Are you seeking a cool, challenging, and effective push-up variation to train your upper body and build a solid chest?
If so, look no further than the archer push-up––a highly effective and challenging variation that is sure to give you a good workout at home and on the road.
Read on to learn what makes the movement great, how to do it, and how to stay safe.
What is the Archer Push-Up?
Archer push-ups, or side-to-side push-ups, are an advanced variation of the classic exercise. The objective is for trainees to assume a wider stance and lean alternating from one side to the next.
The movement provides additional challenge and causes a greater muscle stimulus, resulting in more growth and strength gain. Additionally, given the exercise’s unique mechanics, trainees can experience a stronger stretch on their chest muscles at the bottom position, which can result in more growth.
Aside from training the chest, shoulders, triceps, and serratus anterior, archer push-ups place significant tension on the back and midsection. Both of these areas engage to provide torso support and assist with lateral movements.
- Serratus Anterior
How to Perform an Archer Push-up (Step-by-Step)
- Get down on all fours with your knees on the ground.
- Assume a wide but comfortable stance, planting your hands flat on the floor. Your fingers should point slightly outward instead of forward or in.
- Extend your legs and support your lower body on your toes.
- Flex your glutes and abs for support, and retract your shoulder blades.
- Take a deep breath and descend, tilting your body to the right and allowing your left arm to remain straight.
- Pause briefly and press through your right hand as you move your upper body to the left, finishing the rep with straight arms. Exhale as you complete the rep.
- Take another breath and descend again, this time tilting to the left and keeping your right arm straight.
- Alternate between tilting to the left and right until you’re done.
Warming Up And Safety Considerations
Archer push-ups are highly beneficial but also challenging to perform. Maintaining proper technique is crucial for staying safe and reducing the risk of joint injuries or pulled muscles. (1)
It’s best to begin with classic push-ups and work up to sets of 20 slow and controlled reps before attempting to do archer push-ups.
Once you feel confident you can do the exercise, start slowly and focus on proper technique before worrying about the number of reps you get. Archer push-ups seem easy at first glance, but the activity is quite challenging, and people new to it often need a few weeks to progress.
Additionally, always take the time to warm up well before performing the movement. Begin with low-intensity steady-state cardio: treadmill walking, jumping jacks, jumping rope, high knees, etc. (2)
From there, do a few minutes of dynamic stretching to prepare your body further. Do arm swings, shoulder rotations, and various elbow and wrist motions to prepare these joints and feel comfortable during your training.
Finally, do a couple of light sets of regular push-ups to prepare your chest, shoulders, and triceps before jumping into archer push-ups.
Return to all bodyweight exercises, and see our bodyweight videos.
- Archer push-up guide: How to master archer push-ups – 2023. MasterClass. (n.d.).
- Elizabeth Quinn, M. S. (2020, March 13). Prevent injuries. Verywell Fit.