An athlete trains using her PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells while doing push-ups.

Five Best Push Exercises

5 Best Push Exercises

Whether as part of a general exercise routine or a push-pull-leg program, push workouts are how you build a strong chest, shoulders and triceps. There are a lot of potential exercises out there, so PowerBlock™ has picked the five best push exercises to ignite a fitness journey. With a mix of bodyweight and adjustable dumbbell options, you’ll find at least one thing perfect for your workout plan.

1. Push-Ups

The push-up is a classic exercise for a reason: it works. The basic bodyweight push-up works the triceps while wide-arm push-ups target the back and shoulders. You also can add variations such as diamond push-ups, clap push-ups, dumbbell push-ups and side kick push-ups for more options.

  • Get in a plank position with hands beneath the shoulders and your back straight.
  • Bend your elbows outward to lower the upper body until it almost touches the ground.
  • Press upwards back to the plank position.

2. Bench Press

This is another tried-and-true compound exercise that simultaneously targets the chest and triceps. You can do it using a barbell or two dumbbells. Furthermore, by angling your workout bench at 30-45 degrees, you can make it an upper chest and shoulder exercise.

  • Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold your dumbbells against either side of the chest in an overhand grip, then press them upwards until the arms are straight.
  • Lower the dumbbells back to starting position.

3. Overhead Press

The overhead press works the front deltoids while getting a hand from the triceps and upper chest. Sometimes called the shoulder press or military press, it can be done standing or sitting and is a great way to build mass.

  • Hold a barbell or two dumbbells just above the shoulders and chest. Your arms should be slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Lift the weights upwards until your arms are straight.
  • Lower the weights back to starting position.

4. Chest Fly

We like the chest fly because it targets all the muscles you’re trying to work on push day. This exercise also opens up the chest and improves posture. Although you can do chest flies on the floor, a flat bench will give you a little more range of motion.

  • Lie back on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Extend the dumbbells straight above your chest.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells to your sides in an arc while keeping the arms straight.
  • Reverse this arc motion to press the weights upwards.

5. Tricep Dips

Many people put time into the biceps and chest but neglect the triceps. This bodyweight exercise will keep your arms balanced. If you don’t have a triceps dip station or attachment, you can do modified dips using a chair or flat bench.

  • Grab the handles of your dip attachment and push yourself straight upwards.
  • Keep your torso straight and bend the knees so you won’t touch the ground while doing the dips.
  • Lower yourself until the upper arms are approximately parallel to the floor.
  • Push yourself back up to starting position.