Complete Push Day Workout & 10 Exercises For Muscle Growth

May 03, 2022 15 min read

It's push day! Time to get those pecs, shoulders, and triceps absolutely ripped. Not only will targeting these muscle groups help you build strength and size throughout your upper body.

But before you start to see the benefits, you'll need to develop an intense push day routine that's going to benefit you optimally.

An effective push day routine should include a variety of exercises that specifically target your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

In this article, we're going to introduce you to what we believe to be the 10 best push day exercises. Performing these exercises correctly will transform your upper body.

We'll also share our favorite push day routine to get you started in the gym. So, if you're ready to focus on your push muscles, let's get into it!

What is a Push Day Workout?

Before we dive into the exercises and such, it's important to understand what a push day workout is. A push day is part of the PPL routine. This gets split up as follows:

During a push day, you focus specifically on three muscle groups: the chest, shoulders, and triceps. This type of workout is typically performed 1-2 times a week, depending on your fitness goals and schedule.

This routine typically includes a mix of compound and isolation exercises to target multiple muscle groups simultaneously and then isolate a single target muscle group.

For example, a chest press is a compound exercise that targets your chest and triceps, while a lateral raise is an isolation exercise that only targets your deltoids.

We're big fans of the PPL program, as it's excellent for muscle hypertrophy and recovery. And it's not just us, there's a reason why this routine has become so popular, and that's because many people see significant progress with it.

The 10 Best Push Exercises For Growth

There are so many different exercises you can perform, making it challenging to put together a good routine if you don't have the knowledge.

But, with a push day, it's crucial to incorporate the proper types of exercises to develop an effective routine. You, of course, want to make sure the movement is activating the right muscles.

We firmly believe that the following 10 exercises are the most effective for building your push muscles and encourage you to incorporate them into your routine.

1. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press

The flat dumbbell bench press is an excellent compound exercise to start your push day workout with. This exercise will mainly target your chest, but your shoulders and triceps will also come into play.

We prefer the dumbbell press over the bench press because, with dumbbells, you work unilaterally. That means that the stronger side of your body can't compensate for your weaker side.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Lie on your back on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Press the dumbbells up until your arms are straight.
  3. Lower the dumbbells down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. You may go slightly lower until you get a good stretch.
  4. Press the dumbbells back up until your arms are straight. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  5. Tips: Make sure to keep your back flat on the bench and your feet flat on the floor. Try to go heavy on this exercise while still maintaining good form.

Common Mistakes: The biggest mistake people make with this exercise is not creating a full range of motion. You need to lower the dumbbells until you get a good stretch, allowing your chest muscles to be activated properly.

2. Incline Bench Press

The incline bench press is similar to the flat bench press, but it's performed on an incline bench. This slight change in angle puts more emphasis on the upper part of your chest, helping to create a rounder, fuller look.

Incline presses also activate the front deltoid, and it's heavier to press than a regular flat bench press. Make sure to adjust your weight correctly, do not let your form go to waste.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Lie on your back on an incline bench with a barbell positioned above you. Squeeze your shoulder blades together tightly to create a solid and stable position on the bench.
  2. Lift the weight upward until your arms are straight.
  3. Lower the weight down until it is a few inches away from touching your chest.
  4. Press the weights back up until your arms are straight. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  5. Tips: Make sure to keep your back flat on the bench and your feet flat on the floor. Shifting around can cause injuries and indicates that the weight is too heavy.

Common Mistakes: Many people's elbows flare out when performing this exercise. Because of this, the chest won't be activated optimally. When performing this exercise, make sure to tuck your elbows in as close to your body as possible.

3. Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is another excellent push movement that activates multiple muscle groups but emphasizes the triceps.

As the name implies, you bring your hands closer to focus more of the tension on your triceps rather than your pecs and shoulders.

We like the close grip bench press because it doesn't just hit one or two heads of the triceps - it works all three of them.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Lie on your back on a flat bench with a barbell positioned above you.
  2. Grip the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart or slightly closer.
  3. Lift the weight upward until your arms are straight.
  4. Lower the weight down until it is at your chest.
  5. Press the weights back up until your arms are straight. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  6. Tips: Make sure to squeeze shoulder blades together. Before increasing the weight, make sure you are activating your triceps correctly.

Common Mistakes: Make sure your grip is roughly shoulder width, not wider. This is important when it comes to activating the triceps muscles. Also, make sure to have a spotter when performing the close grip bench press.

4. Dips

A good push day workout should also include dips, as they're perfect for targeting the chest and triceps. When dips are performed correctly, you'll get a very good pump.

If dips are too easy for you, you can do them weighted. You can increase the difficulty and stimulate your muscles even harder by adding weight.

If you can't do dips, try them assisted on a machine or have a friend help you. Then once you've built up enough strength, you can start by doing just a few repetitions and gradually improving.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Position yourself on a dip station or a chair with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend your legs out in front of you at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Lower your body down by bending your elbows until they reach a 90-degree angle. You don't have to go all the way to 90-degrees but try to get as close as possible.
  4. Press your body back up until your arms are straight. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  5. Tips: Keep your back straight and avoid rounding your shoulders as you dip down. You may feel the urge to lean your head forward but try your best to keep your head up.

Common Mistakes: The most common mistake people make with this exercise is not going low enough. You need to lower your body until your elbows are as close to 90-degrees as possible to fully work the triceps and chest.

5. Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The dumbbell shoulder press is a great compound movement to activate the shoulder muscles. In our opinion, it's a must in order to build big and round shoulders.

If it's your first time performing a shoulder press, it's important to use a lightweight. That's because it's easy to injure your shoulders if you aren't careful.

Get used to the exercise and warm up properly. From there on, you can slowly increase the weight to make it challenging.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Sit on an upright bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Position the weights at your shoulders with your palms facing forward.
  3. Press the dumbbells up until your arms are straight.
  4. Lower the dumbbells down until they are at a 90-degree angle.
  5. Press the dumbbells back up until your arms are straight. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  6. Tips: As with the other exercises, keep your back straight and avoid rounding your shoulders. You may feel the urge to lean your head forward but try your best to keep your head up.

Common Mistakes: The biggest mistake people make with this exercise is not lifting high enough. The point of this exercise is to work the shoulder, and you won't get the full benefit if you only press halfway up. Be sure to extend fully, or you'll miss the point of the workout.

6. Behind The Neck Overhead Press

The behind-the-neck overhead press is another excellent exercise for isolating your shoulder muscles, particularly the anterior and lateral deltoid fibers.

However, just like the dumbbell shoulder press, it can easily injure your neck and shoulders if you don't use the proper form. Therefore, it's essential to start with a light weight and focus on using the proper form.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Sit on a bench with a barbell positioned behind your head.
  2. Grip the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Press the barbell up until your arms are straight.
  4. Lower the barbell down until it is halfway behind your head.
  5. Press the barbell back up until your arms are straight. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  6. Tips: Don't go too heavy on this exercise; make sure to use proper form first.

Common Mistakes: The biggest mistake people make with this exercise is not lifting high enough. As with the dumbbell shoulder press, the point is to work the shoulder by fully extending the weight upward.

7. Side Lateral Raises

Like shoulder presses, side lateral raises also target your shoulder muscles, but rather than isolating the anterior or posterior deltoids; they specifically isolate the lateral fibers.

This will help your shoulders look bulkier and broader, adding to your physique. Going light on these and higher in repetitions is recommended to get the mind to muscle connection.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Raise your arms out to the side until they are at shoulder height or slightly higher.
  3. Lower your arms back down to your sides. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  4. Tips: Avoid swinging your arms as you raise them up as this can lead to injury. Instead, focus on using your shoulder muscles to lift the weight up using a controlled motion.

Common Mistakes: Don't go too heavy on this exercise, as this will make other surrounding muscles take over the movement. That's not what you want, as you want to make sure you are hitting shoulders. Use a light weight for high reps.

8. Triceps Pushdown

Now that we've gone over exercises that primarily target the chest and shoulder muscles, we're moving onto the triceps.

The triceps pushdown is an excellent way to isolate your tricep muscles using a cable machine. By performing a pushdown, you'll hit the medial and lateral heads of the triceps muscles.

They're always included in a good push workout as it's an essential movement. You'll really feel the triceps work when performing this exercise.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Attach a horizontal cable bar to the pulley machine.
  2. Grip the bar with your hands positioned shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your sides, push the bar down until your arms are fully extended.
  4. Release the tension and allow your arms to return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  5. Tips: Avoid swinging your arms as you push the bar down as this can lead to injury. Instead, focus the weight throughout your triceps and push down along your sternum.

Common Mistakes: Many people move their elbows during this exercise, which is most likely caused by using too much weight. Keep your elbows close to your side, and don't move them when doing pushdowns. That means you must lower the weight if necessary.

9. Skullcrushers

Skullcrushers are another popular tricep exercise that directly isolates the muscle group. They're great for building size and strength in the triceps.

Although they are typically done using an EZ bar, you can use dumbbells if you want to train unilaterally. Just be careful, though. As the name suggests, dropping the weight could crush your skull.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Lie down on a flat bench with a barbell or dumbbells positioned above your chest.
  2. Grip the EZ bar or dumbbells with your hands shoulder-width apart or slightly closer.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lower the weight down until it is at your forehead.
  4. Press the weight back up until your arms are straight. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  5. Tips: Avoid swinging the weight backward as you lower the weight down. This exercise requires a lot of control to avoid injury. If the weight is too heavy for you to bring it back without swinging it, go lighter!

Common Mistakes: One mistake that many people make is not lowering the weight down far enough. You need to lower the weight until it's right above your forehead. If you're worried it's too heavy, use a lighter weight.

10. Seated Triceps Extensions

The seated tricep extension is the last tricep exercise on our list. It's a good exercise for really isolating the muscle group.

Because you're seated, it's easy to maintain good form throughout the exercise. That means you'll be able to really focus on activating your triceps muscles, resulting in better growth and pumps.

To perform this exercise properly:

  1. Sit on a bench or chair with a dumbbell positioned behind your head.
  2. Grip the weight with both hands and press it up until your arms are fully extended.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lower the weight down until it is at your forehead.
  4. Press the weight back up until your arms are straight. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  5. Tips: As with the other tricep exercises, focus on keeping your elbows close to your sides to really target the muscle group. You may feel the urge to arch your back but try your best to keep your back flat against the bench.

Common Mistakes: The most common mistake you're likely to make doing this exercise is that you might be tempted to flare your arms out. Try to keep your elbows in to target your triceps, not your shoulders.

Push Day Workout Routine Walkthrough

Now that you know which exercises are the best for your push day routine, we're going to walk you through a typical push day workout.

Feel free to follow this workout exactly or adjust it to your specific goals.

  1. Flat Dumbbell Bench Presses – Generally, we like to start with three sets of flat dumbbell bench presses, aiming for between 6 and 8 reps in each set. Go as heavy as possible on this exercise while maintaining good form.
  2. Incline Bench Presses – While we're focusing on the chest, we like to move on to incline bench presses and do another 3 to 4 sets, aiming for 8 to 12 reps per set.
  3. Dips – After benching, we give our chest and triceps a quick blast with 3 sets of dips until failure. If you can't do these, try finding a machine or have a friend assist you.
  4. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Presses – Now that we've destroyed the chest, we move onto a compound for shoulders. Seated dumbbell shoulder presses for 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps.
  5. Side Lateral Raises – Once we're feeling the burn in our posterior and anterior deltoids, we then isolate the lateral deltoids with 3 sets of lateral raises, lifting 12 to 15 reps per set. Go slow on these to really feel the side deltoid work.
  6. Skullcrushers – We then move on to our triceps after working our shoulders. Blast our 3 sets of heavy skullcrushers and try to hit between 6 to 8 reps.
  7. Tricep Pushdowns – Finally, finish your routine with 3 sets of tricep pushdowns. Try to hit between 8 and 12 sets in each rep before cooling down.

The above is an excellent push day workout routine, as it targets all the proper muscle groups. It includes compound and isolation exercises, giving optimal activation for your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

If you decide to follow the above workout or any other routine for that matter, it's important to keep the intensity high. You're going to want to take between 30 to 90 seconds of rest between sets.

Consider taking a BCAA or Intra workout throughout intensive training sessions. They help energize and keep you hydrated, which is crucial for your performance.Text

Using Proper Form

We just want to emphasize how important it is to use proper form. That's not saying you shouldn't go heavy, but you need to master good form before increasing the weights.

We're saying this because lifting incorrectly may lead to injuries, which is obviously something you want to avoid at all costs. It's form over weight, which will also help you stimulate your muscles optimally.

Even if you're lifting relatively light weights, you could be risking serious injury if you're not using proper form. If you're struggling to complete a set with proper form, it's time to lower the weight.

Our advice is to take things slow, focus on using good form, and lift weights that you can handle easily.

Apply Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. The goal of progressive overload is to continuously challenge your body so that it will adapt and grow stronger.

As you get stronger, you'll be able to handle heavier weights.

When you feel like you can handle more weight, it's time to increase the weight, reps, sets, or a combination of the three.

Just make sure that you don't increase everything too quickly. You want to lift heavy without neglecting the form.

And again, remember to focus on form and control first and foremost. As long as you're challenging your body and progressing slowly but surely, you'll make gains.

Supplements to Take for Your Push Day

Supplements are extremely useful for performing optimally. They can help in many different ways, whether it's boosting muscle growth or getting you fired up with energy.

Check out these supplements below if you want to make sure you're going to crush your push day workouts.

Pre-Workout

Pre-workout supplements are designed to enhance athletic performance, helping you get the most out of each training session.

They typically contain ingredients that improve energy levels, increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles, and reduce fatigue.

The most common ingredients in pre-workout supplements include:

  • Caffeine
  • Beta-alanine
  • Creatine
  • Betaine anhydrous

These are just a few examples of powerful ingredients that'll significantly impact your workouts.

Our pre-workout, Wrecked, was designed to help you maximize your workout performance from every angle possible.

Take one serving of Wrecked about half an hour before your training, and you'll notice explosive energy, laser focus, and skin-tearing pumps!

It's different from the other products on the market because it's fully stacked with high-quality, science-backed ingredients at optimal dosages. You won't regret taking Wrecked before your push day workout.

Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements on the market, and it's easy to see why. This natural protein is derived from milk and is an excellent source of the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle, repair tissue, and perform other vital functions.

Therefore, it's an easy way to increase your protein intake, which will eventually impact your workouts positively. There's a direct connection between protein intake and muscle growth.

Our Huge Whey protein packs nearly 25 grams of protein per serving. Adding two scoops to your diet each day will significantly impact your protein intake.

It comes in 4 delicious flavors, including Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry Cheesecake, Vanilla Milkshake, and Cookies & Cream.

We've also recently compared whey protein vs plant protein, read through it to get a better understanding of what to the benefits of each product are.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is a supplement frequently used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve performance and build muscle.

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that helps supply energy to cells, but it is also found in foods such as meat and fish.

When taken as a supplement, creatine monohydrate is thought to increase creatine levels in the body, which can improve performance during short bursts of high-intensity activity, such as sprinting or weightlifting.

Our Huge Creatine contains 5000mg of Creatine Monohydrate per serving, which is the best dosage if you want to see results.

If you're serious about working out, it's a must-have supplement as it has many benefits. And, it's safe!

Should You Start Doing Push Day Workouts?

Yes, the push, pull, legs (PPL) program is an excellent way to achieve your goal physique.

This type of workout routine allows you to focus on one specific muscle group per day, which helps you to achieve maximum results.

It also allows you to hit muscle groups twice a week if you are experienced enough.In addition, this program also helps to prevent overtraining as there is plenty of rest between each workout.

Remember to focus on quality over quantity and always warm up before beginning your workout. If you don't think PPL is for you, check out some of our other articles that take different approaches:

Final Thoughts

Doing a push day workout is an excellent way of hitting the chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles. To make the most of your push day routine, you need to incorporate the right exercises.

The 10 exercises we've shared above are some of the best to help you achieve an incredible physique. We've even shown you a routine workout example that you can try out the next time you hit the gym.

Remember to focus on quality over quantity, use proper form, and start with a lighter weight if you cannot complete the entire routine. Apply progressive overload, and you'll soon notice improvements in your physique.

You can also start using supplements to make sure you're getting the most out of your workouts. Pre workout, whey, and creatine are the three products we recommend you start taking.


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