10 Best Push Day Exercises For Muscle Gain Or Fat Loss

Looking to increase your pushing strength and build muscle? Perhaps you also want to switch up your push day with some new and effective chest, shoulder, and tricep exercises. 

Well, you’ve arrived at the right place, as we’ve listed the 10 best push day exercises for muscle gain and fat loss.

Yep, these push exercises will build muscle through hypertrophy and promote fat loss by burning calories.

We’ve provided push day exercise variations for beginners, as well as some push exercises that you can even do at home with no equipment!

1. Push Ups

Push ups are one of the best push day exercises you can do. There are endless beginner, intermediate, and advanced push up variations, and you can do them anywhere without any equipment.

For optimal push up form, make sure to protract your shoulders and keep your elbows tucked at around 45 degrees.

Lower your chest to the floor, then push your body all the way up, locking out your arms for full range of motion.

A Few Push Up Variations Include

  • Wide push ups – widening your hands to target the outer chest muscles
  • Diamond push ups – putting your hands together in a diamond shape to target your inner chest muscles
  • Incline push ups – putting your hands on an elevated surface to decrease the difficulty (ideal for beginners)

2. Bench Press

The bench press is also one of the best push exercises! Like push ups, the bench press involves the same movement and targets the chest muscles.

The difference is that the resistance can be increased by using heavier weight plates.

For best bench press form, push your chest out, retract your shoulder blades, bring the bar down to your chest, and push the bar up directly up.

Best Bench Press Variations Include

  • Incline bench press – elevating the upper body to target the upper chest muscles
  • Decline bench press – elevating the lower body to target the lower chest muscles 
  • Wide bench press – using a wider grip to target the outer chest muscles 

Alongside doing light bench presses, beginners can also use the chest press machine to increase muscle and strength while in a seated position.

3. Dumbbell Chest Press

Dumbbell chest presses are similar to bench presses, except that you’re using dumbbells – or free weights.

As a result, you’re forced to control each weight in the air, offering a different kind of resistance to bench presses, where the barbell is balanced.

Optimal dumbbell chest press form is similar to bench press form: protract your chest, retract your shoulder blades, bring the dumbbells level with your chest, and push each dumbbell directly up.

There are various  dumbbell chest press variations, including incline dumbbell chest presses and decline dumbbell chest presses.

As you’re using free weights, you can also bring each dumbbell closer together at the end of each rep to achieve a bigger chest contraction!

4. Standing Cable Flys

Standing cable flys are done using a cable machine, and provide an effective stretch and contraction of the chest muscles!

Cable fly machines also have weight settings, so it’s easy to set the amount of resistance. 

For best cable fly form, find stable footing, bend your lower back slightly, retract your shoulder blades and protract your chest, then, after bringing your elbows back, push directly in front of you with slightly bent elbows to squeeze your chest muscles.

Cable flys can be performed with the cables attached to the top of the machine to target the lower chest muscles, or attached at the bottom of the machine to target the upper chest muscles.

Beginners can also use the pec deck machine to perform seated chest flys with more convenience.

5. Dumbbell Flys

Dumbbell flys involve the same movement as cable flys, except that you’re using free weights from a lying position. As a result, you’re forced to control the weight!

You can also control how much you stretch your stretch with how wide you lower the dumbbells.

For best dumbbell fly form, push your chest out and make sure to keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the exercise (this will prevent injury!).

Bring the dumbbells together to contract the chest muscles.

Dumbbell flys can also be performed on the floor (without a bench) to prevent your elbows from going lower than your body line.

This will reduce the risk of a rotator cuff injury.

Dumbbell flys are an effective push day exercise but can cause injury if not performed with correct form.

So make sure to bend your elbows slightly, avoid lowering the dumbbells past your body line, and use light dumbbells to start with!

6. Chest Dips

Chest dips are essentially an incline bench press performed on dip bars, using your own bodyweight as resistance.

You’ll need a dip station or a set of parallel bars to perform chest dips, which target the lower chest muscles and triceps.

To perform chest dips with good form, make sure to lean forward slightly and keep your forearms in a vertical position.

Keep your shoulders pulled down and retracted throughout the exercise, and only lower your body to the point that your elbows bend at 90 degrees.

Straight bar dips are a harder variation of the chest dip, which involve dipping on a single bar. Straight bar dips target the lower chest, and are ideal for building strength and technique for muscle ups.

For beginners, chest dips can be made easier by using a resistance band.

7. Overhead Press

The overhead press is the king of shoulder exercises. It involves pushing a barbell, or set of dumbbells, above your head from a standing position.

Overhead presses target the front delts and upper chest, and help to increase pushing strength and shoulder size.

For optimal overhead press form, make sure to keep your forearms vertical as you bring the weight to neck level.

Push the weight back up while keeping your forearms vertical, until your arms are straight and the weight is directly above your head for full range of motion.

Beginners can practice overhead presses with light dumbbells or even a resistance band secured under the feet.

Pike push ups are a bodyweight exercise that can also replicate the overhead press, offering variations that can increase or decrease the difficulty.

8. Tricep Pushdown

The tricep pushdown is one of the best exercises for your triceps.

It’s performed using a tricep pushdown machine with a handle or bar as the attachment, which you grip and push down to activate the triceps, particularly the large head muscle (triceps brachii).

For correct form when performing tricep pushdowns, make sure to bend your lower back slightly and keep your elbows in a tucked, fixed position as you push the bar down to your thighs until your arms are straight.

The weight can be adjusted on tricep pushdown machines, so beginners can perform this exercise easily using a lighter resistance.

Effective variations include tricep rope pushdowns, as well as tricep pulldowns, which target the medial head muscle.

9. Skullcrushers

Skullcrushers are an effective tricep exercise performed with dumbbells.

It involves lying on a bench, extending the dumbbells overhead, and bending the elbows before pushing back up – setting the triceps on fire in the process!

For best skullcrusher form, make sure to keep your upper arms (biceps and triceps) vertical and only bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.

Keep your elbows in a locked position as you perform each rep to effectively engage the triceps.

Skullcrushers involve lifting free weights directly above your face, so make sure to only perform the exercise with a weight that you can manage.

10. Tricep Extension Push Ups

Last but not least, tricep extension push ups. Most tricep exercises require weights, so this is one of the best push exercises you can do to hit your triceps without needing any equipment!

To perform a tricep extension push up, get on the ground in a plank position with your palms flat on the ground.

From this position, push your upper body up so that your arms become straight. Lower yourself back onto your forearms to complete one rep.

Tricep extension push ups target the large triceps brachii muscles and can be done anywhere as long as you have enough space.

If the exercise is too difficult at first, build strength by training the exercise with your knees on the floor.

Final Word

And that wraps up our list of the 10 best push day exercises for muscle gain and fat loss, complete with beginner push exercises and push day exercises that you can do at home with no equipment.

The above exercises will help you to build strength and muscle mass while helping fat loss through calorie burn.

Just make sure to practice good form and stay consistent if you want to see the best results.

And as a final tip: include at least two push days in your weekly workout routine, with at least 72 hours of rest between each push day, for maximum effectiveness!

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