Pike Push-Ups: How To Do, Muscle Worked, Benefits

If you’re looking to increase strength, muscle mass or both in your shoulders and arms, pike push-ups are a great exercise to do.

Pike push-ups are a difficult version of the traditional push-up that emphasizes your shoulder muscles and also train your triceps and chest.

Incorporating this type of push-up into your exercise routine can help to build additional strength, muscle mass and improve weak areas in your shoulders.

The Pike Push-up is one of the greatest conditioning exercises for the outdoor athlete, it can be performed, regardless of where you are and, best of all, they are completely free—no expensive equipment or no annual gym fees required.

Pike Push-Up Vs Standard Push-Up

Standard Push-ups are a compound strength-training exercise that involves raising and lowering the body using the arms while facing down in a prone, horizontal position.

The classic push-up has survived the test of time and is the single most efficient exercise to simultaneously strengthen the chest, arms, deltoid, lower back, abs and glutes.

Pike push-ups are harder than compared to the normal push-ups ones because of the angle at which the exercise has to be done. 

Pike push-ups work harder because of the upward vertical push, which implies using more of the shoulder muscles, tricep and less of the pectoral, which, being a large muscle, has the possibility of developing more strength.

However, during standard push-ups the more horizontal the angle at which we work, the more the pectoral muscles will work and the less the shoulders and triceps muscles.

In conclusion, in the pike push, the less we will work the pectoral muscles, and the more the shoulders and triceps

Pike Push Up Muscles Worked

Depending on the degree to which you perform this exercise, it will be the muscles that are worked and with greater or lesser intensity. 

  • Pike push-ups primarily target the muscles in the shoulders, specifically the deltoids, as well as the triceps.
  • They also engage the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis and obliques, as well as the muscles in the back, such as the lats and rhomboids.
  • Additionally, pike push-ups can also work the muscles in the legs, including the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, as they help to maintain proper body alignment and stability during the exercise.
Pike Push Up Muscles Worked

How to Perform Beginner Pike Push Up

Pike Push-ups aka shoulder push up is a variation of the push-up that increases strength and stability in the shoulders and triceps.  Performing the exercise in a more upright position will target the shoulders more than the chest.

If you are a beginner, you may want to start with a modified version of the pike push-up, such as with your knees on the ground or your hands on an elevated surface.

When you put your hands on a block or a higher surface than your feet, this reduces resistance.

Pike Push Up

How To Do Pike Push-Ups

  1. Start in a standard push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and elbows completely locked out.
  2. Lift the hips up and back until your body forms an inverted V shape. Keep arms and legs as straight as possible.
  3. Slowly lower the top of your head towards the ground.
  4. Once your head is about to make contact with the ground, pause for a second.
  5. Then slowly push back until your arms are straight, and you’re in the inverted V position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

It’s important to maintain proper form throughout the exercise to get the most benefit and prevent injury.

As you build up your strength and endurance, you can gradually progress to the full version of the exercise.

Make it easier or harder (Regression & Progression)

To make pike pushups easier, you can place your hands on a low box or on a chair. Just about anyone can do this beginner version because you’e not lifting a large percentage of your bodyweight, and it doesn’t require as much flexibility. Knee pike push-up is also the best variation for beginners.

To make pike pushups harder, you can use any of the variations listed below, which elevate your feet. Furthermore, elevating your hands in any way increases the rage of motion. The higher up on your feet you put your feet, the harder a Pike Push Up will be because it is going to look more like a Handstand Push Up, with your bodyweight being placed on the shoulders. 

Once you’ve mastered the pike push-up, then you may want to try handstand pushups – one of the toughest body weight exercises of all.

Pike Push-Ups Variations

Here are a few variations of the pike push-up that you could try to add variety to your workout routine.

1. Elevated Pike Push-Up

By elevating your feet on a box, you advance these holds because you are now stabilizing a heavier percentage of your bodyweight on your arms.

Each of the setups steps from above still applies. This step allows you to make greater strength gains while also eliminating the fear of falling over.

Elevated pike push-up

How To Do Elevated Pike Push-Up

  1. Start in a standard push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and elbows completely locked out. Elevate your feet to an appropriate height for your current strength.
  2. Lift the hips up and back until your body forms an inverted V shape. Keep arms and legs as straight as possible.
  3. Slowly lower the top of your head towards the ground. Once your head is about to make contact with the ground, pause for a second.
  4. Then slowly push back until your arms are straight, and you’re in the inverted V position.


  • Be sure to have first mastered the pike push-ups before trying the elevated pike press.
  • Make sure you maintain control throughout the movement.
  • Keep your back neutral and knees straight throughout the exercise.

2. Pike Push-Up Between Bench

The pike push-up should be performed on two benches, as this allows you to lower your head between the two benches and thus ensures a full range of motion.

However, if two benches are not available, you can perform the pike push-up on the floor. Just be careful not to hit your head.

Pike Push-Up Between Bench

How To Do Pike Push-Up Between Bench

  1. Position two flat benches side by side, shoulder-width apart from each other.
  2. Place each hand on one end of each bench and each foot on the other end of each bench.
  3. Raise your hips by extending your knees. Keeping your legs straight, inhale as you lower your head between the two benches.
  4. Exhale as you push your body back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Maintain a neutral back and straight knees throughout the exercise.
  • Make sure you maintain control throughout the movement.

3 Pike To Cobra Push Up

Are you ready to combine the Cobra Yoga Pose and the pike push-up?

Pike to Cobra Push-Ups are a strengthening and stretching exercise for your shoulder, lower back that also adds in some light arm work. It will also help to stretch your groin, abs, and hip flexors, but to a lesser degree.

You can also use them in a calisthenics training regime.

Pike To Cobra Push-Up

How To Do Pike To Cobra Push-Ups

  1. Start in a standard push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and elbows completely locked out.
  2. Lift the hips up and back until your body forms an inverted V shape. Keep arms and legs as straight as possible.
  3. Bend your elbows and lower your chest until it’s just above the floor, going into low plank pose.
  4. In a scooping motion, scoop your head upward while arching your lower and upper back and go into cobra pose.
  5. To return to the starting position, you do not need to reverse back through the sweeping, arching motion. Simply push back into the starting position.


  • Look upwards as you hold the arched back position.
  • Don’t let your hips rest on the ground, keep them elevated during the push-up process.

4. Single leg pike push-up

This variation involves performing the push-up on one leg, with the other leg lifted off the ground.

This challenges your balance and stability and can also increase the difficulty of the exercise.

Pike Push Form and Training Tips

  • For the pike push-ups, begin by performing 2–3 sets of 6–8 repetitions. Add more reps and sets as you build strength.
  • Choose the exercises as per your fitness levels. And also choice your sets and repetitions based on your ability to maintain good technique throughout all sets and repetitions.
  • Pay extra attention to your form and emphasize quality over quantity to improve your upper-body strength.
  • Never let your head touch the floor, but try to get as close to it as you can.
  • Slow down all of your movements and really stay focused on your form.
  • If you are having trouble perfecting your form for this exercise, it can be helpful to break down the movement, regress, and work on the foundation.
  • To see continual progress and build body strength, incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program.
  • Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.

How To Add pike Push-Up To Your Workout Routines

There are several ways to incorporate them into your workout routine:

  1. As a standalone exercise: You can perform a set of them on their own as part of a bodyweight-only workout.
  2. As a warm-up: They can be a great way to warm up the muscles in the shoulders and upper body before a more intense workout.
  3. In a circuit: You can include them in a circuit with other exercises, such as squats, lunges, and burpees, to create a full-body workout.
  4. As a finisher: They can be a challenging exercise, making them a great way to finish off a workout and push your muscles to fatigue.

When adding pike push-ups to your routine, it’s important to start with a manageable number of reps and gradually increase the volume over time as your strength and endurance improves.

It’s also a good idea to mix up the variations of push-ups to challenge your muscles in different ways and prevent boredom.

Benefits Of Pike Push Ups

Pike push-ups are a great bodyweight exercise that can provide several benefits, including:

  1. Improved upper body strength: Pike push-ups require a lot of strength in the shoulders, triceps, and core muscles, making them a great exercise for building upper body strength.
  2. Improved posture: Because pike push-ups require you to maintain a straight body position with your core engaged, they can help to improve your posture by strengthening the muscles that support good alignment.
  3. Improved coordination and balance: The inverted position of it requires good coordination and balance, which can improve your overall body control and stability.
  4. Increased flexibility: The inverted position of the pike push-up can help to stretch and lengthen the muscles in the shoulders and upper back, increasing flexibility in these areas.
  5. Improved cardiovascular fitness: Pike push-ups are a high-intensity exercise that can raise your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular fitness.
  6. Improve legs flexibility: Doing them also improves your hamstring flexibility, which comes as a result of your legs being placed closer together than your arms.
  7. It’s a convenient exercise that can be done anywhere without any equipment.

Overall, they are a great addition to any workout routine, as they provide a full-body challenge and can help to improve strength, coordination, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness.


Are pike push-ups harder than regular push-ups?

Pike push-ups are generally considered to be more challenging than regular push-ups because they require more strength and stability in the upper body and core.

In a pike push-up, the body is in an inverted position, with the hips and legs lifted off the ground, which puts more of the body’s weight onto the hands and shoulders.

This increases the demand on the muscles in the shoulders, triceps, and core, making the exercise more challenging.

Additionally, It requires more coordination and control, as the body is in an unstable position and there is a greater range of motion.

This can make the exercise more difficult for some people, especially beginners.

Do pike push-ups work upper chest?

Pike push-ups do not specifically target the upper chest muscles. It primarily works the muscles in the shoulders as well as the chest, triceps and the core muscles.

However, while it may not directly target the upper chest, they can still contribute to overall upper body strength and muscle development, which can in turn help to improve the appearance of the upper chest.

To specifically target the upper chest muscles, you can try exercises such as incline bench press, incline dumbbell press, or incline flyes.


The Pike Push-Up is a great bodyweight exercise to develop strong shoulders. It involves lowering your head from a downward dog position until it touches the ground, then pressing back up to the start position.

Resistance can be reduced by performing exercise on a bench or apparatus with hands positioned higher than feet.

For greater challenge, place feet higher than hands.

Know More About Push-Ups

3 Ways To Do Pike Push Ups To Build Shoulder Strength

Leave a Comment