Horizontal pushing exercises - obtuse

Horizontal pushing exercises—obtuse



Movement patterns and classification

Horizontal pushing exercises with an obtuse (greater-than-90-degree) angle of force relative to your torso (for example, Figure 1) can be either compound or isolation.

The compound exercises involve either pushing a weight away from your chest (for example, the incline reverse-grip barbell bench press; Figure 1, A) or pushing your chest away from a stable surface (for example, the pike push-up; Figure 1, B). The compound exercises combine horizontal shoulder flexion with elbow extension.

The isolation exercises (for example, the incline cable fly; Figure 1, C) involve pushing a weight towards your midline while maintaining extended elbows. These exercises use only horizontal shoulder flexion.

Horizontal pushing exercises, obtuse

Figure 1. Examples of compound and isolation horizontal pushing exercises with an obtuse angle of force relative to your torso. A. incline reverse-grip barbell bench press; B. pike push-up; C. incline cable fly; D. incline dumbbell bench press. All except the incline cable fly (exercise C) are compound exercises.

Muscle activation

Compound and isolation horizontal pushing exercises with an obtuse angle of force relative to your torso activate your upper pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and the short head of your biceps brachii (Figure 2). The compound exercises also activate your triceps brachii.

The target muscle in isolation exercises is your upper pectoralis major. The target muscle in compound exercises can be either your upper pectoralis major or triceps brachii depending on the width of your grip. If you use a grip that is wider than shoulder width, your upper pectoralis major will be the target, whereas if you use a grip that is shoulder width or narrower, your triceps brachii will be the target.

Muscles activated by horizontal pushing exercises, obtuse

Figure 2. Main muscles activated by compound and isolation horizontal pushing exercises with an obtuse angle of force relative to your torso. *The target muscle in isolation exercises and in compound exercises in which you use a grip that is wider than shoulder width. †Activated only in compound exercises and becomes the target muscle instead of the upper pectoralis major if you use a grip that is shoulder width or narrower.

See also Horizontal pushing exercises—perpendicular and acute.

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