The Ultimate Push Workout Guide: Best Exercises & Sample Workouts
Try these sample push workouts to effectively target your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Find out the benefits and best push exercises in this blog post.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Push Day Workout?
- Push Workout: Muscles Worked
- What Equipment Do You Need For a Push Workout?
- Benefits of Push Workouts
- How Many Exercises Should Be in a Push Day?
- 11 Basic Exercises to Build Your Push Day Routine
- Sample Push Workouts
- Take Your Push Workouts to The Next Level
- Bottom Line
The chest, triceps, and shoulders are essential muscles not only to achieve great aesthetics but also to ensure your posture is well-balanced.
These muscles are mostly activated when performing push exercises. But what are push exercises, and how can they be incorporated into your workout routine?
Read this article to learn about push movements and how to create an effective push-day workout to grow your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
What Is A Push Day Workout?
You probably heard about push exercises, but what exactly does “push day workout” mean?
A push day is when you dedicate an entire training session to compound and isolation push exercises. While performing them, you move a weight away from the body or your body away from a surface, generating a muscle contraction.
Push days are also a part of Push-Pull-Leg (PPL) splits.
PPL is a very common workout schedule where the exercises are divided by the mechanical action of muscles, and that allows you to train each muscle group up to twice each week, allowing optimal training volume and recovery. 
Push Workout: Muscles Worked
If you landed on this article, you probably already asked yourself, “What muscles does a push day work?” and we’re here to tell you.
Push exercises mainly target the following muscles:
These muscles work in synergy to generate force. However, the chest and anterior deltoids are activated more with more stable movements, while the triceps and posterior deltoids get activated more when performing unstable movements such as dips on parallel bars.  
What Equipment Do You Need For a Push Workout?
Push routines can be performed with or without weights, depending on the exercise.
However, a good push workout should always include some exercises that allow you to modulate weight and resistance so as to be more effective and enable progressive overload.
Some of the most common equipment you might need for a push workout include:
- Body weight
- Machines and cables
- Resistance bands
Benefits of Push Workouts
Including a push split in your training schedule can help you achieve your fitness goals more effectively.
Here are some of the main benefits of push-day workouts:
Even Strength Development
Including push days in your training schedule allows you to strengthen your muscles evenly and prevent muscle imbalances caused by weaker and less targeted areas. 
Including a push split, or splits in general, in your workout schedule allows you to follow a structured plan, which ultimately enables you to achieve your fitness goals in a more linear and manageable way.
Dedicating each training session to a selection of muscle groups up to twice per week, such as in a PPL split, allows you to recover much better between workouts.
Better recovery also enables faster progression, as the muscles are fully rested by the time you work them again. 
How Many Exercises Should Be in a Push Day?
On a push day, aim to include at least two to four exercises per muscle group, each including three to five sets.
11 Basic Exercises to Build Your Push Day Routine
Here, you can find the best push exercises to include in your push-day workout.
Push-Ups (and Push-Up Variations)
- Place yourself in an extended plank position.
- Keeping your core tight and your back neutral, bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor, then push through your arms to get back to the starting position.
- You can modify this exercise to suit your fitness level by dropping your knees to the floor, performing it against the wall, or adding progressions as you get stronger.
- Sit on the side of a bench and wrap your hands around the edge.
- Straighten your arms to lift yourself and extend your legs in front of you.
- Bend your elbows to lower your bum to the floor, then straighten your arms, pushing through your triceps to move back to the starting position.
- Parallel Bars (Dip Station)
Barbell Bench Press
- Lay down on a bench in a barbell bench pressing station.
- Grip the bar, making sure the hands are placed evenly across its length and with the palms facing forward, and un-rack it.
- Keeping your core engaged, bend the elbows to lower the bar to your chest. Then push through your chest, shoulders, and arm muscles to lift the bar and move back to the starting position.
- Elastic bands
- Smith machine bench press
Dumbbell Overhead Press
- Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and your core engaged.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Your elbows should be bent and your forearms vertical.
- Push through your shoulders and arms to lift the weights above the head until your arms are fully extended. Keep your elbows close to your ears as you do this.
- Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Elastic bands
- Adjust the pulley on the cable machine to the highest level. Attach the rope handle.
- Grip the rope handle with both hands and stand with your back to the machine, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Starting position: Pull the handle down until your hands are next to your ears, elbows pointing straight up.
- Keeping your upper arms stationary, extend your forearms straight up by contracting your triceps.
- Pause at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the rope handle back to the starting position.
- Elastic bands
- Stand at the dip station and place your hands on the parallel bars (dip station), with your palms facing in.
- Straighten your arms to lift yourself, then move your torso slightly forward, keeping your core, glutes, and back tight.
- Bend your elbows to lower yourself down, then push through your chest, triceps, and shoulders to straighten your arms and move back to the starting position.
Incline Dumbbell Press
- Lay down on an inclined bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Move the dumbbells to your chest, with the hands facing forward.
- Push through your arms to lift the dumbbells above your chest, then bend the elbows to move them back to the starting position.
- Elastic band
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
- Stand upright, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Keeping your core engaged and slight flexibility in your elbows, activate the shoulders to lift the dumbbells to the sides.
- Then slowly lower them down to the starting position, making sure to control the movement.
- Elastic bands
Dumbbell Chest Fly
- Lay down on a bench whilst holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Open your arms to the sides with the palms facing up, until in line with your torso.
- Keeping a slight flexibility in your elbow, move your arms towards the midline.
- Then slowly open your arms to lower them down and get back to the starting position.
- Elastic bands
Dumbbell Skull Crusher
- Lay down on a bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand; palms should be facing each other.
- Extend your arms in front of you to lift the weights above your head, then bend the elbows to lower dumbbells towards your forehead.
- Extend the elbows again to return to the starting position.
- EZ Bar
- Elastic bands
Dumbbell Triceps Kickbacks
- Stand upright while holding a dumbbell in each hand with the palms facing in.
- Hinge back at the hips to move your torso forward.
- Tuck your elbows to your waist, then place the dumbbells in front of your shoulders.
- Keeping the elbows still, extend your arms back to squeeze your triceps.
- Then bend the elbows again to move back to the starting position.
- Elastic bands
- Cable machines
Sample Push Workouts
Here, you can find a few different push-day workout routine examples to do at home or at the gym.
Dumbbell Push Workout
This workout includes only dumbbell push exercises that can be performed either at home or at the gym.
|Dumbbell Chest Press||4-5||6-8||90|
|Dumbbell Overhead Press||4-5||6-8||90|
|Dumbbell Elevated Push-Ups||4-5||6-8||90|
|– Dumbbell Lateral Raises||10-12|
|– Dumbbell Chest Flys||10-12|
|– Seated Dumbbell Triceps Extensions||10-12|
|– Dumbbell Skull Crushers||10-12|
At-Home Push Workout
Here, you can find a sample of a push workout to do at home using as little as your body weight and elastic bands.
|– Overhead Press with Elastic Bands||8-12|
|– Lateral Raises with Elastic Bands||12-15|
|– Floor Bench Press with Elastic Bands||8-12|
|– Floor Chest Fly with Elastic Bands||12-15|
|Triceps Kickback with Elastic Bands||4||15||60|
Gym Push Day Workout
If you train at the gym, then here is a push-day workout example for you.
Going to the gym will give you more flexibility, as you can perform exercise variations using a wider selection of equipment.
|Barbell Bench Press||5||5||90|
|Barbell Overhead Press||5||5||90|
|EZ Bar Skull Crusher||4||8-12||60|
|– Incline Press||6-10|
|– Chest Fly Machine||10-12|
|Cable Triceps Kickbacks||4||12-15||60|
Take Your Push Workouts to The Next Level
You can maximize your push workouts by giving extra attention to some details.
Here are a few top tips if you want to take your push-day routine to the next level.
Prioritize Compound Movements
Focus on compound movements, such as bench press, overhead press, and dips to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
Also, ensure to start your workouts with compound exercises and only perform isolation moves to promote greater muscle gain and progression. 
Optimal Rep and Set Range
Aim to perform at least three to five sets for each exercise and perform at least 6 to 12 reps per set to promote strength and hypertrophy development. 
Gradually increase weights or apply progressions to the movements to challenge muscles and promote greater gains. 
Focus On Form
Maintain proper form to prevent injuries and target muscles effectively.
Balanced Exercise Routine
Target all muscles equally for well-rounded development and progress of all muscle groups, and prevent muscular imbalances.
You can achieve this by following workout splits and routines that can help you organize and manage your training sessions more effectively.
Perform dynamic stretches and light sets prior to your workout to prepare muscles and joints for heavy lifting and prevent injuries. 
Rest and Recovery
Allow appropriate rest between sets and push sessions, and ensure to get proper sleep for better muscle repair and recovery. 
Stay hydrated for optimal health and support both athletic performance and muscle function. 
Stick to a regular workout schedule to see lasting progress and reach your goals in a shorter period.
Push workouts are a very common feature in the exercise routine of many gym goers. Here you can find the main points about push days and push exercises:
- Push exercises are those that require you to move a weight away from your body, or your body away from a surface, to generate a muscle contraction.
- A push day focuses only on shoulders, chest, and triceps exercises and can be included as part of a PPL split to ensure muscles are developed evenly.
- You can use various equipment and fitness tools to perform push exercises, such as dumbbells, barbells, gym machines, and elastic bands.
- To grow your chest, shoulders, and triceps, aim to perform at least two exercises per muscle group during your push-day workout.
- Push workouts provide a series of benefits, including even strength and muscular development, better recovery, and reaching your goals more effectively thanks to a more organized routine.
- Elevate your push workouts by focusing on compound movements and optimal rep and set ranges, prioritizing form, including dynamic warm-ups in your routine, allowing appropriate recovery and rest, eating plenty of proteins, staying consistent, and keeping hydrated.