Weighted push-up exercise

Weighted push-up

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Sternal (Lower) Pectoralis Major
  • Synergists: Clavicular (Upper) Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid, Triceps Brachii
  • Dynamic stabilizer: Biceps Brachii (short head only)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Get into a push-up position. You should be supporting your body on your hands and forefeet. Your body should be straight and rigid, and your hands should be wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Get a training partner to place a weight plate on your back, where he or she must hold it securely throughout the exercise.


  1. Keeping your body straight and rigid, inhale as you lower your chest to the floor by flexing your elbows.
  2. Exhale as you push your body back up to the starting position until your elbows are fully extended.
  3. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  4. Once finished, get your training partner to remove the weight plate from your back. Do not try to rotate your torso and throw the plate off, like in the video.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your body straight and rigid.
  • As you lower your chest to the floor, to protect your shoulders, keep your elbows tucked in to your body a little.
  • In my opinion, the push-up is the best horizontal compound pushing exercise. It offers more benefits than any other such exercise. For example, compared with the bench press, the push-up is more of a whole-body exercise; it gets your core much more involved; it offers more functional fitness benefits; it engages your serratus anterior more, which is important for scapula and shoulder mobility; and it is better at improving your standing push force, which is important for athleticism. The only problem with the push-up is that the amount of upper-body strength and muscle that you can build is limited by your bodyweight. That’s where the weighted push-up comes in! Although probably still not as effective as the bench press at building muscle mass, the weighted push-up can do a great job, as well as provide you with all of the other listed benefits.
  • See also the arm-raise push-up and the side push-up.

Weighted push-up video


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