Push Press Exercise: Maximize Your Strength

Push Press Exercise
Push Press Exercise
Image Credit: CrossFit (see video below)

The push press is a classic compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups and can help you build strength and muscle mass. It’s also a fun exercise to do, especially if you have a bit of humour to go along with it.

In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of the push press, what body parts it impacts, the equipment you need to perform it, the steps to complete it, common mistakes to avoid, and how you can incorporate it into your workout routine.

Benefits of the Push Press Exercise

The push-up is an effective exercise that can help you achieve your fitness goals in several ways. Firstly, it can increase your overall strength by working various large muscle groups simultaneously.

Secondly, it can improve your athletic performance by enhancing explosive power and coordination. Lastly, it can help you build muscle mass by stimulating hypertrophy, the growth, and increase of muscle cells.

What Body Parts are impacted by the Push Press Exercise?

The push press primarily targets the upper body muscles, including the shoulders, triceps, and chest. However, it also engages the lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

As a compound exercise, it targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making it an efficient way to train your whole body in one exercise.

Equipment You Need to do the Push Press Exercise

To perform the push press, you’ll need a barbell or dumbbells, depending on your preference. You’ll also need a rack to hold the barbell, a pair of lifting shoes or sneakers with good grip, and a weight belt if you’re lifting heavy.

A spotter is also recommended, especially if you’re new to the exercise.

Steps for Completing the Push Press Exercise

Step 1: Choose a barbell or dumbbells that are appropriate for your strength level. Start with a lighter weight if you’re new to the exercise, and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.

Step 2: Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outwards. Grip the barbell or dumbbells with your palms facing forward, and raise them to your shoulders, resting the weight on your upper chest.

Step 3: Take a deep breath and brace your core. Bend your knees slightly, and then explosively extend your legs and hips to drive the weight overhead. This explosive movement should start from your legs and move through your hips and core to your upper body.

Step 4: As the weight reaches the top of the movement, press it up overhead by fully extending your arms. Your arms should be fully extended, and your shoulders should be in line with your ears.

Step 5: Lower the weight back down to your shoulders by bending your knees and hips. Control the weight on the way down, using your legs to absorb the impact.

Step 6: Repeat the movement for 10–12 reps, or as much reps as you can perform with good form. Remember to keep your core engaged throughout the exercise and avoid arching your back or leaning forward.

The video below shows how to complete this exercise.

Mistakes to Avoid while Doing the Push Press Exercise

To get the most out of your push press, you’ll want to avoid these common mistakes:

Using too much weight: Using too much weight can cause you to sacrifice form and increase your risk of injury. Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase it as you get stronger.

Not using your legs: The push press is a lower-body exercise as much as it is an upper-body exercise. Failing to use your legs to drive the weight up can cause you to lose power and limit your performance.

Overextending your back: Overextending your back can lead to injury and strain. Keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the movement.


The push press is an effective compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups and can help you achieve your fitness goals. By following the steps and avoiding common mistakes, you can get the most out of this exercise.

It’s important to note that, like any exercise, the push press may not be suitable for everyone. Always consult with a qualified fitness professional before starting any new exercise program.

If the push press isn’t suitable for you, consider trying an alternative exercise like the tricep kickback with dumbbells. Get ready to push yourself to the limit!