Pike pushup

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One of the challenges when doing bodyweight training is to build strength overhead.
In traditional weight training, exercises like military press would take care of the vertical press, and the progression would simply be to add more weight. However, for bodyweight training, we do not have that option.pike pushup
Our only real option for a 100% vertical press is a handstand pushup, but the problem here is that it’s a very advanced exercise that requires a good amount of strength. We, therefore, need an exercise where we can build up the needed strength towards a handstand pushup. The answer is pike pushup.

How to do a pike pushup

  1. Place your palms a bit more than shoulder on the ground in front of you. Fingers pointing forward.
  2. Push your hip up, so your arms and legs are fully extended, and the body forms a V turned upside down.
  3. If needed, you can adjust the distance between your hands and feet – the less distance the harder the exercise.
  4. Press your head in between your arms
  5. Bend your elbows, so your head goes down between your hands – legs do not bend
  6. Elbows should not point 90 degrees out from your body and not be glued to your body but somewhere in between. This will activate triceps.
  7. Extend your arms till you reach the top position again

Which muscles do a pike pushup work?

The major reason why we want to do a vertical push like pike pushup and handstand pushup is that we want to work the shoulders.
Where a traditional pushup is more chest focused, the vertical pushups will mainly work our shoulders, upper back, and triceps. Of course, more muscles are involved, but these are the major ones.

Major impactvertical-push

  • Deltoid – front of shoulder
  • Trapezius – upper back
  • Triceps

Minor impact

  • Chest
  • Latissimus dorsi

You need some flexibility

As described above, we want to keep the head in between the arms. There are two reasons why we want to do that.
  1. If we don’t push our head in between the arm, the press becomes less vertical, and we will be doing something between a normal pushup and a vertical push.
  2. Pressing overhead puts a lot of stress on the shoulders. Therefore, we want the shoulders to be in a good position when doing so. Shoulders should be back and down, and by pressing our head in between the arms, this will automatically happen.
For some and especially guys with big guns, this can become an issue as they aren’t flexible enough. Therefore, it might be a good idea for some to work on their flexibility as well.
A good place to look for mobility tips is MobilityWOD, but you can also have a look here at my upper body stretching routine.

How to progress?pike-pushups-on-box

We want to be able to do handstand pushups, and therefore we need to progress our pike pushups.
Making the distance between the hands and legs less will for sure make them harder but also require a good amount of flexibility.
When you can do 5sets of 10 repetitions, it’s time to move on.
What we do is that we elevate our feet. The higher the feet the harder the workout.
The execution with feet elevated is exactly as the standard version.
Now you just continue to elevate your feet more and more until you are doing a real handstand pushup.

Some final thoughtspike pushup

Any kind of pressing will put a lot of stress on your shoulders, and shoulder issues are not funny at all.
Therefore, always make sure to:
That’s it – I would love to hear your thoughts about pike pushups.

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