Cross Arm Push Up

The cross-arm push-up, also known as the X Push-Up, is a variation of the standard push-up that adds a unique arm position (X shape) to increase the intensity and more effectively engage different muscle groups.

Instead of placing your hands shoulder-width apart, you should put your right arm toward the left shoulder and your left arm toward the right shoulder (Cross Arms).

As a fitness trainer, I’ve found that cross-arm push-ups are good for intermediate and advanced exercisers. They can be a great progression from regular push-ups and a great addition to a bodyweight workout routine.

Although it still works the chest and triceps, it also provides good shoulder stimulation. The cross-body arm position creates an unstable base that forces your core muscles to work harder to maintain balance and stability.

Note: Cross-arm push-ups are more challenging than traditional push-ups, so having a solid foundation of push-ups and strength is important before trying this variation.

Cross Arm Push Up Muscles Worked

Cross Arm Push Up Muscles Worked

How To Do Cross Arm Push Up

  1. Start in a standard push-up position, with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  2. Cross one arm over the other, positioning your hands in a cross-body pattern.
  3. For example, if you’re crossing your right arm over your left, your right hand should be near your left shoulder, and your left hand should be positioned further out to the right.
  4. Tighten your core muscles to maintain stability throughout the movement.
  5. Slowly bend your elbows to lower yourself until your chest nears the ground or until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle.
  6. Press your palms into the ground to straighten your elbow and lift your body back up to the starting position.
Cross Arm Push Up

Tips and Form

  • If the floor version feels too challenging, start with incline or knee cross-arm push-ups.
  • Don’t let your hips sag or your back arch.
  • Breathe in as you lower yourself down and exhale forcefully as you push yourself back up.
  • Rather than dropping your head, look slightly ahead to maintain a neutral spine alignment.
  • If you have limited shoulder mobility, this exercise may be uncomfortable. It’s advisable to improve shoulder mobility before attempting it.
  • The cross-arm position can place the shoulders in a more internally rotated position compared to a standard push-up. If not done with proper form, this could stress the elbows, especially if your elbows tend to flare out.

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