text and graphics from the StrengthLog app.