No, you haven’t misread the title of this article. There is such a thing as a bicep push-up, and it can be a fantastic bodyweight movement for pumping up the biceps.
So, let’s dive in to see what this exercise is about, how to do it correctly, and what benefits it provides.
Table of Contents
Primary Muscles Worked 💪
- Chest (Pecs)
Secondary Muscles Worked 💪
- Anterior (Front) Deltoid
What Are Bicep Push-Ups?
Bicep push-ups, also known as push-ups for the biceps, are a bodyweight exercise where you still train your chest, shoulders (primarily the front portion), and triceps, but you also involve the biceps to a greater degree.
So, how is that possible, given that the bicep is an arm flexor, which is the opposite of what the triceps do?
It all has to do with hand position. Unlike a regular push-up where your fingers are pointed forward (and sometimes out to a degree to limit elbow flare), the objective here is to use a reverse stance.
In other words, fingers must point back (or at least to the sides if your shoulder mobility is limited). This achieves two things:
First, the bicep is more stretched at the top, given the shoulder’s position (remember that the bicep crosses the shoulder joint, and the joint’s position influences the muscle’s length). This can be beneficial for growth.
Second, the biceps are put in a position where they must contribute more to promote arm stability, which further activates them.
How to Perform Bicep Push-Ups (Step-By-Step)
Things to keep in mind:
- Rotate your hands out as much as you comfortably can
- Stop doing the exercise if you feel sharp shoulder pain
- Do slow and controlled reps
- Lower yourself as much as possible on the way down
- Get down on all fours and place your hands flat on the ground, slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly rotate your hands out for your fingers to point to the side and back (if possible).
- Extend your body into a push-up position and engage your abs to create a natural curve in your lower back. You should feel a stretch in your biceps here.
- Inhale and slowly lower yourself as much as possible.
- Pause for a moment and press back to the top position as you exhale.
Bicep Push-Ups Benefits
The most notable benefit of bicep push-ups is that they work the biceps along with the chest, shoulders, triceps, and serratus anterior. (1)
Another benefit is that bicep push-ups tend to be more difficult to stabilize, which means the midsection works harder to keep you in position. This results in better overall stability and balance.
Plus, this push-up variation is ideal for minimalistic bicep training. For example, the movement would be suitable for building up the biceps if you work out at home and mostly do bodyweight exercises.
Safety Tips and Final Considerations
Given the unique hand position in bicep push-ups, it’s best to rotate your hands out as much as you comfortably can, even if that’s not the ‘ideal’ way to do the exercise. Safety should always come first.
On that note, you shouldn’t experience shoulder pain or discomfort while doing reps. If that’s the case, rotate your hands out to a smaller degree to see if that alleviates the issue.
Another tip is to start doing the exercise on your knees to get a feel for the movement pattern and load your joints to a smaller degree.
Also, as with all other exercises, prepare with a good warm-up consisting of some dynamic stretching (with an emphasis on the wrists, elbows, and shoulders), such as arm and elbow rotations and wrist twists. (2)
You can also do some light cardio, such as on a treadmill or by skipping in place to warm up before starting your workout.
Before starting your working sets, you can do a couple of warm-up sets on your knees for fewer reps. Don’t push too hard; simply use these to prepare your muscles and monitor for any joint pain or discomfort.
Maximize Muscle Building and Nutrition
If you’re looking to maximize your muscle-building efforts, you should consider including a protein powder as part of your fit diet. They can be very helpful to ensure your muscles are well-fed, which optimizes recovery and fuels them with important amino acids.
Looking for more bicep exercises? Check our bicep workout. Do you want to learn more bodyweight exercises to grow your biceps? Head to our bodyweight bicep exercises. Also, check out our short head and long head bicep exercises if you want to target a specific bicep head. Click to return to building lean muscle.
- Anatomy, thorax, serratus anterior muscles – statpearls – NCBI … (n.d.-a).
- Elizabeth Quinn, M. S. (2020, March 13). Prevent injuries. Verywell Fit.