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3 Best Stretches To Do Before Push-Ups (For Beginners)

When it comes to bodyweight exercises, like push-ups, there seems to be a common misconception that you don’t need to warm-up as you’re only moving your body weight as resistance.

(Instead of lifting heavy weights.)

This isn’t actually the case though, and push-ups are considered a challenging exercise as they require activation from several muscle groups and require your upper body muscles to lift up to 70% of your total body weight.

In this article, we discuss some of the best stretches you can do before push-ups to help make sure your body is thoroughly warmed up and prepared for the stress it’s about to be placed under.

Woman stretching on a yoga mat

Should You Do Stretches Before Push-Ups?

Yes, unless you have a medical reason why you can’t, you should stretch before push-ups.

Stretching before most forms of exercise is usually a good idea. Not only does it give you the opportunity to get into an appropriate mindset for training, but there are also some other important benefits that come from stretching before push-ups.

Firstly, stretching begins to prepare your body for the stress that the coming workout will bring.

Although stretching is usually a low-impact, low-intensity part of your training, it’s the beginning of a gradual increase in stress and pressure placed on the working muscles.

If you can get your muscles and joints prepared for what’s to come, it can reduce your risk of injury and it can potentially speed up recovery time after the session too.

Stretching before push-ups can also increase blood flow and circulation in and around the working muscles. This can make your push-ups much more comfortable to do as increased blood flow means more oxygenated blood flows through your muscles giving them the nutrients they need to perform as many push-ups as you need them to.

By stretching before push-ups, you can also increase muscle flexibility as well as increase the range of movement in your joints.

This means that you’ll be able to work your muscles to almost their full capacity by moving through a greater range, while the added flexibility makes the movement more efficient meaning you could very well be able to do more reps resulting in a better workout. 

Stretching before doing push-ups may add a bit of time to your training session but the benefits of doing so far outweigh the negatives of not stretching. 

3 Best Stretches To Do Before Push-Ups

Chest Stretch

As your chest is the muscle group that does the most work in push-ups, stretching it beforehand is a very good idea.

A basic chest stretch can be done by simply standing up straight, placing the palms of your hands on your lower back (fingers pointing down toward your feet), and then pulling your elbows towards each other.

This will open up your chest and you should feel a slight pulling sensation across it. 

As you do this stretch, be sure to keep your shoulders down and back and make sure you breathe comfortably throughout.

Hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds before relaxing for the same amount of time and then perform the stretch again.

Usually, doing this cycle 2 – 3 times can be enough to prepare your chest for the stress of push-ups.

Shoulder Stretch

Your shoulders will be placed under quite a bit of stress during push-ups so stretching them before you begin can make much more of a difference than you might expect.

To do a simple shoulder stretch, place one arm straight across your chest and hook your other arm underneath it just above the elbow. You can use your bent arm to gently pull your straight arm back toward your chest.

Your shoulders are a very important (and fairly vulnerable) part of your body so it’s important to do what you can to keep them healthy.

Stretching them in this way is gentle enough to keep the risk of injury low while still preparing them enough for the stress of push-ups.

Triceps Stretch

Your triceps come into play during push-ups.

As they’re generally a weaker muscle compared to some of the other muscle groups involved in push-ups, it’s important to make sure they’re prepared for what they’ll face.

To stretch your triceps, put one arm straight up above your head, turn your palm so it is facing behind you before bending your arm at the elbow and place the palm of your hand between your shoulder blades. You can then use your other hand to gently push on the back of your arm resulting in a nice stretch of your triceps.

When doing this stretch, it’s important that you push on the meaty part of your arm and not on your elbow.

Applying pressure to a joint like this isn’t usually a good idea so should be avoided if possible.

Once you’ve stretched one arm, swap over and repeat with the other.

How Many Of These Stretches Should You Do Before Push-Ups?

Generally, doing all 3 of these stretches before push-ups will be a good way of preparing your body for the exercise.

It’s worth keeping in mind though that some people will need to warm up and stretch specific parts of their body more than others.

This could be due to a current or past injury, or if you tend to carry some extra tightness in certain areas.

It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to do just these 3 stretches.

You may also want to stretch your core, your legs, your back, and maybe even your legs before you do push-ups.

Ultimately, you can do as many stretches as you want before push-ups.

As long as you feel comfortable and confident that your working muscles are prepared for the stress of the exercise, then you’re doing a good job of stretching.


In summary:

  • It’s beneficial to stretch before push-ups to warm up the working muscles.
  • I recommend you do a chest stretch, shoulder stretch, and triceps stretch before doing push-ups for the most benefits.

That’s all for this article, but why are push-ups harder for females? Or perhaps you’re wondering are clap push-ups better?

Hope this helped!