Do Push-Ups Work Biceps? The Truth Revealed!

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Big and strong arm muscles have always been the touchstone for workout enthusiasts and bodybuilders.


From muscular shoulders to a wide and toned chest, your physique conveys a message of confidence and strength to others.


Besides looking cool and muscular, having strong arms can improve your daily functional fitness and lower the chance of injuries.


But how do you build those popular upper-body muscles?


How do you get bigger arms?


While most bodybuilding professionals think that just dumbbell curls and weightlifting can target the arm muscles, there’s a whole science to targeting your arm muscles and making them more prominent.


Here, I’ll share some tips on using push-ups to strengthen your biceps.


Until now, you might think that push-ups are for the chest only, but here I’ll discuss how push-ups can help you make your arm muscles bigger.


Let’s dive into my guide to bigger biceps using push-ups!

Functions of Biceps

Before we learn how to target the biceps with push-ups, let’s discover how the biceps work. This is important as it will help you understand how they target your biceps. 


Our arm consists of three main muscle groups:


  • Biceps

  • Triceps

  • Forearms


The bicep muscles extend from the shoulder blade and reach the forearm.


These muscles consist of two types: the short bicep brachii and the long bicep brachii.


The tricep is present opposite the bicep and is the large muscle behind the upper arm.


Lastly, the forearm is the muscle that connects the upper arm to the hand, and its primary function is to control the grip


The bicep performs three main functions, which include:


  • Forearm supination

  • Elbow flexion

  • Shoulder flexion


The primary function of the bicep is to allow your arm to bend correctly and to rotate the arm so that the palm faces up.


Now that you’ve understood the muscle group mechanics let’s choose the best bodyweight exercises to make your biceps muscles bigger.


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Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Leg Training <<<

How do Push-Ups Work the Biceps?

Push-ups belong to the calisthenics category; according to a study, these exercises significantly impact muscle thickness and strength.


Push-ups might seem to be simple exercises that work on building up the chest muscles.


In reality, push-ups follow complete muscle mechanics and target the same muscle group and joints in the upper body. Although standard push-ups might not work on the biceps, their variations can help build bigger and stronger muscles.


You can activate your biceps and make them bigger by switching up your push-up styles.


While pull-ups work the biceps directly, push-ups work them indirectly, and both have benefits.


Go for the Right Push-up Variations for Biceps

Regular push-ups work on your chest muscles (pectorals), triceps, and deltoids (shoulder muscles).


Since a push-up targets the chest, it is also known as the chest exercise. Plus, the biceps are the ‘pull muscles,’ and push-ups are ‘push exercises,’ so they are not usually recommended for building the biceps.




The right push-ups for bigger arms focus on the position of your hands to target the biceps and the triceps. These push-ups work the upper body, including the triceps on the upper back of the arm and the biceps on the front.


Since the triceps are the biggest muscles in the arms, working on them through push-ups will also make your arms bigger. Besides that, they activate the biceps too.


While doing push-ups, the main focus is on the triceps, and the biceps get into action to provide balance and support.


This way, the biceps also get bigger and stronger through push-ups. Most importantly, you must:


  • Pick the right push-ups that work on biceps and master proper form


  • Do these push-ups at least 2 to 3 times per week


  • Track your progress


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Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Back Training <<<

Building or Strengthening Your Biceps

Just like pull-ups work on your biceps, push-ups can make them bigger and stronger too.


There are two main ways in which I target my biceps with push-ups. Once you have decided to work on your biceps through push-ups, you must first decide whether to build your biceps or just strengthen them.


You can also do both by trying different variations of push-ups.


However, it would be best if you remembered that the training for strengthening our biceps is different from the training required for building muscles.


I recommend starting with the one you most want and then trying the other once you’ve achieved the first goal.


The following are the two types of biceps training:



Muscle-Building Training

If you have decided to make your biceps bigger, you must choose those push-ups that allow you to perform more push-ups with repetition of sets.


The following is the schedule for the push-up repetitions:

  • 3 sets

  • 9 to 14 repetitions

  • A gap of 1 to 3 minutes between each set


After mastering this schedule, you can also make these repetitions more difficult.


This will help you build your biceps quickly. This type of muscle-building training is also known as “hypertrophy training.”


Strength Training

To add more strength to your biceps, you must increase the intensity of your push-ups.


These push-ups put a lot of pressure on your biceps to activate them and make them stronger.


You can make the push-ups more challenging by elevating your feet, leaning forward, or elevating your hands.


The following is the schedule for strength training:


  • 3 to 5 sets

  • 4 to 8 repetitions

  • A gap of 3 to 6 minutes between each set


If you can do repetitions easily, consider switching to the push-up variations that are very difficult and intense.


This way, you’ll be able to strengthen your biceps through push-ups which will also increase your upper body strength. 


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Recommended Read: >>> How to Get Bigger Forearms Fast <<<

Best Push-ups for Biceps

Push-ups allow you to maintain a weight-bearing position and stress the straight-arm component.


A body-weight-bearing position means that the biceps bear the body’s weight. The biceps will have to bear the body’s full or partial weight depending on the push-ups. 


In workouts like PPPU (Pseudo Planche Push-up), your body mimics your position and is in a partial weight-bearing mode.


A study evaluates the effectiveness of different types of push-up variations. Besides that, the best push-ups for the biceps are those that allow tears, and tears occur when the biceps are in an extended position and the elbow is locked out.


The body demands the biceps create muscle tension when an injury occurs.


The following are the best push-ups for the biceps:


One-Armed Push-Ups

As the name suggests, a one-armed push-up is a push-up variation done with only one arm.


In this push-up, you have to tuck one of your arms behind your back and do the push-ups with one arm. To start this push-up, you can choose an elevated surface.


Also, consider dropping your knees because this is an advanced move. Follow these steps:


  • Begin with the traditional push-up position

  • Create more stability by widening the distance between your feet

  • Pick one of your hands and tuck it behind your back

  • Bring your body close to the ground 

  • Push your body upwards again and complete three sets of push-ups


Recommended Read: >>> Do Push-Ups Work Biceps? <<<

Close-Stance Push-Ups

The close-stance push-up is when you move your hands close to each other. This push-up allows you to target your biceps more directly. To do this push-up, follow these steps:


  • Start with the standard push-up position; make sure your neck is neutral, and your torso is rigid

  • Bring your hands closer to each other; the closer your hands are, the more difficult this push-up is

  • Bring your body close to the ground in such a way that your elbow is bent at 45 degrees

  • Repeat these steps and do as many push-ups as you can


Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Arm Training <<<

Reverse Hands Push Ups

This is a different type of push-up in which you must keep your hands reversed.


You must keep your arms in an arm-curling position to target the biceps. This is also an advanced push-up, so you must start with your knees.


To start with these push-ups, follow these steps:


  • Begin with the standard push-up style

  • Position your hands so that they face your lower body

  • Tuck your elbows inside to lower your body as much as you can

  • Bring your body close to the ground and push back to go up

  • Complete these steps in three sets


Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Shoulder Training <<<

Wrap Up!

First, you must remember that your biceps won’t grow overnight; a lot of hard work is required to build upper body strength. If you combine push-ups in the right way, you will be building and strengthening your biceps muscles and enjoying other benefits.


For instance, push-ups help burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, build upper back muscles, and protect the shoulder joints. You don’t need any equipment to do these exercises; they are easy to learn. Push-ups work by using the body’s weight to target different core muscles.


There are numerous variations of push-ups that you can use to match your fitness level and strength. If you want to consider alternatives for building biceps, you can try other bodyweight exercises such as chin-ups, pull-ups, inverted curls, and inverted rows. 


(oh, and do keep in touch and check in with us regularly for more fantastic content. For a complete list of our previous blog posts, please go here)

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Do Push Ups Work Biceps - Frequently Asked Questions

Do narrow push ups and bicep curl work the same muscles?

Narrow pushups will put more emphasis on the tricep muscles whereas the bicep curls  targets the long head and short head of the bicep.

Should we start each pushup in the plank position?

With arms extended, yes you may do that

Should I ever do wide push ups or reverse grip push ups?

Wide pushups generally hit the chest muscle more. Reverse grip push ups need to be performed strictly as there is a slight risk of increased damage to muscles and tendons if performed incorrectly. 

Can I perform decline pushup?

The muscles worked during decline pushups will depend on the hand spacing but close grip with put emphasis on the triceps and shoulder width grip will work the chest and biceps more. 

Will incline and decline pushup build strength across lots of muscle groups?

Both styles will work the biceps, triceps and chest muscles with some muscle activation in the lats.

Which is the best starting position for push ups?

Arms extended is the ideal starting position as it allows you to tighten your core and be ready for the negative part of the movement. This is also the classic exercise position for this movement

Which is generally considered the best exercise or most effective exercise for biceps?

Barbell curls, close grip pull ups and dumbbell curls are generally considered good exercises for bigger arms and increased strength as they mainly work the arms.

Will a pull up bar work different muscles to the arms

Again, it depends on the movement style and hand spacing. But pull up bars generally work lats and biceps. 

Are bicep press ups and bicep push ups the same?

Bicep press ups and bicep push ups are the same exercise and both will stimulate the biceps muscle. The will work just your upper body.

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Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Chest Training <<<

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