Calisthenics is a simple way to train your body and build a strong physique. If you’re looking for an easy introductory push workout with calisthenics look no more.
You’ll get to see what are the best push exercises for beginners and what each muscle is doing while executing them. At the end, there will be a sample workout routine to get you started if you’re having trouble.
- Begin by getting in a plank position but instead of being on your elbows hold yourself up with your hands
- Keep your body ridged
- Brace yourself with your abs
- As you lower your body make sure to have a good muscle-mind connection
- Go lower until your chest is about an inch from touching the ground, pause for a second
- Push yourself back up to the starting position.
- Keeps your spine as straight as possible
- If keeping your feet together is hard split them apart to make it easier
- When lowering yourself down, don’t drop down into position, lower yourself down in a controlled manner
- Don’t flare out elbows
This exercise is the classic of the classics. You’ll see bodybuilders, athletes and even martial artists do this one until the end of time. It’s such a classic movement for pushing and can be done anywhere at any time.
This movement is the same as the normal push-up but just on your knees. If push ups are too hard for you then this is a great substitute.
- Start by getting on your knees
- Place your hands flat on the ground
- Lower yourself down in a controlled manner
- Push yourself back up without flaring the elbows
- Brace your core
- To make it harder lean more forward
- Go slower if you can’t feel the burn
This variation of the pushup is the more easy version of a classic. If you’re new, it’s great to get down the movement of the push-up if you’re not familiar with it. It’s also great for de-loading when you can’t do any more regular push-ups.
Parallel Bar Dips
- Grab the bars on both sides
- Jump into position with your feet not touching the floor
- Brace yourself with your arms and keep your back straight
- Lower yourself down slowly by leaning forward and bending your elbows
- Depending on how flexible your shoulders are the deeper you can go.
- Lower yourself down until you cant
- Push from your hands and elbows back into starting position
- Try not to flare out your elbows
- Depending on your body angle you’ll either work more chest or triceps
- If you feel pain in your shoulders check your form and go as low as you can handle
- If your having a hard time keeping yourself up it would be best to focus on the static portion at the top of the movement
This movement is more taxing than the push-up. Instead of pushing around 70-80% of your body weight, with dips you’re pushing all of your weight. So, if you feel pain or can’t fully do the exercises, no worries, there is an easier variation down below.
- Sit on the floor with your legs together and in front of you
- Take a chair and place it behind you
- Place hands on the edge of the chair
- Lower yourself down slowly
- Like the bar dip, it depends on your shoulder flexibility on how low you can go
- Hold at the bottom for a second
- Push yourself back up
- The height of the chair will determine the difficulty of the dip
- If you need more resistance place your feet on a higher surface
- Make sure the elbows don’t flare out
This variation of the dip is easier than the bar dip. It isolates the tricep muscles so you can reap the rewards of having bigger arms. And is a great way to work your way up to the bar dip. Also is a great way to damage your muscle even more after you can’t do bar dips anymore which is called de-loading.
Elevated Surface Push Ups
- Find a bench or chair to place your hands on
- Place your feet behind you together
- Brace your core to keep yourself straight
- Lower yourself until your chest touches the bench
- Push yourself back up to starting position
- While going down don’t flare your elbows
- Don’t sag the hips toward the floor
- Don’t pike the hips toward the ceiling
This movement is easier than the push-up because of the higher surface. Placing your hands on the higher surface puts less weight on your working muscles. And this push specifically targets your lower pecs so, if you’re wanting to build them this is the perfect exercise. Also great for de-loading.
Pike Push Ups
- Start by getting yourself into the downward dog position
- Place your hands on the ground
- Take your feet and put them together behind you
- Instead of having your body straight like a push-up, pike your hips into the air
- Let yourself down by bending at the elbows
- Remember to keep your hips piked in the air while going down
- Push yourself back up into starting position
- Try not to flare your elbows out too much when going down
- It’s ok for your knees to be slightly bent
- To avoid hitting your head look at the ground in front of you with your head up
This movement is great for the shoulders. Instead of just hitting the front part of the shoulders, it hits the middle and parts of your upper back. At first, the movement may feel a little awkward but keep doing it and it’ll feel like second nature in no time. If these are too hard for you there is an easier variation down below.
Kneeling Pike Push Ups
- Place both of your hands flat on the ground
- Place knees on the ground together
- Angle your body with your head slightly pointing to the ground
- Slowly lower yourself while leaning into the angle
- Pause for a second
- Push yourself back up into starting position
- Don’t round your back while moving
- Make sure you keep your body angled and don’t return to a straight line
- Don’t flare the elbows out too much
This variation of the pike push-up is easier to do by cutting the weight you push up in half. This version is also good if you’re not used to the pike push-up movement and want to practice it to get it down. For de-loading on a push day, this is also a great movement for damaging the shoulders more for more strength.
- Get into a plank position but on your hands instead
- Take your index finger and thumbs on both of your hands and place them together
- Make a triangle with them
- Make sure your core is rigid
- Lower yourself down slowly until your chest touches your hands
- Pause for a second
- Push yourself back into starting position
- If keeping your hands together feels awkward place your hands close together without touching
- Don’t flare out your elbows or you won’t feel it in your triceps
This movement is great if you want to focus more on your triceps. By placing your hands together you’re making the triceps work more than your shoulders and chest. This movement can also be done on a bench as well like the elevated push-up.
Examples of Recommended Reps & Sets
These push workouts are perfect for beginners because it introduces easier exercises for people who don’t have the strength for more challenging variations. It also won’t leave you too sore in the next upcoming days and because of that, you’ll want to return and stick with the routine because consistency is key.
|Triangle Push Ups||3-4||4-8|
|Pike Push Ups||3-4||4-8|
|Elevated Surface Push Ups||3-4||4-8|
|Kneeling Push Ups||3-4||6-12|
Muscles Worked from Push Workouts
Calisthenics exercises are mainly compound exercises, meaning they work several muscles at the same time. The main ones are the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.
The chest is one of the largest muscles in the upper body and it has three parts, the lower, middle, and upper. Every calisthenics push exercise will use them.
The shoulders consist of three parts. The front is called the anterior delts, the middle, is called lateral and the back, is called posterior. Calisthenics push exercises work mainly the front and middle, but there are push exercises that do work all three at the same time.
The tricep is the largest muscle in your arm and is located on the back of your arms. The muscle consists of three heads; long, medial, and short. All push exercises use these muscles. If you’re wondering how you can target these bad boys more, it’ll be down below.
The core is located in the middle of your body, it connects your upper body to your lower. The muscles that make up the core are transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, and external and internal obliques. Most calisthenics exercises use the core to keep yourself stabilized when moving through space.
Austin is the author of loveatfirstfit.com and a personal trainer with extensive knowledge in nutrition. Austin is passionate about helping others to find a suitable healthy lifestyle and feel good about themselves. Austin’s goal is to help people push their limits and achieve their physical performance.