Biceps are hard to train without any equipment, unlike other body parts. To address this, someone came up with the idea of bicep push ups. But what is a bicep push up? And more importantly how to do a bicep push up?
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Regular push ups mainly work your pecs (chest muscles), delts (shoulders) and triceps (back of the upper arm). You also use your core muscles for stabilisation. 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.
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There are many great bodyweight 'pull' exercises that train the biceps, including pull ups, chin ups, inverted rows and inverted curls. Admittedly, they all have a flaw, compared to push ups: these exercises require some sort of home gym equipment, let it be a pull up bar or a barbell resting on a squat rack or multi-gym frame. If we could add more biceps activation to push ups, that would solve our problems, right?
How to do a bicep push up
IMPORTANT: this push up variation require strong core muscles as well as great overall strength so if you are new to exercising, please don't start with trying to do bicep push ups. You can gradually introduce this type of push up into your calisthenics workout routine.
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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, you can do so by placing the hands further back and rotating them out to activate the biceps more. This pose will not only require tremendous amount of upper body strength, it will also put a lot more pressure on your delts (shoulders) and wrists.
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To perform a biceps push up, as opposed to placing your hands directly under the shoulder as you would otherwise, place them further back and rotate them out as much as you can (without too much discomfort). Keep your core engaged, elbows tucked in and focus on the biceps as you do your push ups. Lower your upper body then push yourself back up again.
It’s as simple as that!
Bicep push up alternatives
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 even regular push ups require a lot of strength to do, let alone an even more challenging variation. Here are some alternative exercise you can perform at home or in the gyms that are reopening soon.
You will need a pull up bar or a multi-gym/power cage to perform pull ups and admittedly, they are not easy to do either but we would like to recommend pull ups nevertheless as they are one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do at home. Pull ups work your biceps, pecs, upper back and core, not to mention this exercise also strengthen your grip too.
The inverted row really works the biceps, your upper back and shoulders too. Inverted rows are more popular for home gyms as they can be performed holding onto anything that can support your weight, like a sturdy table. Please make sure the chosen furniture is capable of supporting you before you start exercising. Best would be to use a home suspension training system, such as the TRX Home 2 (opens in new tab) set, for this type of exercising.
Bent over row
Bent over row is most usually performed using a barbell but alternatively, you can use a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells or even your loaded gym bag to perform this exercise. Much like inverted rows, the bent over row works the biceps, back and shoulders.
Overhead press can help you build shoulder, triceps and upper back definition with just one move. Better still, you can use a barbell or dumbbells to perform this exercise. Make sure you engage your core as you push the weight up over your head and don't arch your back too much in the process.
T3's how-to exercise guides
- How to squat right: the barbell back squat is the best exercise for a toned butt and strong legs
- How to deadlift correctly: a full body workout in one move for stronger arms, back and legs
- Overhead press: how to perform this classic exercise for big arms and quick shoulder gains
- How to do barbell rows (opens in new tab) the right way: why bent over rows are great to build big back and strong arms
- How to do thrusters: this squat variant is a leg day staple AND a one-move full body exercise
- How to do a push up plus all the best variations on this classic exercise for bigger arms
- How to use an ab roller: get a six pack FAST with this cheap home gym staple
- Chin up vs pull up: what's the difference, muscles worked and WHAT IS THE BEST ONE?
- How to do ab crunches for beginners: the best stomach exercises to tone up
- How to bench press effectively and safely: this classic exercise will build a massive chest and big arms and shoulders too
- 3 common exercises you're doing wrong and how to fix them
- Can't do push ups? Follow these tips and get press up ready in no time