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  1. #1
    Registered User AlvaD's Avatar
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    Question Do pushups work back muscles??

    I was told by 2 friends that pushups (they mentioned specifically military pushups) work the back muscles. I don't believe this as I know pushups work chest, and I don't see how it could work your back because the resistance force is gravity and in the downwards direction therefore the only resistance to fight is going upwards which would work chest (and triceps and shoulders). Their argument was that it does and you can easily know it does because they feel their back muscles tightened. I believe they aren't really working their back muscles but because of how low they are going, gravity as an external force is tightening their back muscles (not really "working" them?).

    I've searched all over the internet, on bb.com, searched the forums with the search function, looked at the exercise guides, and some sites (user inputted) said it does work the back but other sites and bb.com does not say it does and the exercise guides don't say it does either.

    I know it's confusing, but can anyone give me insight into this? Whether it does or doesn't work the back muscles, and why or why not. Greatly appreciated and thank you
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  2. #2
    Kai Greene 2012 monkeyfrogO.O's Avatar
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    they work your traps, pretty sure your lats are utilized to keep your body stable
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  3. #3
    Minister for Propoganda gomez26's Avatar
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    depends what you mean by 'work'. yes they are activated as stabilizers but this does not constitute an acceptable workout for the back muscles, thus by that criteria pushups do not 'work' them. muscles contract (pull) & shorten to produce force, not push & lengthen.

    Originally Posted by monkeyfrogO.O View Post
    they work your traps, pretty sure your lats are utilized to keep your body stable
    ah yes with military pushups like shoulder presses the traps are worked a lot, yes the traps are part of the back but it sounds like o.p's friends meant much more than just traps
    "Though the concept is not scientifically validated in detail (it should be considered as a hypothesis rather than a scientific theory), it is useful from a practical standpoint. When training athletes, it is impossible to wait until scientific research provides all of the necessary knowledge." Vladmir M. Zatsiorsky, Ph.D.
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  4. #4
    Registered User AlvaD's Avatar
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    I was doing a Back/Bicep day and my friends thought the would teach me a good workout for the back... From what I understood and how they spoke about it, they meant that it really was a good workout for the back. I have another day during the week where I do Traps/Shoulders so I don't really consider my traps to be part of my back (that is to say, I don't include them in my back workout).

    By work, I mean strain the muscles enough to feel them strained/pumped. I'm trying to gain mass so I lift heavy and work my muscles hard but even if I was to tone, I would consider working the muscles to be producing results from the exercise and feeling the strain/pump.

    Thanks
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    Registered User WorkOutBarbie's Avatar
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    push-up are chest (shoulders and triceps are secondary muscles) back is used in "pull" exercises...same with biceps
    Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
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    Unconquerable WarWithWeakness's Avatar
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    Pretty much everything is engaged in compound exercises. And yes, that does include back and biceps during push ups.


    The only time this is really relevant is when training around severe injuries or with very heavy loads though, because like has already been said, it's more the fact that the muscles are activated than that they're getting a legitimate workout.
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    Registered User Rahulkadam2's Avatar
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    Wink

    Originally Posted by AlvaD View Post
    I was told by 2 friends that pushups (they mentioned specifically military pushups) work the back muscles. I don't believe this as I know pushups work chest, and I don't see how it could work your back because the resistance force is gravity and in the downwards direction therefore the only resistance to fight is going upwards which would work chest (and triceps and shoulders). Their argument was that it does and you can easily know it does because they feel their back muscles tightened. I believe they aren't really working their back muscles but because of how low they are going, gravity as an external force is tightening their back muscles (not really "working" them?).

    I've searched all over the internet, on bb.com, searched the forums with the search function, looked at the exercise guides, and some sites (user inputted) said it does work the back but other sites and bb.com does not say it does and the exercise guides don't say it does either.

    I know it's confusing, but can anyone give me insight into this? Whether it does or doesn't work the back muscles, and why or why not. Greatly appreciated and thank you


    Your Pushing muscles are chest ,shoulders and Triceps so definately by pushing you cant work on your back muscles
    function of the chest muscle bringing elbow towards chest and medial rotation of the arm so thr is no involment of back here brooo
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  8. #8
    Registered User jgreystoke's Avatar
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    Question Do pushups work back muscles??

    Yes.

    But so does playing the guitar, or lifting a donut to your mouth.

    They don't give your back an effective workout, if that is what you mean.

    You really worry about some inconsequential things.
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  9. #9
    Registered User bclending's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WorkOutBarbie View Post
    push-up are chest (shoulders and triceps are secondary muscles) back is used in "pull" exercises...same with biceps
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  10. #10
    'Defiant to Injuries' Ironlife's Avatar
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    Talking

    Originally Posted by jgreystoke View Post
    Yes.

    But so does playing the guitar, or lifting a donut to your mouth.

    They don't give your back an effective workout, if that is what you mean.

    You really worry about some inconsequential things.
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  11. #11
    Banned Tyciol's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AlvaD View Post
    Their argument was that it does and you can easily know it does because they feel their back muscles tightened.
    Sometimes people just tighten their muscles. I can tighten my ass during a chinup, it doesn't mean my ass is the prime mover.

    Originally Posted by monkeyfrogO.O View Post
    they work your traps, pretty sure your lats are utilized to keep your body stable
    The traps are scapular retractors. They pull back. A push up pushes forward. It engages the scapular PROtractors.

    The lats are shoulder extensors, the push up is a shoulder flexion exercise. The lats may assist with internal rotation and adduction of the humerus a bit, but it's predominantly the pec that will be doing that.

    For the most part, lats and traps seem to me like antagonist muscles that will only pulsate a bit to help relax the muscles on the front of the body so they will lengthen during the eccentric portion of the movement. Unless someone can explain otherwise?

    Originally Posted by gomez26 View Post
    ah yes with military pushups like shoulder presses the traps are worked a lot, yes the traps are part of the back but it sounds like o.p's friends meant much more than just traps
    Saying traps is just wrong. Overhead pushing uses the upper trap fibres just like doing a dip or chinup would user the lower trap fibres.


    Originally Posted by WarWithWeakness View Post
    Pretty much everything is engaged in compound exercises. And yes, that does include back and biceps during push ups.
    Hm? What do you mean be 'engaged'?

    The biceps can assist the anterior deltoid a little bit to perform shoulder flexion, perhaps that's how, but I'm not sure if they're in the best position to do so efficiently.
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  12. #12
    Squats traps to grass Defiant1's Avatar
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    work your serratus which can be felt in the back. Any other back work is minor.

    probably just people who don't want to train back, so they convince themselves that push-ups will do it.

    Like "squats work calves" or "running builds legs".


    Rationalizing/self-bull****ting.
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    You are a year older now.
    bb.com, a place that turned Deadlift into a forearm isolation exercise

    and a place where 99% of 21 year olds have bad back and knees.
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    Originally Posted by monkeyfrogO.O View Post
    they work your traps, pretty sure your lats are utilized to keep your body stable
    This. While doing correct good form pushups your lats, traps and rhomboids act as dynamic stabilizers as do your abs. The primary movers are of course the triceps, chest and anterior deltoids.
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  16. #16
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    Originally Posted by bclending View Post
    Damn workoutbarbie were did you come from your lookin fine.
    I'll say. That avi really you?

    Strong # of posts/rep power ratio! You must really post some good stuff!
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    Doing push ups will slightly work your lats as they are a shoulder internal rotator. To say that they are doing any real significant work is incorrect. However, push ups do work the serratus anterior quite well - especially when you do a "push up plus". The serratus muscles are clearly a back muscle and they function to stabilize and move the scapula, specifically into protraction. The serratus anterior muscles when viewed from the back are very deep and really aren't seen as they lie under the larger rhomboids and trapezius muscles. You typically see the serratus muscles on the lateral view under the "arm pit" area as you look down at their insertion into the rib cage.
    So to say that push ups work the back is technically true - but practically incorrect. Push ups by themselves are not a real back exercise. I agree with what others have said that with any compound exercise you are going to get at least some activation of a lot of musles. For a push up this would include spinal erector muscles as well.
    Hope this helps.
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by GreaseMark View Post
    I'll say. That avi really you?

    Strong # of posts/rep power ratio! You must really post some good stuff!
    I know damn I was just scrolling down on the page and her pic jumped out at me I had to post something.
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    Originally Posted by jgreystoke View Post
    Yes.

    But so does playing the guitar, or lifting a donut to your mouth.

    They don't give your back an effective workout, if that is what you mean.

    You really worry about some inconsequential things.
    Originally Posted by Ironlife View Post
    Perfect response!
    I concur.
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    I know from personal experience that handstand pushups work your upper back, but military pushups could if your hands are right beside your pecks.
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  21. #21
    Registered User igilbert92's Avatar
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    used in the negative phase, not nearly enough to stimulate them, you were right
    Squat till you puke, then squat some more
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    Thumbs up WTF! Hell yes, they work da freakin back.

    I can do 4 sets of pull-ups and feel nothing the following day. If, I do 4 sets of pushups I can feel my lats (back) get sore the following day. Go figure! WTF is going on? Hell yes, somehow they stabilize in an eccentric fashion causing muscle stimulation and growth for a beginner or someone who doesn't do pushups very often.
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    Don't give it any more thought! You should focus on your back and legs more than any other body groups which should work around them rather than the other way round.

    If you become somewhat reliant on indirect training where muscles are 'worked' as a result of working another muscle then you are not working out as efficiently as you can and will miss out in the long run . I dedicate a full day to back and same for legs although i'd much rather hit chest and arms.

    Heavy compound excersizes, lift heavy and make squats and deadlifts your best friends.

    Add BIG back DAY to your programme.

    Originally Posted by AlvaD View Post
    I was doing a Back/Bicep day and my friends thought the would teach me a good workout for the back... From what I understood and how they spoke about it, they meant that it really was a good workout for the back. I have another day during the week where I do Traps/Shoulders so I don't really consider my traps to be part of my back (that is to say, I don't include them in my back workout).

    By work, I mean strain the muscles enough to feel them strained/pumped. I'm trying to gain mass so I lift heavy and work my muscles hard but even if I was to tone, I would consider working the muscles to be producing results from the exercise and feeling the strain/pump.

    Thanks
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