Pushups for Biceps

Woman doing pushups

Traditional pushups are used in the military and by personal trainers to improve your chest, shoulders and triceps. Your biceps are a natural antagonist to your triceps and normally require pulling rather than pushing exercises to build them up. Typical pressups do not target your biceps. However, pushups can be modified to give your biceps a great workout. Instead of placing your hands shoulder-width apart, you need to bring them closer together as you push yourself up from the ground. This gives your biceps an excellent workout.


The American Council on Exercise believes pushups are among the most important exercises you should learn because they are simple yet target numerous muscles. Pushups mainly benefit your upper body, particularly your chest, abdomen, shoulder and arms. You perform a basic pushup on your hands and toes. Keep your back straight and your feet no more than 12 inches apart. In a typical pushup, your hands rest on the floor in line with your shoulders. Bending your arms, lower your body to the floor as far as possible and then push yourself back up. Repeat this between four and 50 times, depending on your strength and fitness level.


Your biceps are two muscles in your upper arm called biceps brachii and the brachialis. They cover the front of your upper arm, help you move your elbow and are very important when playing sports, such as tennis. When a bodybuilder flexes her biceps, she typically curls her fist toward her shoulder to accentuate them. You typically work your biceps by curling and pulling, while your triceps and chest are worked out by pushing. Therefore, recommended biceps exercises usually include barbell curls, chinups and hammer curls, and rarely include pushups.

Pushups for Biceps

However, certain pushup techniques target your biceps. An exercise known as the inside pushup will target your biceps and also the muscles in your upper back. Put your hands together, or no more than 3 inches apart, and complete the normal process of lowering yourself to the floor and pushing back up again. This exercise means your arms curl more, giving your biceps a workout. If you cannot feel your biceps straining in the front of your arms, your hands are probably not close enough to one another.

Single-Arm Pushups

A single-arm pushup also targets your biceps, as well as your chest, triceps and shoulders. Adopt the usual position, with a straight back and feet close together, but use just one hand on the floor to push yourself up. This hand should rest in between your shoulders, in line with your nose, and this technique works your biceps hard. Unless you are very fit and strong, you will probably find this exercise tough, so try modified single-arm pushups. Instead of resting on your feet, rest on your knees, and you will have a lot less weight to push. Try 10 repetitions on each hand.

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