Pike press exercise

Pike press

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Anterior Deltoid
  • Synergists: Upper Pectoralis Major, Triceps Brachii, Lateral Deltoid, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Serratus Anterior
  • Dynamic stabilizer: Biceps Brachii (short head only)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Position two flat benches side by side, shoulder-width apart from each other.
  2. Place each hand on one end of each bench and each foot on the other end of each bench.
  3. Raise your hips by extending your knees.
  4. Walk your feet towards your hands until your hips rise up high into the air and your torso almost becomes upside-down.


  1. Keeping your legs straight, inhale as you lower your head between the benches. At the bottom of the movement, your torso should be upside-down.
  2. Exhale as you push your body back up to the starting position.
  3. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Comments and tips

  • The pike press is a great bodyweight vertical pushing exercise for building the muscles of your shoulders and upper body in the absence of dumbbells, barbells, and shoulder press machines.
  • Keep your elbows slightly tucked in throughout the exercise. This will lead to a motion that combines shoulder abduction, shoulder flexion, and elbow extension, which synergistically activates more muscles compared with flaring your elbows out to the sides.
  • To target your shoulders and not your chest, your torso should be as close to upside-down throughout the exercise as possible. This can be aided by elevating your feet. See the elevated pike press.
  • Ideally, the pike press is performed on two benches to allow for a full range of motion. However, if two benches are not available, it may be performed on the floor, though you must avoid hitting your head.
  • See also the pike push-up and the handstand press.

Pike press video


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