5 Best Push Exercises for a Powerful Upper Body
You should always be pushing yourself at the gym, and when it comes to working those push muscles, this concept applies even more. If you’re ready for a pumped-up chest and some seriously stacked shoulders, here are some of the best push exercises for your upper body.
1. Chest Press
It’s a classic exercise for a good reason. The chest press is one of the most popular and effective exercises for working your upper body. With a focus on the chest, this move also targets the front deltoids (shoulders) as well as the triceps.
There are plenty of different ways to do a chest press, but for a basic barbell bench press, here’s how to get set up:
- Lay flat on the bench with the bar over your head. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and slightly arch your back on the bench (this maximizes chest emphasis).
- Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Lower the bar down just below your chest, and then breathe out as you press the bar overhead to the starting position.
Imagine bringing your biceps closer together to squeeze your pecs and get maximum gains from this movement.
We also love chest presses because you can vary this in tons of different ways. You can change the angle of the bench for an incline press to target the upper portion of your chest or a decline press to target your lower pecs. You can also use dumbbells and go for a close-grip press to emphasize the triceps or grab the barbell at a slightly wider angle to focus on the shoulders.
The only problem with a chest press is that your shoulders and triceps often fatigue before your chest. But Speede can help reduce that issue for maximum gains by adjusting to your body’s muscle fatigue. It will provide the perfect resistance to finish your reps until failure without overtraining and overworking.
The best way to see what we mean is by trying it yourself. Request a demo today to get started.
2. Shoulder Press
Yet another exercise where you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to see massive gains – the overhead shoulder press is one of the best exercises for growing out your deltoids and packing on some serious muscle density.
Here’s how to do a traditional overhead press with a barbell:
- Hold the barbell up against your chest with hands shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping the core tight and spine straight, press the barbell overhead.
- Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.
Shoulder presses are another exercise that can be varied beyond belief, including swapping the barbell out for dumbbells and doing an Arnold press. This has you starting with your palms facing towards you as you slowly rotate them away from you as you drive the dumbbells overhead. It targets the front and top of your shoulders while also giving the biceps some love.
You can also do a shoulder press from a seated or standing position. Seated shoulder presses allow you to support your back so that you don’t need to worry about straining the spine from lifting overhead. But standing shoulder presses require core strength and stability, which has benefits on its own. Essentially, it’s a win-win, no matter what.
3. Push Up
Any exercise that has “push” in the name is likely to be a fantastic push exercise. And push-ups target your chest, triceps, and shoulders in ways that many other exercises just aren’t able to. Plus, these can be modified and progressed in almost endless ways.
To do a traditional push-up:
- Place your hands on the floor at chest level in a high plank position.
- With elbows bent at 45 degrees in relation to your body, slowly lower your chest to the floor.
- At the bottom, press yourself back up into the starting position.
This variation has a chest and shoulder focus, but tucking your elbows in will let you target the triceps. You can also put your hands together in a “diamond” formation to enter into a diamond push-up, which targets the chest even more.
You can even do push-ups on your knees or up against a wall if you’re not yet at a point where you can complete a full push-up. It’s a highly versatile move that should be incorporated.
And when you’re ready to progress it further, consider adding a jump to turn it into the move divisive exercise known to man: the burpee. You can even use stability straps to do push-ups with a little extra core work or do your push-ups against a bench to target the upper chest.
4. Tricep Push-Down
You’ll need a cable machine for this one, but it might be worth the investment just to do this exercise. If you’re looking to bulk up and tone your triceps in one fell swoop – this is the move you should be adding to your routine.
To do a tricep pull-down:
- Grab the cable with both hands. Tuck your elbows into your sides and begin with elbows bent at 90 degrees.
- Keeping elbows at your sides, push the cable down towards your waist.
- Gently flare the wrists to the side at the bottom of the movement for maximum contraction, then slowly return to the starting position.
If this doesn’t get your triceps burning, we don’t really know what will. Doing this exercise to isolate the triceps can also help you get better at push-ups or bench presses where the tricep works as a supporting muscle.
5. Lateral Raise
Lateral raises are an important exercise because they work muscles that often go underworked in traditional training environments: the anterior deltoids, the lateral deltoids, and the trapezius muscles.
To do lateral raises:
- Holding two dumbbells at your waist, gently bend the elbows.
- Bring the dumbbells straight to your sides until the weights reach shoulder height. Your arms should be about perpendicular to the rest of your body.
- Slowly lower back into the starting position.
While you won’t be able to lift as heavy of a weight as you can with a shoulder press or a chest press, this move will have your shoulders looking bigger in no time at all.
While every day at the gym is a day where you should be pushing your limits, push days are meant to truly beef up those shoulders, triceps, and chest muscles. And if you’re not incorporating these six movements into your routine, it might be time to start.
If you’ve been incorporating these moves into your routine for years and you’re not seeing the results you want – it might not be your fault at all. It might be because of the equipment you’re using.
Speede uses the latest muscle science to deliver results in a fraction of the time of a traditional workout. Targeted isokinetic and eccentric training, as well as recovery modes and standard training modes, help you make the most of every workout.
Book a demo today to Speede towards the results you’ve been dreaming of.
Shoulder Muscles: Anatomy, Function & Common Conditions | Cleveland Clinic
Muscle fatigue: general understanding and treatment | PMC.
Muscle Fatigue in the Three Heads of Triceps Brachii During Intensity and Speed Variations of Triceps Push-Down Exercise | Frontiers