If you’re like most people, your first thought when you hear the word “push-up” is probably something like: “Do push-ups work your abs?” Do push-ups target the rectus abdominis muscles? Are push-ups good for your core? Can you get a six-pack from doing them? These are all very valid questions that, luckily, we can answer. In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not push-ups work your abs and reveal whether or not they’re an effective way to train your core.
Do Push-Ups Work Abs?
Yes. Push-ups are a great all-around exercise for building strength and endurance in your abs. They definitely work the rectus abdominis muscles, which, as we discussed in the previous section, are one of the main muscles responsible for your six-pack. However, push-ups may not be the best way to strengthen your abs. In fact, many fitness experts claim that doing push-ups won’t give you a six-pack because they’re too hard on your lower back and shoulder joints. The truth is that push-ups are an excellent exercise for building core strength and improving overall body balance. However, when it comes to getting a six-pack, it’s much better to focus on other exercises that target your abs more specifically like planks (see below) or weighted crunches.
How Do Push-Ups Work Your Abs?
- The most obvious reason push-ups work your abs is because of the way they strengthen the chest and arms. The chest and arms are primary muscles in pushing movements, such as when you pick up a heavy object or swing a golf club. In fact, the only muscles in your entire body that are directly involved when you do push-ups are your pectoralis major (chest) and triceps brachii (arms).
- Another reason push-ups work your abs is because of the way they strengthen the core muscles. While some people may think that “core” refers to all of the abdominal muscles, this is not technically correct. The “core” refers to a specific group of abdominal muscles – those that are located along the spine from front to back and from side to side. These include rectus abdominis (front), transversus abdominis (side), obliques (side), and piriformis muscle (back). This group of abdominal muscles is responsible for holding up all of your trunk organs – including all of your internal organs!
- A third reason push-ups work your abs is because they strengthen the hips by strengthening hip abductors, which help you raise yourself off the floor when doing sit-ups, or when doing other exercises where you have to lift one leg at a time off of an elevated surface or bench while still holding onto it with both hands.
- When you do a push-up, you use extra energy to stabilize yourself so that it takes less energy for your arms to move up and down as opposed to moving up and down on their own!
- The abdominals work alongside the shoulders (and other stabilizing muscles) during a push-up in order to help maintain stability while performing this exercise! Since these muscles aren’t usually used in an exercise like this, they actually burn quite a bit more calories than one would expect!
How To Do Push-Ups Correctly?
In order to get the maximum benefits from push-ups, you have to do them the right way. When you do a push-up incorrectly, you may place too much pressure on your wrists or experience reduced core activation. Here are a few pointers for a proper push-up:
- Keep your spine straight and core engaged throughout the exercise.
- Make sure to keep your body in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.
- Focus on lowering yourself until your chest touches the floor and then pushing back up to the starting position.
- If you can’t do push-ups with your hands and feet on the floor, try an elevated push-up.
What Muscles Do Push-Ups Work?
As we mentioned before, push-ups primarily target the pectoral muscles and the triceps, which are located in the upper arm below the shoulder.
- The core muscles are also engaged during the push-up since they are responsible for stabilizing the spine and pelvis while the arms are moving.
- The hip flexors are also used during the push-up and are located on the front side of the body and are used to lift your knee toward your chest.
- The abdominal muscles are located underneath the pectoral muscles and the triceps and are therefore worked indirectly during a push-up. The core and hip flexor muscles are also engaged during this movement.
Are Push Ups Good For Your Core?
As we’ve discussed, push-ups do not provide a great workout for your core. That being said, they can still be used as part of a well-designed core workout. The core muscles are used in almost every exercise you do. If you want to build a strong core, then the best thing you can do is mix and match different exercises that target the different core muscles. Let’s go over a few examples of core workouts that also incorporate push-ups. To do so, we’ll first need to figure out which core muscles each exercise works.
- Push-Ups – The push-up is an excellent full-body exercise that targets the Pec major, the Pec minor, the Anterior deltoid, the Triceps, the Rhomboids, and the Scapulae retractors.
- Reverse Crunch – The reverse crunch targets the rectus abdominis, the external obliques, the Transversus abdominis, and the Internal obliques.
- Hanging Leg Raise – The hanging leg raise targets the rectus abdominis, the external obliques, the Transversus abdominis, and the Internal obliques.
- Gut Buster Workout – This workout targets the rectus abdominis and the transversus abdominis.
What Benefits Push-Ups Work Your Abs?
- The hips flexed forward help to stabilize the trunk during push-ups, which helps to target the hip flexors. In combination, these muscles are responsible for moving you up and down while in a push-up position.
- The majority of people who do push-ups do so incorrectly. The main muscle group used in push-ups is not the pectoral muscles but rather the triceps – these muscles are located on the back side of your arms and perform an important function in supporting shoulder movement. These muscles can be trained by doing dips or push-ups with hands on a bench or wall.
- Dips also work your abs indirectly because they involve movements similar to those used in a full push-up: bending at the elbows and lowering yourself towards the floor/bench, then pushing yourself up again as you straighten out from this position. This type of movement is similar to that seen in a full push-up – although dips don’t include tilting at all!
Push-ups are a classic exercise that works for multiple muscle groups. While they primarily target the pectoral muscles and secondarily target the abdominal muscles, they are considered an abdominal exercise due to the fact that the abdominal muscles are indirectly targeted. As push-ups primarily target the upper portion of the core, the lower portion receives less attention. This means that the abdominal muscles are indirectly hit during a push-up. You should consider push-ups as an abdominal exercise and include them in your core workout routine. Push-ups primarily target the upper portion of the core and the abdominal muscles are located on the lower portion.