How to Do a Reverse Grip Push Up

The reverse grip push-up is a bodyweight exercise that gives your biceps an extra challenge. As well as the biceps of the upper arms, this exercise targets the triceps of the arms, the deltoids in the shoulder, and pectorals in the chest. You will also activate the erector spinae of the back, and even the rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis in the core.

The motion performed during any kind of push-up helps to assist in everyday exercises such as pushing heavy loads. It will also work to strengthen the shoulders and improve the health of your upper body.

How To

  • To perform the reverse grip push-up, you will start in the position of a standard push-up: feet extended out fully until you are on your toes and hands placed about shoulder width apart and directly under your shoulders. Make sure that your back is not dipping toward the floor or arching up.
  • Now rotate your hands outward until your fingers are facing back toward your feet.
  • Engage your core and inhale as you slowly lower yourself toward the floor. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides during the entire movement. Your shoulders should be at no more than 90 degrees at the lowest point of the movement.
  • Exhale and push through the chest as you slowly push back up to nearly straight arms. Make sure not to lock the elbows at the top of the movement.


The exercise can be repeated as many times as you are able. If you are a complete beginner, you may only be able to complete one or two repetitions from your toes. Try not to be discouraged by this. You can drop down to your knees in order to complete more repetitions.


Using a barbell: Instead of having the hands flat on the floor, using a barbell dictates that you use an underhand grip. This forces your elbows to stay tucked into your sides and makes it virtually impossible for them to flare out while performing the push-up. This will help you to avoid injuries in the shoulder. Be mindful of your positioning over the barbell so that it doesn’t end up rolling forward during the exercise.

Incline: Performing this move using a bench will help to take weight and pressure off your wrists, making the movement easier. To get into position, place your hand on the edge of a padded bench in an underhand grip with palms facing away from your body. Extend the legs out until your body forms a straight line. As with using a barbell, you get the added bonus of using the underhand grip.

From the Knees: If you are unable to complete a push-up from your toes, start on your knees. This will help to build the strength necessary to move up onto your toes.

Cautionary Notes

Be very careful to keep that straight line in your back. Any sagging or arching can really strain the muscles in the lower back. Keeping your core and glutes engaged will go a long way to maintaining proper form.

Make sure to keep those elbows tucked into your sides during the entire movement. Allowing the elbows to flare out can cause impingement injuries in the shoulder. If you are struggling with this, try using a barbell or bench.

The reverse grip can be a difficult hand position for anyone with wrist mobility issues or previous injuries. If you feel any pain during the exercise, try using a barbell or bench. If that doesn’t fix the problem, cease the exercise.

More Reverse Grip Push Up Related Resources

14 Types of Push-Ups-and How They Help You | Outside Online
Incline Push-Up Reverse Grip | Exercise Videos & Guides |
Try Reverse Push-Ups to Build a Strong Chest and Shoulders | STACK
How to do the reverse grip press-up
Reverse Grip Barbell Push ups / Press Ups ? WorkoutLabs Exercise Guide
Reverse Grip Incline Push Up: Video Exercise Guide & Tips
Analysis of the Reverse Grip Push-Up – Home – Champions Club
What Is a Reverse Push-Up? |
Pushups for Biceps: 3 Moves to Strengthen Your Arms, Chest, More

Related Videos