What are Pike Push Ups? 

The Pike Push Up is a great exercise for building up your strength, endurance and stability in your shoulders and core. It will give you a solid vertical pressing power, along with sculpting your upper body. This is a transition exercise which is often used for awesome skills such as the handstand and handstand push ups.

What muscles do Pike Push Ups work?

The primary muscles worked are: anterior deltoids, triceps, pectoralis major, trapezius and serratus anterior. The secondary muscles worked are: rectus abdominis, obliques, quadriceps and glutes.

How to do Pike Push Ups?

1. Start In a Plank Position

Start on all fours in a plank position, with your hands shoulders width apart and shoulders stacked on top of your wrists. Press hands and toes firmly into the floor.


2. Walk Your Feet Towards Your Hands

Engage your core and slowly walk your feet towards your hands, as you do this your hips will lift up and your body should form an inverted V shape between your torso and your legs. Your head will be in between your arms. Keep your arms and legs as straight as possible, and stay on your tiptoes.

3. Gradually Lower Down

Inhale, lean forward and lower down slowly by bending the elbows, keeping them tucked in towards your torso. Your forehead should gently touch the ground at the point in between your hands and above your fingers line.

4.Gradually Push Back Up

Whilst keeping your core and legs engaged,  exhale out of your mouth and push back up into the starting position. You will push overhead and shrug the shoulders up to complete each rep. This will ensure full range of motion, which is useful in building strength, flexibility, and size in the shoulders.

What is my recommended rep range?

Beginners should aim to do 2-3 reps of slow and controlled reps, for 4 sets, 3 times a week. Intermediate level individuals should practice this from 4-10 reps, for 4 sets, 3 times a week. Advanced level individuals should perform 10 or more reps, for 4 sets, 4 times a week. This article will cover 5 different variations of the Pike Push Up, ranging from beginners to advanced level, so this will benefit everyone!

What are the benefits of Pike Push Ups?

1.Build Shoulder Strength 

Pike Push Up is a progression to the traditional push up as it demands more from your shoulders muscles. It loads more weight onto the shoulders and triceps when pushing back up as the body will be in an inverted V shape position. On top of this, it will create hypertrophy in the deltoids using only your body weight!

2.Improve Balance And Stability 

This exercise is a core killer. A pike is when the hips bends, and your legs stay straight, so as you walk your feet in a pike position your core will be engaged to prevent your body from toppling forward. This means that your proprioceptive muscle fibres will be constantly put at work during this movement which improves your balance and stability. 

3.Improve Your Handstand

You can improve your handstand with the Pike Push Up. It develops your shoulders strength for hand balancing as well as vertical pushing power for the handstand push up. Like the handstand, the Pike Push Up puts more load over the upper body and into your shoulders. Another major benefit of this is that you don’t need to be able to hold a handstand to perform this, therefore making it a great beginner progression whilst you practice your handstand!

What are the different variations to Pike Push Ups?

Feet Elevated Pike Push Up

This variation is a progression to the pike push up, therefore, it is an advanced level exercise. You will put feet on an elevated surface such as a table, a chair, or a plyometric box as this will put more load into your upper body, especially your shoulders and triceps. To gain the most out of this exercise, you should stack your hips directly on top of your shoulders, and make sure to engage your core to prevent yourself from toppling over. The benefits of this is that it will create more overload and create more strength adaptation, when the pike push ups get easy.


Incline Pike Push Up

This variation is a regression to the Pike Push Up. So for the beginners out there, this is the perfect exercise for you. It primarily still works on your deltoids, triceps, pecs, and traps, but the only difference is that your hands are now placed on an elevated surface. As you get into the starting position, your weight will be distributed away from your upper body to your legs, therefore, reducing the load which makes this exercise easier to perform.


Dolphin Pose

The Dolphin pose requires you to be in a similar body shape to that of the Pike Push Up and the Downward-Facing Dog yoga pose. It is a regression exercise, which makes it a great practice for beginners. This variation is done on your forearms as your arms will be bent and your heart will be above your head. Instead of pushing up, you will remain in a static hold position.The benefits of the Dolphin Pose is that it strengthens and stretches the shoulders, triceps, traps, legs, as well as training the core.


Standard Push Up

The Standard Push Up is a classic and an essential exercise for building your upper body strength. You should master this exercise before moving onto the Pike Push Pp. Just like the Pike Push Up, this exercise does not require any equipment and will enhance your pushing strength as it works on the triceps, pectorals and shoulders.


Diamond Push Up

The Diamond Push up is a harder variation to that of the Standard Push Up. You can do this by bringing your hands close together (connecting your index fingers to each other, and your thumb to each other) to form a diamond or triangle shape below your chest. This variation is a progression to the Standard Push Up as it relies more on the triceps and limits the involvement in the pecs and shoulder muscles.

About the Author

My name is Pat Chadwick, I am a calisthenics coach with over 4 years of experience in helping people from all backgrounds to achieve their calisthenics goals. My goal is to become the number one calisthenics coach in the world as it is my passion to help people change their lives through inspiring bodyweight movements. I believe everyone deserves the right to feel good about their health, body, and be delighted inside and out.