Pike Push Up Muscles Worked

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Pike push ups are a challenging exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Read on to find out about the muscles engaged during the pike push-up.

Pike push ups are a challenging exercise

Pike push ups are a great exercise that uses your body weight to work the chest and shoulders.

The exercise helps build strength in these muscles, which helps with everyday movement and prevents injury. There are different ways to perform pike push ups.

Pike push ups can be done on the floor or using equipment to elevate yourself.

Eitherway, these can be done at home without the need for expensive gym subscriptions of apparatus. 


Pike push-ups can be done on the floor, or using two benches set shoulder-width apart.

You could lay on the floor as if you were to perform a regular push-up then raise your buttocks and close your feet and hands together.

This should create a triangular shape or an 'A' with your buttocks being the apex of the triangle. Essentially you are in the downward dog position.

Then use your arms to lower and extend to and from the floor, adjust your repetitions based on your strength levels and ability.

When you perform a pike push-up, make sure to practice the correct form. Start slowly and dial into your form. It should not be so difficult that your head touches the floor, but try to lower your head to the floor as slowly as you can. Don't force it - this can result in injury.

It's a core exercise

The pike push-up requires strong core muscles and is a major shoulder strengthener.

Pike push-ups also require precise form as you have to shift your weight forward and fire your core to maintain balance.

In addition to working the chest and shoulders, pike push ups also work the abdominal muscles and hamstrings. 

Pike push-ups are also a good progression toward handstand pushups. The pike push-up develops shoulder strength and vertical pushing power and is a great exercise for beginners to advance into more difficult moves.

Primary muscles

The Pike Push Up works both the primary and secondary muscles of the chest. To perform one, you begin in a plank position with your shoulders stacked above your wrists and core engaged.

Then, you walk your feet toward your hands while lifting your hips. Once you reach the hands, lift your head to the middle of the arms. 

The Pike Push Up is one of the best bodyweight exercises. This exercise is especially useful for developing core strength and core stability.

You can also do an elevated version by placing your feet on an object. This will help target the back muscles while working the chest.

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A pike push up is a great workout for the shoulders as the weight is focused on the shoulders instead of the chest.

It's an exercise that requires proper form and a strong core. It also builds strength and flexibility.  

Several muscles work together in the shoulder to support and stabilize the joint. They surround the joint space, hold the bones in place and allow for a wide range of movement.

However, they are prone to instability and injuries. Consequently, shoulder muscles are often injured during contact sports.

The shoulder blade is made up of the humerus and the glenoid process. The joint is surrounded by a synovial membrane. White hyaline cartilage allows the bones to glide on each other.

The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint between the humerus and the glenoid processes of the scapula.

Shoulder muscles work to elevate and protract the scapula. They also work to support the arm. Some muscles also work to flex and rotate the arm.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. It includes the supra- and infraspinatus muscles.

These muscles attach to the back of the shoulder blade and to the upper part of the humerus. They are primarily responsible for maintaining the shoulder's stability.

The scapula is supported by the trapezius, which is a triangular-shaped muscle. It is innervated by the spinal accessory nerve.

The trapezius also extends partway down the spine. The descending trapezius draws the scapula superomedially and the ascending trapezius rotates the head.

The deltoid is a large muscle that consists of two types of fibres: anterior and posterior. The anterior fibres work to rotate the arm and to stop dislocation of the humerus. The posterior fibres work to flex and extend the arm.

They work the arms

The pike push up is a common exercise that works the triceps, and biceps. The Pike push-up is a challenging exercise, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulty. A variety of push-up variations can help you achieve a more complete and functional triceps workout.

The muscles of the arm are located in three compartments. The anterior compartment mainly focuses on flexion of the wrist. The posterior compartment includes the coracobrachialis muscle and the triceps brachii muscle.

The triceps brachii muscle is the main extensor of the forearm. It acts as an adductor at the shoulder joint. The triceps brachii is innervated by the musculocutaneous nerve (C5-C6) and the median nerve.

The anconeus muscle is a small triangular muscle located on the posterior side of the elbow. It stretches between the lateral epicondyle of the humerus and the lateral surface of the olecranon of the ulna.

This muscle assists the triceps brachii in extending the elbow. It is innervated by the radial nerve (C7-C8).

The long head of the biceps brachii muscle originates from the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula.

This muscle flexes the elbow joint and has an important stabilizing role at the shoulder joint. Its tendon attaches to the top of the radius and radial tuberosity of the radius.

The latissimus dorsi muscle heads stabilize the shoulder joint and contribute to forearm extension. The muscle heads fuse together when the muscle is distal extending. 

The core is engaged

A great benefit of pike push ups is that they strengthen the stabilizer muscles, which allow natural momentum and multiplanar motion. 

Core muscles work together to keep your body stable and upright. They also play a crucial role in controlling your spine and pelvis. A weak core can lead to lower back pain, poor posture, and other injuries.

There are numerouscore muscles, including the transverse abdominis, the diaphragm, the rectus abdominis, the internal obliques, the psoas major, and the psoas minor.

Each of these muscles has a specific function and should be trained properly to avoid injury.

Core exercises are important because they strengthen and align the back muscles, which in turn reduces the risk of injuries. A strong core also helps you perform better in your daily life, improves your posture, and enhances your balance.


Performing pike push ups can be a great way to build bigger shoulders without using much weight.

They work a wide range of muscles including the triceps, deltoids, serratus anterior, pectoralis major and lateral deltoid.

They also strengthen the core and stabilize the spine.

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