The pushup is a strength training staple renowned for its simplicity and effectiveness. But what if you could simultaneously elevate the traditional pushup to target more muscle while improving your strength and mobility? Enter the yoga pushup, an exercise that combines the conventional pushup with the mobility of yoga.

The yoga pushup is a powerhouse exercise that works for multiple muscle groups at once. It strengthens your chest, triceps, shoulders, core, back, and hips, offering a comprehensive workout that combines the benefits of yoga and strength training. By incorporating this exercise into your routine, you can expect to see improvements in your upper body strength, chest and triceps muscle definition, and overall mobility.

Ready to dip your toes into the Yoga world? Let’s explore this underrated pushup variation.

What is the Yoga Pushup

The Yoga Pushup, a combination of strength and mobility, takes the conventional pushup and spins it into a total-body exercise. Starting in a pushup plank position, you lower into a pushup, which is when things get interesting. You push up and back with your hips rocking back until you look like an inverted V. This tests your upper body strength and challenges your mobility, flexibility, and core strength.

How To Perform The Yoga Pushup

You all know how to do a pushup, correct? If you do, you are most of the way there. Let’s dive into the rest so you can be a yoga pushup pro.

  1. Start in the pushup plank position, with your hands under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart
  2. Breathe in and lower your chest towards the floor while keeping your elbows 45 degrees from your body.
  3. Stop when your upper arms are parallel, or your chest touches the floor.
  4. As you start to extend your elbows, drive your hands into the floor and rock back your hips towards the ceiling.
  5. You’ll resemble an inverted V, feeling a stretch in your calves. Your arms will be overhead, with the biceps by your ears.
  6. Reverse the pike, return to the pushup plank position, reset, and repeat for desired reps.

Muscles Trained With The Yoga Pushup

  • Primary Muscles: Your chest, shoulders, and triceps bear the brunt, pushing and lifting your body throughout the entire range of motion.
  • Core Contenders: Your anterior core (rectus ab & obliques) works overtime to keep your spine on the straight and narrow.
  • Secondary Muscles: Your serratus anterior, those finger-like muscles wrapping around your rib cage, work in combination with your back muscles to control the lowering and the rock back.

This full-body exercise builds total body strength and enhances muscular coordination and spatial awareness, crucial for mastering complex lifts and movements.

Benefits of the Yoga Pushup Exercise

Besides looking like a Yogi Master ( just kidding), there are three legitimate reasons to perform Yoga Pushups.

Improved Strength

Imagine your muscles as engines and the Yoga Pushup as the ultimate tune-up. Each rep revs your engine to full throttle. By engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously, Yoga Pushups offer more of a full-body move than traditional pushups. You are training your muscles to coordinate better, turning your body into a well-oiled machine primed for more challenging exercises.

Better Upper- And Lower-Body Mobility

This is the secret sauce of the Yoga pushup. Driving the hips back and pushing your head away from the floor strengthens and trains the serratus anterior and the scapula outward rotators. Both are important for overhead mobility and shoulder health. But wait, there’s more. The intense stretch in your Achilles tendon also does wonders for your ankle mobility.

Increased Core Strength

Have you ever tried to fire a cannon from a canoe? Without a stable base, your strength and power are compromised. Similarly, the core-stabilizing effect of Yoga Pushups helps strengthen this vital area so all movements flow as intended. Every dive and rise builds a strong core that supports every squat sprint and strengthens your serratus anterior, which helps you to get those boxer abs.

Yoga Pushup Common Mistakes

There is a lot of crossover in mistakes made when performing a traditional and a yoga pushup. Keeping a solid plank position and a neutral spine is paramount for both. Here are a few more things to look for to get the best out of this fantastic pushup variation.

Don’t Sag

Avoid letting your hips droop while lowering, rocking back, and transitioning back to the pushup plank. This can strain your lower back unnecessarily and steal the spotlight from the working muscles.

Fix It: Take the time to feel your glutes by squeezing them periodically throughout this exercise.

Decreased Range Of Motion

Don’t cheat yourself by not lowering into the bottom of the pushup and missing out on the valuable calf stretch. Doing so will prevent you from reaping the full benefits.

Fix it: Performing this exercise in front of a mirror will give you a better idea of your body’s position in space.

Elbows Flaring Out

Keep your elbows close to your body to maximize your triceps and chest engagement and to protect your shoulder joint.

Fix It: Take the time to ensure your hands are underneath your shoulders and screw your hands into the ground. The right hand rotates clockwise while keeping your right hand in the same position and opposite for the left will prevent this from happening.

What’s The Rush

Each phase of the Yoga Pushup should be performed with control to maximize the muscular tension and mobility benefits. What’s the rush anyway?

Fix It: In the inverted V position, push your head away from the floor and feel your upper back engage and your calves stretch. Hang there for a bit before returning to the front plank position.

Programming Suggestions

Here are three ways to include the yoga pushups in your workout

Warm-Up: Start your workout with a few Yoga Pushups to prepare your upper and lower body for the work to come. One set of eight to 12 reps works well.

Within a Circuit: Incorporate yoga pushups into a circuit as a core and upper body exercise. This will keep your heart rate up and ensure a full-body workout. Performing reps of eight to 10 or 30 seconds will give your chest and core all you can handle.

Upper Body Day: On push days, include yoga pushups to complement other upper body exercises like bench and shoulder press. Their dynamic range of motion can enhance the effectiveness and add valuable volume to your upper body workout. Three to four sets of 12 reps is a great starting point.