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Mastering the Pike Push Up: A Guide to Building Upper Body Strength

The pike push-up is an effective exercise that targets the shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the proper form, variations, and benefits of the pike push-up.

Get ready to elevate your upper body strength and take your fitness journey to new heights.

group class trying the pike push up

The Science Behind the Pike Push-Up

The pike push-up is a bodyweight exercise that mimics the mechanics of the overhead press but with an added emphasis on the shoulders and core. This compound movement engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making it a time-efficient and effective exercise for building upper body strength.

Proper Form and Execution

To perform a pike push-up, follow these steps:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.

  2. Raise your hips high, forming an inverted V shape with your body, keeping your legs straight.

  3. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows as you lower your head toward the ground, allowing your shoulders to protract.

  4. Push through your palms, engaging your shoulder and tricep muscles, to return to the starting position.

Variations and Progressions

Once you have mastered the basic pike push-up, you can challenge yourself with these variations:

  1. Feet Elevated Pike Push-Up: Place your feet on an elevated surface such as a bench or step, increasing the intensity and range of motion.

  2. Single-Leg Pike Push-Up: Perform the pike push-up while balancing on one leg, enhancing stability and core engagement.

  3. Pike Push-Up with Dumbbells: Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands while performing the exercise, adding resistance and further stimulating the shoulder and tricep muscles.

fitness trainer preparing for her workout in the gym

Benefits of the Pike Push-Up

The pike push-up offers several benefits for your fitness journey:

1. Shoulder and Tricep Strength

The primary muscles targeted during the pike push-up are the shoulders and triceps. By consistently performing this exercise, you can develop greater strength and endurance in these muscle groups.

2. Core Stability

The pike push-up requires strong core engagement to maintain the inverted V position. This exercise challenges and strengthens your core muscles, promoting stability and balance.

3. Shoulder Mobility

As you perform the pike push-up, you'll improve shoulder mobility and flexibility. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who spend long periods sitting or working at a desk.


Q: Can beginners do pike push-ups?

A: Yes, beginners can start with modified versions, such as performing the exercise with bent knees or using an elevated surface to reduce the load.

Q: How many repetitions and sets should I do?

A: Start with 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions and gradually increase the volume as your strength improves.

Q: Are pike push-ups suitable for all fitness levels?

A: Pike push-ups can be modified to suit different fitness levels. Beginners can start with modified versions, while advanced individuals can challenge themselves with variations or add resistance.

Q: Can pike push-ups be part of a full upper body workout routine?

A: Absolutely! Incorporate pike push-ups into your upper body routine, complementing them with exercises targeting other muscle groups like chest, back, and biceps.

married couple starting a full body workout in their living room


The pike push-up is a dynamic exercise that targets the shoulders, triceps, and core, offering numerous benefits for upper body strength and stability.

By mastering proper form, exploring variations, and progressively challenging yourself, you can maximize the results of this versatile bodyweight exercise. Add pike push-ups to your fitness routine and watch your upper body strength soar to new heights.

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