Do Pushups Work Biceps? The Jaw-Dropping Answer You’ve Been Waiting For

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Are you feeling stuck in your pushup routine, wondering if you’re doing enough to target those biceps?


You’re not alone.


The question “do pushups work biceps?” has been a topic of debate among fitness lovers for years.


But worry no more!


We’re here to help you get the most out of your pushup game and unlock the full potential of your biceps. No more confusion, no more uncertainty – just actionable insights to maximize your gains and boost your confidence in the gym.


In this blog post, we’ll discuss the relationship between pushups and bicep engagement, explore different pushup variations that give your biceps some extra attention, and provide you with other exercises you can incorporate to maximize those bicep gains.


We’ll use our knowledge and expertise to guide you through this muscle-building journey, with a conversational and light-hearted tone to keep things engaging and fun.


So, get ready to flex those brain muscles and uncover the jaw-dropping answer to whether pushups work biceps.


Let’s do this!


Understanding Pushups And Their Impact On Muscles

Mastering pushup form and technique


  • Ready to conquer the pushup world? It’s crucial to perfect your form and technique to reap the full benefits of this exercise.


  • Nailing the proper form ensures that you’re effectively targeting the intended muscle groups and not placing unnecessary strain on other areas, reducing the risk of injury.


  • Additionally, mastering the correct technique helps you maintain control and stability throughout the movement, maximizing the pushup’s efficiency.


  • By focusing on quality over quantity, you’ll see better results in terms of muscle growth, strength, and endurance.


  • Remember, practice makes perfect: as you consistently work on your pushup form, your body will adapt, and the movement will become more natural and effective.


The muscles targeted by standard pushups


  • Pushups may seem deceptively simple, but they’re working a muscle medley, including:

    • Chest (pectoralis major)

    • Shoulders (anterior deltoids)

    • Triceps and Biceps

    • Core (abs, obliques, and lower back)

    • Legs (quads and glutes)


  • Surprise! Pushups are a sneaky full upper-body workout, with some bonus lower-body engagement.


How biceps come into play during pushups


  • Pushups mainly focus on the chest, shoulders, and triceps, but biceps aren’t entirely left out of the party.


  • Your biceps serve as stabilizers during pushups, lending support and control, while also assisting in elbow flexion.


  • However, the level of bicep engagement in standard pushups is minimal compared to other exercises specifically designed to target the biceps.


  • But if you’re dreaming of bulging biceps, relying on pushups alone might not cut it. Stay tuned to learn about pushup variations and other exercises that will give those biceps the limelight they crave!


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Do Pushups Work Biceps Directly? Time To Find Out!

Primary muscle groups activated during pushups


  • Let’s recap the main stars of the pushup show:

    • Chest (pectoralis major)

    • Shoulders (anterior deltoids)

    • Triceps and Biceps


  • These primary muscle groups are the ones working the hardest, while other muscles assist and stabilize.


The indirect role of biceps in pushups


  • Now, about those biceps… are they just bystanders in the pushup game? Not quite.


  • Although they aren’t the main focus, biceps do play a supporting role as stabilizers.


  • They help with elbow flexion and control, ensuring smooth movement throughout the exercise.


  • However, the bicep action in pushups is more of a cameo than a leading role.


Pushup limitations for bicep development


  • So, do pushups work biceps? Yes, but indirectly and to a lesser extent than other exercises.


  • While pushups can help tone and strengthen your biceps, they’re not the most efficient way to build bicep mass or achieve peak bicep strength.


  • If boulder-like biceps are your goal, incorporating other exercises targeting biceps directly, such as curls or chin-ups, is a smart move.


  • That said, pushups remain an excellent full-body workout, and there are even variations to target biceps more effectively (we’ll get to those shortly!).


Pushup Variations To Better Target Your Biceps

Let’s now go in to the bicep pushup exercises and understand the benefits, how many sets and how to do them!


Exercise Name

Sets and Reps

Muscles Worked


Underhand (Bicep) Pushups

3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Biceps, chest, shoulders, and triceps

Keep elbows close to body; ensure wrists are aligned with shoulders; engage core

Archer Pushups

3-4 sets of 6-10 reps per side

Chest, triceps, shoulders, biceps, and core

Maintain straight body line; engage core; control breathing; avoid shoulder strain

Dive Bomber Pushups

3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and core

Keep hips and back flexible; start in a wider stance; transition smoothly between positions

Spiderman Pushups

3-4 sets of 8-10 reps per side

Chest, triceps, shoulders, biceps, and core

Keep body straight; engage core; maintain balance; avoid overextending knee towards elbow

Diamond Pushups

3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Chest, triceps, shoulders, and biceps

Position hands correctly; maintain proper form; avoid flaring elbows outwards; control breathing

#1 Underhand (Bicep) Pushups: Give Your Biceps an Unconventional Boost

Underhand pushups, also known as bicep pushups, are an innovative variation of the standard pushup that places more emphasis on the biceps and forearms.


Muscles Worked:

  • Primary: Biceps, forearms
  • Secondary: Chest (pectoralis major), shoulders (deltoids), triceps, and core (abs and lower back)

How To Do The Exercise:


1. Start in a standard pushup position, but instead of placing your hands palms-down, rotate your hands so that your fingers point towards your toes.


2. Keeping your elbows close to your body, lower yourself down by bending your arms.


3. Push back up to the starting position, maintaining the underhand grip throughout.


Recommended Sets and Reps:

  • Begin with 3 sets of 6-10 reps, depending on your fitness level. As you grow stronger, increase the sets or reps accordingly.


Tips To Help:


  • Keep your core engaged and your back straight to maintain proper form.


  • Progress slowly, as this exercise can feel unusual at first.


  • If you find the underhand grip challenging, try performing the exercise with pushup bars or hexagonal dumbbells for added stability.


Things You Must Avoid:


  • Avoid flaring your elbows out, as this may lead to shoulder strain.


  • Don’t let your hips sag, as this can result in lower back pain.


  • Resist the urge to rush through your reps; focus on slow, controlled movements for maximum effectiveness.


Dare to be different and try underhand (bicep) pushups for a fresh take on an old classic. Your biceps will thank you, and you’ll be turning heads with your unconventional workout moves!

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#2 Archer Pushups

Archer pushups are an advanced pushup variation that challenges your upper body strength, stability, and balance.


This dynamic exercise involves extending one arm out to the side while lowering your body using the other arm, mimicking the motion of drawing a bow and arrow.


Muscles Worked:


Chest, triceps, shoulders, biceps, and core.


How To Do The Exercise:


    1. Start in a standard pushup position with your hands shoulder-width apart.

    2. Spread your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width for extra stability.

    3. Slowly lower your body towards the ground while simultaneously extending one arm out to the side, keeping it straight.

    4. Push yourself back up with the working arm while retracting the extended arm back to the starting position.

    5. Repeat on the other side, alternating arms with each repetition.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


  • 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps per side.



Tips To Help:


  • Focus on maintaining a straight body line throughout the exercise.


  • Keep your core engaged to maintain stability and balance.


  • Experiment with different hand positions to target different muscle groups.


  • Breathe out as you push yourself up and breathe in as you lower down.



Things You Must Avoid:


  • Don’t rush through the exercise; perform each rep with control.


  • Avoid letting your hips sag or lifting them too high.


  • Don’t overextend your extended arm, as it may lead to shoulder strain or injury.


#3 Dive Bomber Pushups: Dive Into a New Challenge

Dive bomber pushups are a dynamic, full-body pushup variation that will add some serious spice to your workout routine.


They primarily target your chest and shoulders while also engaging your biceps, triceps, and core muscles.


Muscles Worked:


  • Primary: Chest (pectoralis major), shoulders (deltoids), biceps, and triceps


  • Secondary: Core (abs and lower back), glutes, and hamstrings


How To Do The Exercise:


  1. Start in a pike position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Your hips should be raised, and your body should form an inverted V.

  2. Lower your chest towards the ground while bending your elbows, then swoop your chest forward and up, keeping it close to the ground.

  3. Straighten your arms and lift your chest, ending in an upward-facing dog position with your hips close to the ground.

  4. Reverse the movement by lowering your chest, pushing your hips back and up, and returning to the starting pike position.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


  • Begin with 3 sets of 6-8 reps. As you gain strength and master the form, gradually increase the number of sets or reps.



Tips To Help:


  • Keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line throughout the exercise.


  • Focus on maintaining a smooth, controlled movement as you transition between positions.


  • Breathe in as you lower your chest and breathe out as you push back up.


Things You Must Avoid:


  • Don’t rush through the exercise; take your time and prioritize proper form.


  • Avoid letting your hips sag or piking them too high during the movement.


  • Make sure not to hold your breath; proper breathing is essential for optimal performance.


Give dive bomber pushups a try and experience a whole new level of upper body challenge.

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

#4 Spiderman Pushups: Unleash Your Inner Superhero

Spiderman pushups are an exciting and challenging pushup variation that not only targets your biceps, but also engages your core and lower body, making you feel like a true superhero in the process!


Muscles Worked:


  • Primary: Chest (pectoralis major), biceps, shoulders (deltoids), and core (abs and lower back)
  • Secondary: Obliques, hip flexors, glutes, and quadriceps



How To Do The Exercise:


    1. Begin in a standard pushup position, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line.

    2. As you lower your body down, bend your right knee and bring it up towards your right elbow.

    3. Push back up to the starting position while returning your right leg to its original position.

    4. Repeat the movement, this time bringing your left knee to your left elbow.


Recommended Sets and Reps:


  • Start with 3 sets of 6-8 reps per side. As you become stronger and more comfortable with the movement, gradually increase the number of sets or reps.



Tips To Help:


  • Focus on maintaining proper form and engaging your core throughout the exercise.


  • Keep your movements slow and controlled to maximize muscle activation.


  • To increase the challenge, try alternating the knee-to-elbow movement with each rep.



Things You Must Avoid:


  • Avoid letting your hips sag or piking them too high, as this can compromise your form and potentially lead to injury.


  • Don’t rush through the reps; quality is more important than quantity.


  • Make sure not to hold your breath; breathe in as you lower your body and breathe out as you push back up.


Embrace your inner superhero and give Spiderman pushups a try! Your biceps and the rest of your muscles will thank you for the challenge.

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#5 Diamond Pushups: A Shining Addition to Your Workout

Diamond pushups are a variation of the standard pushup that targets your triceps and chest, with an added focus on your biceps.


Muscles Worked:


  • Primary: Triceps, chest (pectoralis major)


  • Secondary: Biceps, shoulders (deltoids), and core (abs and lower back)



How To Do The Exercise:


    1. Start in a standard pushup position, but bring your hands close together under your chest.

    2. Position your fingers to form a diamond shape, with your index fingers and thumbs touching.

    3. Lower your body, keeping your back straight and elbows close to your sides.

    4. Push back up to the starting position, maintaining the diamond hand shape throughout.



Recommended Sets and Reps:


    • Begin with 3 sets of 8-12 reps, depending on your fitness level. Increase sets or reps as you build strength.



Tips To Help:


  • Keep your core engaged to maintain proper form.


  • Focus on lowering your chest towards the ground, rather than your head.


  • Don’t be discouraged if you find it challenging at first; you can start with knee pushups or incline pushups and work your way up.



Things You Must Avoid:


  • Avoid flaring your elbows out to the sides, as this can strain your shoulders.


  • Don’t let your hips sag, as this can lead to lower back pain.


  • Resist the temptation to rush through your reps; slow and controlled movements will yield better results.



Give diamond pushups a try for some serious sparkle in your upper body workout. They may be tough, but you’ll feel like a million bucks when you start seeing those bicep gains!

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Don't stop at pushups! Additional exercises to target biceps

Old but gold: bicep curls


  • Ah, the classic bicep curl! We couldn’t talk about bicep exercises without mentioning this gem.


  • With dumbbells or a barbell, you’ll be flexing those biceps in no time.


  • Remember to maintain proper form and keep your elbows close to your body.


When pushups aren’t enough: hammer curls


  • Hammer time! No, we’re not dancing; we’re talking about hammer curls.


  • Rotate those dumbbells, so your palms face each other, and let’s give those biceps and forearms a run for their money.


  • Steady pace and controlled movements are the keys to success here.


Reach for the sky (or the bar): chin-ups


  • Nothing says “I’m working my biceps” quite like chin-ups.


  • Grab that pull-up bar with an underhand grip, and let’s show gravity who’s boss!


  • Engage your core, and avoid swinging your body for maximum gains.


Let’s get focused with concentration curls


  • Ready to concentrate on those biceps? We’ve got the perfect exercise for you.


  • The concentration curl isolates the bicep, so it’s doing all the heavy lifting (pun intended).


  • Find a comfortable seated position, plant your elbow on your thigh, and curl that dumbbell like it’s going out of style.


There you have it! Pushup variations are just the beginning.


Incorporate these additional exercises into your routine, and watch your biceps flourish. Let’s get those arms pumped, champ!


Recommended Read: >>> The 7 Best Dumbbell Push Ups Exercises You Should Do<<<

Designing the ideal workout routine for bicep growth

The importance of compound and isolation exercises


  • Your biceps will thank you for including both compound and isolation exercises in your routine.


  • Compound exercises, like pushups and chin-ups, target multiple muscle groups, while isolation exercises, like curls, focus on one.


  • Mixing it up ensures balanced development and keeps your workouts fresh and exciting.


Giving biceps special attention with isolation exercises


  • Don’t be shy; it’s okay to give your biceps some extra love.


  • Isolation exercises, such as concentration curls and hammer curls, let your biceps shine in the spotlight.


  • Your biceps deserve their time to shine, so let them have it!


Progressive overload and exercise progression for growth


  • Want to see those biceps grow? Challenge them with progressive overload.


  • Gradually increase resistance, reps, or sets to keep your muscles working harder.


  • Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were your biceps. Patience and persistence are key.


Balancing workout frequency and volume


  • It’s all about balance: don’t overdo it, but don’t slack off, either.


  • Strive for a balance between frequency (how often you work out) and volume (how much you do in each session).


  • Listen to your body, and adjust your workouts accordingly. It’s a team effort, after all!


The crucial role of rest and recovery


  • And now for the unsung hero of bicep growth: rest!


  • Give your biceps time to recover and grow by taking rest days and getting enough sleep.


  • Treat yourself to some relaxation—you’ve earned it, champ!


With the right combination of exercises, progression, balance, and rest, you’ll be on your way to sculpting those biceps of your dreams.


Keep pushing yourself, and remember to enjoy the journey!


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

Nutrition and lifestyle factors for impressive bicep gains

Protein: essential for muscle growth


  • Biceps hungry? Feed them protein!


  • Protein is the building block of muscles, so make sure you’re getting enough in your diet.


  • Aim for a variety of protein sources like lean meats, fish, legumes, and dairy.


Carbohydrates and fats: important for overall health


  • Don’t forget about carbs and fats; they’re essential, too!


  • Carbs fuel your workouts and help with recovery, while healthy fats support hormone production and overall well-being.


  • Choose whole grains, fruits, and veggies for carbs, and nuts, seeds, and avocados for healthy fats.


Staying hydrated for peak performance


  • Water, water everywhere, and every drop to drink!


  • Staying hydrated is crucial for muscle function, digestion, and overall health.


  • Keep a water bottle handy and drink up to keep those biceps pumping.


Sleep and stress management for optimal gains


  • Tuck in those biceps and catch some Z’s—sleep is essential for muscle recovery and growth.


  • Manage stress through mindfulness, deep breathing, or any relaxation technique that works for you.


  • Remember: a well-rested, stress-free body is a bicep-growing machine!


By paying attention to your nutrition and lifestyle factors, you’ll set the stage for bicep gains that are sure to impress.


Keep up the hard work, and don’t forget to treat your body with the care it deserves!


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

FAQs - Pushups and Bicep Building

Do push ups work the biceps?

While push ups mainly target chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles, biceps play a supporting role. To better target biceps, try various push up variations and other exercises.


Can push ups help increase chest muscle strength?

Absolutely! Push ups are an effective bodyweight exercise that primarily targets chest muscles, helping increase strength and endurance.


Do pushups train biceps?

While pushups are primarily known for targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps, they also engage the biceps to some extent. However, the activation of the biceps muscle during a pushup is relatively minimal compared to other exercises like chin-ups or curls. If your main goal is to train your biceps, it’s best to incorporate more targeted exercises into your workout routine.


Does doing pushups help with biceps growth and make your arms bigger?

Although pushups do work the biceps to a certain degree, they are not the most effective exercise for biceps growth or increasing arm size. Pushups mainly focus on the chest, shoulders, and triceps. To achieve more significant biceps growth and bigger arms, consider incorporating biceps-specific exercises, such as dumbbell curls, hammer curls, or chin-ups, into your workout routine.


Can pushups be part of a comprehensive workout for overall muscle development, including biceps?

Absolutely! Pushups can be a valuable component of a well-rounded workout routine. Although they primarily target the chest, shoulders, and triceps, they do engage other muscles like the biceps, core, and lower body. Incorporating pushups into your workout can help develop overall muscle strength and balance, and when combined with other exercises targeting the biceps, you’ll be on your way to a more comprehensive and effective workout.


Are narrow push ups better for targeting upper arm muscles?

Narrow push ups, such as diamond push ups, place more emphasis on the triceps, but also engage the biceps to a certain extent.


How do pull ups work compared to push ups?

Pull ups primarily target the upper back and bicep muscles, while push ups focus on chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles. Combining both exercises can lead to a well-rounded upper body workout.


Can I combine push ups and dumbbell curls for bigger arms?

Yes! Combining push ups with isolation exercises like dumbbell curls can help develop bigger, stronger arms by targeting different muscle groups.


What are some effective bodyweight exercises for upper body muscles?

Some popular bodyweight exercises for upper body strength include push ups, pull ups, inverted rows, and dips.


Do standard push ups work shoulder muscles?

Yes, standard push ups engage shoulder muscles, specifically the anterior deltoids, to provide stability and strength during the exercise.


Can wide push ups help develop back muscles?

Wide push ups primarily target the chest, but they do engage the upper back muscles, such as the latissimus dorsi, to a lesser extent.


Is the decline pushup a more challenging chest exercise?

Yes, decline pushups increase the difficulty of the classic exercise by placing more emphasis on the upper chest and shoulder muscles.


What is the plank position’s role in a push up?

The plank position is the starting point for a push up, engaging the core and ensuring proper form throughout the exercise.


What are some of the best exercises for targeting the serratus anterior muscle?

Push ups, particularly narrow and decline variations, effectively engage the serratus anterior muscle.


How can I use a pullup bar to target different muscles?

A pullup bar can be used for various exercises, such as pull ups, chin ups, and hanging leg raises, to target different muscle groups, including biceps, back, and core.


Is there such a thing as an all-in-one upper body exercise?

While no single exercise can target every upper body muscle, combining compound exercises like push ups, pull ups, and rows can provide a comprehensive workout.


How can I increase strength in my torso?

To increase torso strength, focus on exercises that engage your core, such as planks, push ups, and leg raises.


Can I increase my upper body strength using only a bench and my body weight?

Yes! You can perform exercises like push ups, dips, and step-ups using a bench and your body weight to increase upper body strength.


What are some other exercises that can work the biceps?

In addition to pushups, there are many other exercises that can engage your biceps. Some examples include bicep exercises with dumbbells, hammer curls, and lateral bicep curls.

Are there workouts to specifically target the short head of the biceps?

Yes, there are specific short head bicep exercises that can help you build and strengthen this part of the muscle.

Can I workout my biceps at home?

Absolutely! There are many effective bicep workouts at home that you can do with minimal equipment.

How do I increase the width of my biceps?

There are several techniques and exercises that can help. We’ve outlined the best way to increase biceps width in this comprehensive guide.

Can pushups help add size to my biceps?

While pushups can engage the biceps, there are more targeted exercises if your goal is to add 1 inch to your biceps.

What are some quick bicep workouts?

If you’re pressed for time, a 5 minute dumbbell bicep workout can be a great way to efficiently work your arms.

Can I work out my biceps and triceps on the same day?

Yes, you can workout your bicep and tricep on the same day. It can be a good strategy for a balanced arm workout.

What are some beginner-friendly bicep workouts?

If you’re just starting out, you might find our guide on bicep workouts for beginners helpful. It includes a variety of exercises to get you started on your fitness journey.

How can I target the long head of my biceps?

There are specific exercises that can help you target the long head of your biceps. Check out these long head bicep exercises for a detailed guide.

Can bodyweight exercises be effective for working the biceps?

Yes, bodyweight exercises can be very effective in building and toning your biceps. Here are some bodyweight bicep exercises you can try.

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

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So, do pushups work biceps?


A final recap


  • Drumroll, please! The answer is…partially.


  • Pushups are great for overall upper body strength, but they mainly target chest, shoulders, and triceps.


  • Biceps play a supporting role, but for more direct bicep engagement, try those variations and additional exercises.


Go ahead, experiment with those pushup variations and exercises


  • It’s time to play around with underhand (bicep) pushups, archer pushups, dive bomber pushups, Spiderman pushups, and diamond pushups.


  • Don’t be shy—your biceps will thank you later!


Remember, a balanced fitness routine is your ticket to success


  • Combine compound and isolation exercises, progressive overload, and the right frequency and volume for a well-rounded bicep workout.


  • Toss in a pinch of nutrition, a dash of hydration, and a generous helping of rest and stress management for the perfect recipe.


Now, you’re fully equipped to tackle those bicep gains with confidence.


Go forth, fitness enthusiast, and conquer those pushups like never before!



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