reverse pushups

Looking for challenges that have the maximum impact for building your body? Reverse pushups are the workout challenges that you might want to try. Reverse pushups are not that much different from the standard pushups; except, they are performed on your back with your arms behind you. These pushups do not only build the upper part of your shoulders and arms; they also work on your back and the leg muscles. Let’s explore everything you need to know about this push up form.

What Are Reverse Pushups?

The reverse pushups are also called backward push up and tricep pushups as they also build your back and triceps which the standard pushups don’t. However, there is confusion about what version of pushups you can call ‘reverse pushups’ as there are a lot of different versions of them.

Standard pushups are performed with your arms pushing your body off the ground while your chest is facing the ground. So, what should be a position that we could call a ‘reverse’ of that position? If you turn your body upside down, it will obviously be regarded as a reverse position. So, your back should be facing the ground to attain a reverse position. Thus, a pushup in this position can be called a reverse pushup. You can perform different pushups in this reverse position. Let’s see what muscles these reverse pushups work on and how to perform them properly.

Targeted Muscles of the Reverse Pushups

Targeted Muscles

With the position reversed, the impacts are also reversed. The standard pushups target your pectoral muscles (pectoralis major), biceps, triceps, and shoulders while the reverse pushups target your trapezius and latissimus dorsi muscles in your back along with the muscles of your legs, triceps, abdomen, and shoulders.

Back Muscles

The reverse pushups build and work on your entire back, including the muscles of your upper and lower back. Reverse pushups are one of the very few exercises that can work on the muscles of your lower back. These pushups also improve the flexibility of your spine and back which is often difficult to accomplish with the standard pushups or other workouts and stretches.


Reverse pushups are also called the tricep pushups because they work really well on the triceps. Triceps are the muscles of the back of your arms. Although the range of motion of the reverse pushups is slightly different from the triceps dips, the regular motion works in a similar manner. The triceps remain active throughout the movement of reverse pushups.


Reverse pushups improve the strength and flexibility of your shoulders. The shoulder joint and the muscles of the shoulders play an important role throughout the process of the pushups. Shoulders support your body when you go down and they also help you to push you back up.

Abdominal Muscles

Your abdominal muscles will always get a better workout with the reverse pushups than they will from other kinds of exercises. The abdominal muscles are also called abs. During the peak position in the reverse pushups, the abdominal muscles become stretched and flexed to improve them.


Legs are the least targeted part of the reverse pushups. However, these pushups work on the upper part of your legs. The movement of these pushups involves your legs more than that of the standard pushups. 

How to Perform Reverse Pushups Properly?

Before attempting to perform the reverse pushups, you need to build a basic core and upper-body strength. Otherwise, you might find these exercises a lot difficult to perform than the standard pushups. Let’s see how to perform the most basic reverse pushups (also known as reverse planks) for maximum impacts.

Step 1 Take the Position

How to do Reverse Pushups. Step 1

  • Sit on the yoga mat on the floor.
  • Place your arms behind either side of you and place your palms flat against the floor facing your body.
  • The palms of your arms should be parallel to your shoulders and elbows a little bent.
  • Stretch out your legs and then bend your knees to create a 100 or 110-degree angle with your legs.
  • You might also keep your legs straight and knees not bent if you find it comfortable.

Step 2 Get to the Action

How to do Reverse Pushups Step 2

  • Now, it’s time to raise your body.
  • Push up your hips off the ground by straightening your arms from the bent position.
  • While pushing up your hips extend your legs fully if you had kept them bent.
  • Keep your body straight and hold this position for at least 25 to 30 seconds.
  • Then lower your body as slowly as possible to the floor.
  • Get back to the starting position.

Step 3 Repeat

Maintain the proper posture

  • Repeat this process for a few times at first.
  • When you become comfortable with it, you might want to aim for 1 to 3 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions in each set.
  • Take at least 45 to 60 seconds of breaks after completing each set at the beginning. As you get comfortable, you may do more reps within each set.


  • Don’t try to do many quick repetitions. Otherwise, it might not engage your triceps adequately and could cause a shoulder injury.
  • Maintain the proper form throughout the exercise and keep your spine straight if you don’t want to hurt your back.

Techniques to Improve the Reverse Pushups

Maintain the proper posture

Like standard pushups, it is crucial to keep your spine and legs straight during the reverse pushups to prevent injury. Poor posture might also injure your shoulder joint.

Place your hands directly beneath the shoulders

You must not move the position of your hands while raising or lowering your body. Your shoulders should work as the support system for your hands as you push up your body off the ground.

Squeeze your gluteal muscles (butt muscles)

Squeeze your hips together as you raise them in a reverse pushup. Release the pressure when you get back to the starting position. This squeezing can help you straighten up your spine and legs.

Don’t hold your breath

When you hold the pushed up position for 25 to 30 seconds, try to breathe as freely as you can. Every yoga expert will tell you to do so as it freshens up your mind and provides with oxygen in your brain to perform well.

Perform the pushups as slowly as possible

Unlike standard pushups, reverse pushups work better on your muscles when you take more time to push yourself up and speed up the tempo. Going slowly will engage more muscles like triceps and abdomen.

Benefits of Reverse Pushups

  • Reverse pushups work out and build your muscles of your upper body such as shoulders and arms.
  • These pushups also work out and improve the muscles of the back of the upper arm, the triceps.
  • Unlike traditional pushups, reverse pushups work almost all the part of your body and especially your back muscles and abdominal muscles.
  • You don’t need any external weight in this exercise as it uses you’re the weight of your body for resistance.
  • Most importantly, reverse pushups develop your muscular strength, endurance, and the flexibility of your muscles.
  • A strong back can prevent many injuries during highly intense workouts or activities. Reverse pushups can give a strong back.
  • Performing this exercise on a regular basis will make your arms stronger and toned for a longer period of time.
  • This exercise will also improve your cardiovascular endurance if you perform it regularly.

Reverse Pushups per Day

If you are a beginner, you should try to get comfortable with this exercise at first. You may perform 3 to 4 repetitions for the beginning. When you start feeling comfortable with it, you might want to aim for 1 to 3 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions in each set. However, you can also increase the reps from 12 to 15 gradually.

Up for a Greater Challenge?

Up for a Greater ChallengeAlthough the reverse pushups do not need any added weight, you might want to wear a weight vest to increase the difficulty of this exercise. It’s obviously not for the beginners. If you are an expert in both the typical pushups and reverse pushups, you might take this challenge.


The reverse pushups are harder than it might actually look. So, if you are a beginner in any kind push up form or if you have just started to develop your core strength, you MUST NOT start with the reverse pushups. You might consider starting with different sets of conventional pushups to build your core and chest strength first.

Even if you are an expert in conventional pushups, you need great concentration while performing the reverse pushups. So, keep your mind fresh and concentrate on the exercise if you want to avoid injuries and sore muscles.

When you are performing the reverse pushups, be aware of any kind of a pain in your shoulders, back, knees, neck, wrists, or elbows. If you experience pain in those parts of your body, you MUST STOP doing this exercise immediately. Reverse pushups should be performed only when you are totally fit and healthy.

In the conclusion, it can be said that reverse pushups are challenging but they offer more benefits than the easier push up forms. Most importantly, reverse pushups work out the parts of your body such as triceps and back muscles that most other exercises don’t. Maybe, it’s not always worth taking up a challenge but in the case of reverse pushups, you might find this challenge very rewarding.

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I live, dream and eat fitness every day of my life. I began to look all starry eyed at fitness. With a view to imparting my adoration to other people who have the goal to improve as a more grounded variant of themselves, I started blogging about fitness and exercise ideas. I have two children, and in spite of the fact that adjusting family and a profession might be intense here and there, I believe that finding time for yourself and your fitness is an imperative and great example for the family. Through my blog, I want to inform other personal trainers new training methods & programming options while helping them better understand the science of fitness. As an expert in the field, I am impassioned by helping others understand and apply both the fundamentals of and advanced concepts of fitness. Due to my expertise and experience, I am able to paint a clear and understandable picture for my readers of exactly what it takes for them to achieve their best. I am a certified fitness trainer based in Virginia. I live with my husband and two children.


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