Are you looking to build bicep strength and definition? Look no further than the simple push-up exercise. The push-up is a powerful exercise that targets your chest and shoulder muscles while also working your biceps, triceps, and core, often going unnoticed.
In this blog post, we will explore the following:
- How Push Ups Works Bicep
- Best Push-Ups For Biceps
- How To Do It
- Tips For Proper Form
- Combine It With Other Bodyweight Bicep Exercise
- How To Train Your Biceps With Push-Ups
- Best Push-Ups For Biceps
- 1. Reverse Grip Push-Ups
- 2. Archer Push-Up
- 3. One-arm Push-up
- 4. Close-Grip Push-Ups
- Combine Bodyweight Bicep Exercises With Push Up
- 1. Bodyweight Bicep Curl
- 2. Inverted Row
- 3. Chin Up
- Does the Regular Push-Up Work Biceps?
- Do diamond push-ups work triceps or biceps?
- How To Train Your Biceps With Push-Ups (Video)
How To Train Your Biceps With Push-Ups
When it comes to training the biceps, most people immediately think of dumbbell curls or barbell exercises. However, there’s a highly effective and often overlooked exercise that can target and develop your biceps right at home: push-ups.
Yes, push-ups aren’t just for the chest and triceps—when done correctly, they can also engage and challenge your biceps, leading to increased strength and impressive arm definition.
To effectively work the biceps during push-ups, modifications are necessary. One approach is to rotate the hands in the opposite direction or bring them closer together. These adjustments place the biceps in a more favorable position for dynamic contraction and engagement.
There are many different types of push-ups that target the biceps, like reverse grip push-ups, archer push-ups, and close grip push-ups.
Best Push-Ups For Biceps
1. Reverse Grip Push-Ups
The reverse grip push-up is a fun and great variation of the standard push-up. The exercise is done with your fingers facing your feet (your palms outward). It’s considered the “bicep push-up” by many because of the hand position, it emphasizes a little more on your biceps than the standard push-up.
For easier variation, you can do the Reverse Grip Push-Ups on knee or on an incline surface.
How to do Reverse Grip Push-Ups
- Start in a standard push-up position and place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders with your palms flat on the floor and your fingers pointing towards your feet.
- Inhale and slowly start to bend your elbows.
- Do not let your elbows move outwards (away from your body).
- Lower yourself until you are about an inch from the floor.
- Pause the movement when you are at the bottom for a second.
- Exhale and start pushing your body back up. Push through your palms like you would try to push the floor away from yourself.
- Finish the exercise by extending your arms completely out. Repeat this for however many repetitions you wish to perform.
- If you don’t have enough mobility in your wrists for this push-up variation, or it hurts your wrists, you can try warm before exercise, use wrist straps, or do the same on an incline surface.
- Always make sure to do a proper warm up, especially focusing on warming up and stretching your wrists!
- Keep your body in a straight line for the entire exercise.
2. Archer Push-Up
In Archer push up, the arms are kept wider than the normal push up position and as you lower your body, you transfer the majority of your weight to one of your hands and incline towards that hand while the other hand is kept straight.
It also challenges the core muscles to maintain stability during the asymmetrical movement.
How to do Archer Push-Ups
- Start in a standard push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and elbows completely locked out.
- Maintain a strong core position and shift your upper body toward your right side.
- Pull your right chest toward your right hand as you bend your right elbow.
- As you lower toward the right side, allow your left arm to straighten.
- Your left arm should be fully extended, forming a straight line from your shoulder to your hand.
- . Repeat for your desired number of repetitions, switch sides.
- Don’t let your hips raise.
- Perform the exercise in a slow and controlled manner.
- Make sure your body is in the straight line from head to the feet.
3. One-arm Push-up
A one-arm push-up is a compound exercise that requires far more strength and balance than a standard push-up.
The one-arm push-up just might be one of the most difficult body-weight exercises to master. Almost 70 percent of your body weight is bearing down on one arm.
It produces envisioned amounts of pushing strength, teaches you to generate full-body tension, as well as core stability and total body control.
How to do One Arm Push Ups
- Get in the standard push-up position with feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Place one hand on the ground directly beneath your chest and the other behind your lower back.
- Straighten your legs behind you, spread them wide, and point your toes into the ground.
- To maintain balance, turn your torso slightly away from the pushing arm.
- Breathe in as you lower your angled torso to the ground until your chin is a few inches above the floor.
- Breathe out as you push yourself up from the floor, keeping your back straight.
- Stop just before you lock out your elbow at the top of the movement.
- keep your core tight and back flat throughout the movement.
- Do not rotate your arm outwards from your chest, as it will put additional stress on the elbow that can lead to discomfort and injury.
4. Close-Grip Push-Ups
Close-Grip Push-Ups are a variation of the traditional push-up exercise where the hands are positioned closer together, typically shoulder-width apart or narrower.
The closer hand placement targets the triceps, chest, and shoulders more intensely, while also engaging the biceps to a greater extent.
How to Perform Close-Grip Push-Ups
- Try assuming a standard push-up position with your hands placed closer together, directly under your shoulders or slightly narrower.
- Lay face down on the ground with your legs straight. Keep your knees off the ground.
- Take a narrower push up stance than you normally would.
- Keep your elbows tucked in close to your sides.
- Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, maintaining a straight line from head to heels.
- Push yourself back up to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
- Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line.
- Avoid arching or sagging your back.
- Try different hand widths to find the best grip position for your triceps and biceps.
Combine Bodyweight Bicep Exercises With Push Up
Even if you are curious about doing bicep push-ups, you might lack the core, arm, pecs strength to actually perform them. No need to be ashamed of this, though, as push-ups require a lot of strength to do, let alone an even more challenging variation.
Here are some of the best exercises you can perform at home or in the gyms that are reopening soon.
1. Bodyweight Bicep Curl
Sometimes we just don’t have access to equipment, but that’s not an issue with the bicep leg curl, as you only need your arms and legs.
2. Inverted Row
The inverted row is another name for bodyweight rows. It’s also known as an Australian pull-up. The inverted row puts your body in a horizontal position, making it easier to perform.
But, you can also perform the inverted row at home by lying under a chair, holding the chair’s sides, and pulling yourself up.
3. Chin Up
The underhand grip used in chin-ups places greater emphasis on the biceps, assisting in bicep muscle activation and growth.
Does the Regular Push-Up Work Biceps?
The regular push-up primarily targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders. While the biceps are involved to some extent, their engagement is primarily static or isometric. This means that the regular push-up alone is not an optimal exercise for targeting and stimulating significant bicep growth.
The reason why push-ups are generally not recommended for training the biceps is because push-ups are ‘push’ exercises, while the biceps are ‘pull’ muscles.
There are many great bodyweight ‘pull’ exercises that train the biceps, including pull-ups, chin-ups, inverted rows and inverted curls.
I would like to point out that doing bicep push-ups will never be as effective on your biceps as doing chin-ups or inverted rows. Should you still want to do bicep push-ups. Then try these push-ups variations for biceps.
Do diamond push-ups work triceps or biceps?
Diamond push-ups primarily target the triceps muscles. This hand position places greater emphasis on the triceps, which makes them work harder during the exercise. During diamond push-ups, the biceps are involved in some degree, but their involvement is secondary compared to the triceps.
The push-up builds both upper-body and core strength. It has many modifications; beginners can start with easier versions, while more advanced exercisers can use a challenging variation.
Pushups are a fast and effective exercise for building strength. They can be done from virtually anywhere and don’t require any equipment.
Doing variations of them — to hit the biceps, for instance — will spice things up and target different muscles.
- Exercise library: Chin-ups. (n.d.). acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/190/chin-ups
- Exercise library: Push-up. (n.d.). acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/41/push-up
- cogley, robert m.; archambault, teasha a.; fibeger, jon f.; koverman, mandy m.; youdas, james w.; hollman, john h.. comparison of muscle activation using various hand positions during the push-up exercise. journal of strength and conditioning research 19(3):p 628-633, august 2005.
- Kleiber, T., Kunz, L., & Disselhorst-Klug, C. (2015). Muscular coordination of biceps brachii and brachioradialis in elbow flexion with respect to hand position. Frontiers in physiology, 6, 215.
- Tiwana MS, et al. (2018). Anatomy, shoulder and upper limb, biceps muscle. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519538/
How To Train Your Biceps With Push-Ups (Video)
Manish brings over 10 years of hands-on experience in weight lifting and fat loss to fitness coaching. He specializes in gym-based training and has a lot of knowledge about exercise, lifting technique, biomechanics, and more.
Through “Fit Life Regime,” he generously shares the insights he’s gained over a decade in the field. His goal is to equip others with the knowledge to start their own fitness journey.