Pike Push Up

Pike Push Up That Will Challenge Strength And Flexibility

Pike push up is an excellent exercise. It will help you develop your shoulder muscles. However, it will work other muscles too.

It will help to prepare your body for harder exercises like handstand push ups.

This is not the easiest exercise. You will need a significant amount of strength and flexibility to perform it.

Believe me I struggled with both flexibility and strength when I first tried it. This exercise still challenges my hamstring flexibility. This makes me humble and I fully respect its difficulty.

Even though I can do wall handstand push ups, this exercise poses another kind of challenge for me.

What is a pike push up?

Pike Push Up

Pike push ups do have a “push up” in their name. It also looks similar to a regular push up to some degree. However, even though it’s named similar and looks similar, it’s an entirely different exercise.

Regular push ups are performed with your entire body in a straight line. They are primarily used to target your chest muscles.

When you are ascending and descending during the push up, the upper part of your body moves up and down.

Since your arms are positioned in an angle to your body, your body will endure different forces. To compensate for those forces, your chest and triceps muscles will do most of the work.

While performing pike push ups you will be bent in your hips. Because of your body position during the exercise, you wont work your chest muscles too much. It will work more on your shoulders.

The force you will be exerting with pike push ups will go through your arms in a straight line. Your upper body and your arms will be in a straight line.

In pike push up you will be pushing to the ground directly, or at a slight angle. This will load mostly your shoulders and your triceps muscles.

Main benefits

Pike push ups are great for developing strength and size of your shoulders. They also help improve your core stability and strength.

This exercise will also demand flexibility, especially in your hamstrings. It will improve your hamstrings flexibility when you decrease the angle between your legs and your upper body.

Ideally, you will be able to be positioned with your body forming a 90 degree angle to the floor. Your legs will be positioned in an angle less than 90 degrees to your upper body.

This is still not possible for me. But I’m working on improving my hamstrings flexibility.

When you perform this exercise, you will also improve mobility of your shoulders.

This exercise can be performed without any equipment. This makes it an excellent choice when you don’t have access to gym.

Pike push ups are a great exercise to add to your upper body or push workouts.

Pike push up muscles worked

As already mentioned, pike push up is an exercise that will be used to work your shoulders. However, there are other muscles involved in this exercise too.

Pike push up muscles worked:


  • Delts
  • Triceps
  • Chest
  • Traps
  • Serratus anterior


  • Core
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves

How to achieve a perfect form?

To perform a pike push up with perfect form your upper body will be positioned as close to 90 degrees to the floor as possible.

You will be bent in your hips and your body will form an A shape.

Your legs will be straight and form less than 90 degree angle to your upper body.

Your toes and your hands will be positioned on the floor.

So, your butt will be the highest point of your body in this position. This starting position is pretty close to a downward dog yoga pose.

You will aim to push against the floor with your arms and move up and down by bending your elbows. The up and down movement will be performed by moving your head directed between your arms to your hands on the floor.

During the movement you will try to keep your body in A frame. You will always try to return to the same starting position.

Don’t allow your butt to drop down. This may happen if you don’t completely straighten your arms with each rep.

How to do a pike push up?

When you position yourself in the starting position explained above, you can start the exercise.

Downward movement:

To start downward movement, bend your arms in your elbows. Allow your head to go down toward your hands positioned on the floor.

Keep on lowering down as much as you can. If you can, touch the ground with your head. But, don’t rest your head on the floor.

Upward movement:

To start upward movement push against the floor. Extend your arms in your elbows. Keep on pushing until you reach the starting A frame position.

Continue doing these movements for reps.

Pike push up progression

If you are still not able to do this challenging move, you can start with easier exercises. Easier exercises will help you increase your strength and flexibility so you can do your first pike push up.

You can do easier exercises than pike push ups to prepare your body. Here are a few exercises that you can try from easiest to hardest:

If this exercise is getting too easy for you, you can try harder exercises that will challenge you more. Here are some harder exercises you can try from easiest to hardest:

Pike push ups are a part of a handstand push up progression. They stand somewhere in the beginning of this progression.

Key takeaways

Pike push ups are excellent exercise to develop your shoulder muscles size and strength. It will improve both your strength and flexibility.

This exercise is a part of a handstand push up progression. When you master this exercise you are well on your way to master another impressive calisthenics skill.

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