Skip to main content

This is the best push day workout routine for size and strength

Add these effective pushing exercises to your push day workout

man wearing black shirt laying on bench in gym lifting weights
Shoham Avisrur / Unsplash

Life pushes and pulls you in different directions, but push day is the time to push the boat out or, more specifically, push the barbell or dumbbell up. You use your pushing muscles all the time, including pushing open doors and pushing a cart around the grocery store. From the old-fashioned push-ups to a classic bench press, we’ve listed the top 6 push day workouts to flex those upper body muscles

What is a push-day workout?

Man working out lifting weights strength training shirtless in gym
Anastase Maragos / Unsplash

You use certain upper body muscles for pushing, like your shoulders, triceps, and chest. A push-day workout incorporates specific exercises that work these pushing muscles and improve muscle strength and size. Think of compound pressing exercises, such as push-ups and bench presses, as well as isolation exercises, like lateral raises.

With push-day workouts, you use these muscles to push or press your body away from an object or to push an object away from your body. 

1. Push-ups

man doing push ups outside
Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Push-ups are a classic exercise that requires no equipment. Beginners, advanced weightlifters, and those in between can incorporate push-ups into any push-day workout routine.

How to perform push-ups:

  1. Start on all fours with your hands about shoulder distance apart.
  2. Extend your legs behind you so your spine and legs form a straight line, and your knees and hips are in the plank position.
  3. Lower yourself down until your chest touches the floor and your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Push yourself back up to straighten your arms.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

Top tip: try to keep your body straight in the plank position and make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart.

2. Dips

man doing dips exercise wearing white hat in gym on gym machine
Gordon Cowie / Unsplash

Dips have an interesting name because they really do involve using parallel bars to dip your body down before pushing yourself back up again. If you struggle with dips and you can’t lift your entire body weight, you can always try assisted dips with a machine instead.

How to perform dips:

  1. Stand between parallel bars and grip the bars with your elbows bent.
  2. Straighten your arms and lift your body up vertically.
  3. Lower or dip your body down by bending your elbows until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Try to make sure your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Push down through your hands, straighten your arms, and lift your body back up again.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

Dips are a superior exercise for your chest and triceps.

3. Bench press

Man bench pressing in gym wearing green pants on a bench woman helping train him
Michael Demoya / Unsplash

The bench press is another popular exercise that strengthens your triceps, chest, and front deltoids. Impressively, studies have shown that 2-3 months of bench press training in untrained individuals results in a 10-20% increase in the muscle thickness of the chest muscles. Bench pressing is also known to promote muscle growth in the lateral head of the triceps. 

How to perform barbell bench presses:

  1. Lie on a flat bench and grip the barbell a little wider than the width of your shoulders.
  2. Press your feet into the ground, take a deep breath, and unrack the bar with an overhand grip.
  3. Carefully bend your elbows and lower the bar until it touches your chest.
  4. Push the bar back up and straighten your arms while you’re exhaling.
  5. Take another deep breath and repeat for the desired number of reps.

You can also try other versions of the traditional bench press, like the incline bench press or the incline dumbbell bench press.

4. Overhead press

man in gym doing weight lifting overhead press wearing colorful shirt
Marvin Cors / Unsplash

An overhead press is true to its name because you push or press the bar up over your head and bring it back down again. This exercise is more challenging for some, and it’s also called the military press, with good reason. A traditional overhead press is performed standing up, but you can also try other versions of this exercise by sitting or using dumbbells.

How to perform overhead presses:

  1. Take a deep breath and unrack the bar.
  2. Ensure you’re gripping the bar a little wider than your shoulders and starting with the bar against your front deltoids. 
  3. Tighten your core and tuck your elbows in.
  4. Push the barbell up vertically over your head and straighten your arms while exhaling.
  5. Inhale while bending your elbows and carefully lowering the weight back down to your front deltoids.
  6. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

You use most of the muscles in your body to stabilize you during an overhead press.

5. Lateral raise

man shirtless weight lifting doing lateral raise with dumbbells at gym
Gayan / Adobe Stock

The lateral raise is a supreme push-pull exercise for targeting your lateral deltoids and all of your shoulder muscles. You can perform the lateral raise in different ways using dumbbells, a resistance band, or a cable machine.

How to perform a lateral raise with dumbbells:

  1. Standing up with your arms by your sides, hold one dumbbell in each hand and slightly lean forward into the starting position.
  2. Slowly lift the dumbbells outwards until your arms are straight out by your sides, your upper arms are parallel with the floor, and you’re standing with your back straight.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

Top tip: It’s best to avoid using overly heavy weights for this movement and focus more on control and stability.

6. French press

man in gym wearing long sleeve blue shirt doing overhead tricep extension exercise with weight
Mdv Edwards / Adobe Stock

The French press is an overhand-grip, overhead triceps extension exercise that you can perform sitting down, standing up, or on an incline bench. The French press or curl works, stretches, and expands your triceps muscles.

Here’s how to perform a French press:

  1. Stand with your feet about hips-distance apart. 
  2. Hold the dumbbell over your head with your elbows pointing forward.
  3. Your upper arms should remain in place, and your core should be stable.
  4. Bend your elbows and lower the weight back behind your head.
  5. Extend and straighten your elbows to lift the weight back up overhead.
  6. Hold the position before repeating for your desired number of reps.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Steph Green
Steph Green is a content writer specializing in healthcare, wellness, and nutrition. With over ten years of experience, she…
Why strength training should be an essential part of your gym routine
Resistance training benefits: 13 great reasons to go to the gym
Man doing curls

Strength training (also referred to as weightlifting or resistance training) involves more than just building muscle. Getting stronger is certainly a plus, but there are numerous benefits to strength training beyond that. And whether you are a gym goer or you prefer outdoor workouts or exercising at home, you can participate in this activity. You don't need a ton of expensive equipment; general resistance is the only thing required.
In fact, any form of resistance works, from dumbbells to barbells, kettlebells to weight machines, and resistance bands to just your own body weight. The key is just to place your muscles under a load.
A good set of resistance bands, adjustable dumbbells, or even a TRX suspension trainer can be all you need at home to get in a challenging, total-body strengthening workout. If you’ve been counting yourself out of strength training workouts because the gym just isn’t your scene or you’ve been reluctant to venture over from the cardio equipment at your gym to the weights, keep reading for a list of the benefits of strength training, which may be just the inspiration you may need to diversify your workout routine and take your fitness to new levels.

Benefits of strength training
In addition to its versatility and convenience, strength training is an efficient and effective workout that provides a variety of physical and mental health benefits, including the following.

Read more
DIY your own ginger turmeric shot (the secret to your wellness routine) in under 10 minutes
Ginger turmeric shots have many benefits
Ginger and turmeric spices

Both ginger and turmeric offer a variety of medicinal benefits, often used as part of a holistic health or wellness routine. While you can consume ginger and turmeric in supplement (capsule) form, they can come in whole form, which can be used to create a healthy ginger turmeric shot. Starting your day with a quick ginger turmeric shot is a great way to boost your immunity and support healthy digestion. Although you can find some pre-made ginger turmeric shots at the store, making a DIY ginger turmeric shot is easy and far more cost-effective. Below, learn more about the benefits of this wellness shot and how to make our favorite simple ginger turmeric shot recipe.
What is a ginger turmeric shot?

Ginger turmeric shots can vary between recipes but often contain ginger, turmeric, orange or lemon, and some black pepper to help activate the curcumin in the turmeric. The addition of citrus fruit like orange or lemon helps add sweetness to make the shot palatable. Ginger turmeric shots can be taken every day for best results but can also be taken sporadically depending on your health and wellness goals.
Benefits of ginger turmeric shots
One of the primary reasons to start your day with a ginger turmeric shot is for an immune-system boost. In addition, these herbs have been found to reduce inflammation, relieve chronic pain, and provide a healthy dose of antioxidants.

Read more
Why you should incorporate static holding exercises into your workout
What are static holds?
a bearded man doing a biceps curl

Whether you've been weightlifting for years or are new to lifting, regularly changing up your workouts is key to success. Over time, our bodies adapt to exercise routines and become familiar with the same motions. As such, changing the type of exercises you incorporate into your gym routine helps keep your muscles challenged and ensures you're hitting each part of the muscle group. One simple way to add a new element to your lift is through static holds, which involve holding a position in place without moving. In this static hold exercise guide, we'll break down everything you need to know about static holding exercises and why they're worth incorporating into your gym routine.

What are static holds?

Read more