Do Push-Ups Work Biceps?

Although push-ups are touted as an effective and convenient upper-body exercise, they don't work all the muscles in the upper body. Push-ups target the pressing muscles of the torso: the chest, shoulders and triceps. They do not target the back and biceps, which are the pulling muscles. The biceps are active to a small extent during push-ups, but their involvement is minimal and not enough to thoroughly work these arm muscles.

Biceps Involvement

During the push-up exercise, the short head of the biceps brachii muscle acts as a dynamic stabilizer. This means the muscle activates at both ends -- the elbow and the shoulder -- to help stabilize the joints. Although the biceps muscle is active, it does not change length to help generate the force needed to perform a push-up. Rather, it activates without changing length to counteract the forces of the triceps and to keep the elbow joint stable.

Biceps Exercises

Because a push-up doesn't work the biceps through its full range of motion, you need to perform a pulling exercise in addition to the push-up movement. Incorporate compound back exercises, such as rows or pulldowns, and biceps isolation movements, such as curls, to target the biceps and other torso muscles not worked during push-ups.

Load comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.