Ever desired to have insane shoulder strength? If yes, pike pushups are something worth attempting. It is a great exercise for your upper body workout and more specifically the shoulder workout. They are also quite comfortable to be incorporated into any fitness routine. It provides a compounded effect on your overall upper body, making several muscles perform well.
Fitness fanatics also attempt pike pushup as a progression towards handstand pushup. If you dream to do those handstand pushups, it will be your go-to exercise and in the process will also leave you with rock hard shoulders. There might be no bodyweight exercise that works the shoulder as much as pike push-ups do. Thus it is highly recommended to incorporate into your fitness routine.
Pike Pushup – The Progression
In most sports, athletes can be benefited a lot if they have strong shoulders. But often they overlook the importance of bodyweight exercise and solely rely on dumbbells and barbells to perform the shoulder exercise. One true bodyweight exercise that provides rock like shoulders is – Handstand Pushup. However, it is not recommended for everyone. One must learn to build towards it, rather than attempting it directly.
Pike push-up is a progression towards handstand push-ups. It develops immense strength in your shoulder, without the necessity of leaving the feet from the ground. Meaning, you won’t have to push the entire bodyweight with your bare hands.
How to perform the Pike Pushup?
Following is the set of instructions to attempt and execute the correct pike pushup.
1. Push the hands against the floor with shoulder width apart. The legs should be in a straight position, and the hip should be risen high. Once in the correct form, your body will turn in an inverted ‘V’ form. Some people may also reckon it as a downward dog position.
2. Ensure that the arms are overhead, just in front of the face. Keep your head close to the mat. Your elbow must make a 90-degree angle with the floor.
3. Now push your elbow and get them in a straight position, by pushing away from the floor.
4. Now push yourself down to get back in the initial position. This will complete one repetition. Keeping repeating until the set is finished.
During the workout, the elbow must remain in line. Don’t fly it out. This work on the triceps while stabilizing the shoulder joint. The exercise must happen with a full range of motion. It means that your head must go down until it touches the floor, and then bring it all the way up.
Also, you must attempt the exercise in a 2 – 1 – 2 motion. Take 2 seconds to get down, hold yourself for 1 second, and again take 2 seconds push back up.
Breathe and Maintain Form – It is really important
Maintaining the form is a necessity in any fitness exercise. This is no different. You must start by keeping your arms in line with the spine. Then straighten your back and engage your core. Maintain a 90-degree angle between the upper and the lower body.
The breathing pattern is as essential as maintaining a proper form. Breathe in as you bend the elbow, and lower the body until it the head touches the floor. Breathe out as you straighten your elbow and get back to the starting position. The more you breathe, the more reps you can perform.
What muscle group pike pushup works on?
Pike pushup is an intense workout that builds up shoulder strength and enhances the ability of the core. It also improves the arms, chest, and back abilities by providing them extra strength.
This exercise can also be used to burn a lot of fat and get your muscles toned up. It adds extra stress to the ab muscles, helping them to burn out extra fat. If you have unwanted weight, this exercise is a must to lose it.
Can you do pike push-ups every day?
If you’re a beginner, having required muscle strength, you can perform 2 – 3 sets of 12 – 15 repetitions. If you do not have the required muscle strength, you can start doing knee push-ups to increase the muscle strength.
If you’re an intermediate, you can attempt 3 sets of 15 – 20 repetitions for alternate days initially. It can be increased gradually, once you feel more comfortable with it.
For advanced level athletes, rather than doing pike push-ups – it is recommended to progress towards the handstand push-up. If you are not able to attempt the handstand push-up, you can try pike push-ups, but with variations. We will discuss the variation, in the latter half of the article.
Dos and Don’ts – Better be safe than vulnerable
1. Do engage your core while attempting the exercise. It is important to maintain a 90-degree angle between your lower and upper body.
2. Inhale as you bend your elbow, getting your head to touch the floor mat. Exhale while you straighten your arms, getting back to the initial position.
3. Do keep your hands shoulder width apart, forming an inverted ‘V’ shape with your body.
4. If you don’t have the necessary strength to attempt pike pushup, start working towards it by doing knee push-ups. Knee push-ups will help to build necessary core strength.
Challenge Yourself – Include Variations in pike pushup
Adding variation is a good way to not let the exercise routine become mundane. It brings intensity and energy to your fitness routine. Variations can be added to any form of exercise. Pike push-ups are no different. Once you are comfortable doing the normal pike pushups, you can always add variation to make them even more intensive.
The variations that you can add to regular pike push-ups are as follows.
1. You can elevate one leg. This can be used as an extra progression in between the pike and handstand pushup. This will help you to increase the load on your upper body muscles, thus making the stabilizers work even more.
2. You can also attempt to perform the pike push-ups either on inclined or declined surface. Getting your hips higher will put extra weight on your shoulders. However, if you are not up to the task yet and lack a little flexibility, then simply put your feet on the inclined surface. The lower the hips remain, lesser will be the load on the shoulders.
3. 90-degree pike push-up. This is the toughest variation amongst all pike pushup variations. You are required to get your body in a straight line, upside down, from hip towards the head. Your legs are placed on an elevated surface, and your body needs to maintain a straight line– hip through the head, making a 90-degree angle.
Include this variation as a progression towards the handstand push-up, and at the same time increase the shoulder strength.
Pike Push-ups vs. Handstand Push-ups
Handstand push-ups can be (are) difficult for beginners to attempt. In handstand push-ups, the entire body weight relies solely on the shoulders. To maintain a good form during the exercise, you must have insanely strong shoulder muscles.
To build this strength in the shoulder muscles, pike push-ups comes to rescue. As compared to handstand push-ups, where the entire stress goes through the shoulders, pike push-ups reduce the shoulder stress by allowing you to press your feet in the ground. Thus, it has been said time and again, that pike push-ups must be used as a progression towards the regular handstand push-ups or wall assisted handstand pushup. Because this helps you to strengthen your shoulder as well as the core.
So add pike push-ups to your exercise routine. And at the same time, try attempting a few static handstand push-ups. Press your back against the wall, and try to hold the form for at least 25 – 30 seconds. Gradually increase the time, and see if you increase the time duration till 2 minutes. This will help you progress towards the handstand push-ups effectively.
Powerful shoulders. This is what this exercise will give to you. And if you are one of those who wishes to attempt the elite handstand move, pike push-ups are certainly made for you. Pike pushup basically serve as the safer version/ progression towards the handstand push-ups. If you are unsure, to maintain the form in handstand push-up than include pike push-up in your exercise routine.
To add a safety level to it, make use of a pillow just beneath the head. This will ensure you don’t get hurt – if you fail to maintain the body weight. You can also try different variations which have been discussed above to increase the intensity in your mundane routine. All these variations serve as the best progression towards the more eluded handstand push-up. So don’t waste time anymore. Get your exercise mat and a pillow, put your PJ’s on and start having some fun with the pike push-ups.