Do Pushups Work Biceps?

Biceps muscles can get an indirect benefit when you do pushups.
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Pushups may be a simple exercise, but they're effective for building the chest muscles and upper body strength you need to get through a normal day of lifting and lowering objects, opening doors and standing and sitting. In fact, pushups are an exercise that recruits multiple joints and muscles to perform the movement correctly and several pushup variations are available for those who may be new to fitness. Although doing pushups doesn't necessarily focus on your biceps, it does build strength and bigger biceps can come in an indirect way. Pushups do not replace a well rounded workout, glutes, hamstrings, and other areas of the body will require alternative exercises such as squats to progress and build definition.

Actual Focus of Pushups

Pushups are a common body weight exercise and can be a great addition to strength training/calisthenics days alongside bench press or compound exercise movements. Proper form for standard pushup position is similar to plank position, hands are shoulder-width apart while the upper back and lower back muscles are straight. Variations such as diamond push ups are great chest exercises but require alternative form to work biceps and other arm muscle groups.Muscle activation and muscle growth is dependent on proper form throughout the workout routine. Weight loss can also be achieved through pushup exercise when in combination with proper dietary changes and full body workout exercises.

When you do pushups, the muscle group that get the most focus is the pectorals (pecs), the pectorals sternal to be exact. Those are the large muscles right on the front of your chest. However, pushups work a few other muscle groups too. Those muscles are known as the synergists and the ones that are specific to performing a pushup are your pectorals clavicular -- the muscles just beneath your collarbones that run along the top of your pectorals sternal muscles -- as well as your anterior deltoids and your triceps. All those muscles work together to help you push yourself up and lower yourself back down during a pushup.

In a Roundabout Way

Even though pushups don't target your bicep muscles, they can benefit from any pushups you do because exercising and strengthening one muscle -- in this case your triceps -- will increase strength in the opposite, or antagonist, muscle -- your biceps. In his book on martial arts training, Loren W. Christensen recommends pushups to build upper arm and bicep strength based on the opposite muscle phenomenon.

Effective Biceps Exercises

While pushups and other triceps exercises can benefit your biceps, if you want to target them specifically, some of the best exercises to incorporate into your workout are curling exercises such as bicep curls or even chin-ups using a pull up bar. These can be both free weight and cable machine exercises and can include close and wide grip barbell curls, alternating dumbbell curls, cable rope hammer curls, single arm cable curls and incline dumbbell curls, repetitions (reps) and method can be adjusted for beginners..

Different Pushups Styles

If doing a regular pushup gets old but upper body muscles and bigger arms are still your goal , keep your workout interesting by switching up your pushup style. Do a decline pushup by resting your feet on a bench during the movement. Try clapping your hands together at the top of the movement when your torso is furthest from the floor. Or perform a windmill pushup by placing one hand on a medicine ball and lifting the opposite hand up off the floor and extending it up and over your body at the top of the exercise, rotating your torso to get your free arm and hand directly in line with the one still resting on the medicine ball.

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