How To Do Forearm Push Ups Properly

Forearm push ups are like traditional push ups, except you do them while balancing on your forearms rather than your wrists.

This way, you get to add definition and strength to both your upper and lower arm muscles.

How to do it:

  • Get into a high plank position, with your legs extended backwards.
  • Bend at your elbows to lower onto your forearms so that your upper arms are pressed to the floor and your entire upper body is rested upon them.
  • Your back should be flat and your hips in line with your spine.
  • Squeeze your glutes and tighten your core, then lower your body slowly until your chest is almost touching the ground (about 2 inches off). Your elbows should be tucked.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades before pushing through your feet and forearms to get back to the starting position.
  • 10 reps should be enough for a start.

WHAT MUSCLES DO FOREARM PUSH UPS WORK?

Your upper body muscles do most of the work when you are doing the forearm push ups.

The muscles targeted are your biceps, triceps, pectoralis major and pectoralis minor on your chest and the deltoids on your shoulders.

This movement also recruits your upper and mid-back muscles, including your rhomboids, trapezius and latissimus dorsi.

Other muscles that provide support as you lower and lift your body are your lower back muscles, glutes, leg muscles and core muscles.

BENEFITS OF FOREARM PUSH UPS

REQUIRE NO EQUIPMENT

Forearm push ups require no equipment to execute. You only need your bodyweight and proper form to get the results you desire.

SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE WITH WRIST PROBLEMS

You’d be particularly thrilled with this exercise if you have wrist pain or injury that makes it difficult for you to do most upper body workouts.

Since you are using your forearms for stability, you don’t get to overwork or strain your wrist joint unlike in the standard push up.

IMPROVE DEADLIFTING PERFORMANCE

Doing forearm push ups regularly can improve your performance in exercises that require strong forearms such as deadlift, preacher curls and pull ups.

IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

Doing forearm push ups requires that you use large muscle groups to lift and lower your body, which increases your heart rate.

Raising your heart rate during exercise helps strengthen your heart muscles, enabling it to pump more blood to your lungs and throughout your body.

These push ups also lower your blood pressure, regulate your blood sugar level and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

EASY TO DO

This movement is relatively easy to master. You can easily learn to do it on your own without the help of a fitness instructor.

PROTECT YOUR SHOULDER JOINT

When you use the correct technique, this exercise can help build up strength in the muscles and tendons that surround your shoulder joint.

These tendons and muscles protect your shoulder joint and hold the upper arm bone in the joint socket.

ALTERNATIVES TO FOREARM PUSH UPS

HIGH PLANK

The high plank builds strength in your upper back, shoulders and core.

It also strengthens and stabilizes your wrist joint, and gives you better posture, stability and balance.

Steps:

  • Get down on the floor and assume a tabletop position, with your heels raised, legs straightened and hips lifted.
  • Elongate your spine and engage your leg, upper body muscles and core.
  • Draw your shoulders back and down as you broaden your chest.
  • Hold this position for up to one minute.
  • Repeat these steps 2-4 times.

To avoid putting too much pressure on your wrists, position them a bit wider than your shoulders and turn out your fingers to the side slightly.

You can also balance on your fists or forearms.

TRADITIONAL BENCH PRESS

The traditional bench press builds your upper body strength while putting very minimal stress on your wrists.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie down on a workout bench, face up.
  • Press both your feet firmly into the floor.
  • Press your back and hips into the bench and then hold the bar with an overhand grip. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders.
  • Lift the bar off the stand and lower it until it’s almost touching your nipple line.
  • Pause in this position for a few seconds.
  • Extend your arms upward as high as you can, bending your elbows slightly.
  • Do 1-3 sets of 10 reps each.

FOREARM PUSHUPS MISTAKES TO AVOID

MOVING TOO FAST

Moving fast through your reps not only puts too much tension in your elbow joints but it also minimizes the activation of your chest muscles, deltoids and triceps.

For a better workout, you should try to perform your motions in a slow and controlled fashion so that you activate the muscles fully.

SHRUGGING YOUR SHOULDERS

Even with proper elbow and hand placement, most people find themselves shrugging their shoulders once they start feeling fatigued.

Tempting as this may be, it reduces the effectiveness of your workout by over focusing on your trapezius muscles.

Hunching your shoulders towards your ears can also compromise your stability by ruining your alignment.

Make sure you fully engage your lats by actively pulling your shoulders down into a locked and stable position during each rep.

LOOKING DOWNWARD

Looking downward while performing this exercise certainly makes it so much easier for you to lower your body down and back up.

However, it also strains your neck and ruins your overall alignment.

Try to look ahead and keep your neck in a neutral position so that you don’t risk ruining your form or hurting your neck.

SAGGING YOUR HIPS

In case it still isn’t clear yet, your whole body should be in the same line, from your neck down to your hips and to your toes.

Most people make the mistake of letting their hips sag as they do forearm push ups, which ruins the form and could possibly reduce the effectiveness of this exercise by releasing tension from the core and back muscles.

THE TAKEAWAY

The forearm push up is a perfect alternative to the standard push up that works your arms extensively without straining your wrists.

It is quite easy to do and it also requires zero equipment, meaning you don’t have to be in the gym to do it.

Follow the steps provided in this article to help you do it correctly and get the results you desire.