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How to Do Backbend Push-Ups

This Is the Most Intense Push-Up Variation You'll Do to Sculpt Your Upper Body

Obsessed with push-ups? Flip it over, and try this advanced version that will sculpt your upper back, arm, and shoulder muscles like no other exercise. Aside from strengthening your upper body, since this is a backbend, it's a great exercise for increasing spinal flexibility and core strength.

While this variation known as the backbend push-up may look harder than a regular backbend, it's actually is a little easier. Lowering your head gives your muscles a break, and straightening your arms will build up the strength you need in your upper back, shoulders, and arms to hold your body up.

Before attempting this bodyweight exercise, make sure to warm up your back by doing Camel and Half Wheel. This is an advanced exercise, so start out slow, and only progress to the next step as you're ready.

  • Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground, hips-width distance apart, with the heels as close to your butt as possible.
  • Bend your elbows and place your palms flat on the ground above your shoulders, fingertips facing your feet.
  • Inhale, press into your palms and lift your head and shoulders off the ground, placing the crown of your head on the mat (as shown in the bottom photo). Make sure your hands and feet are parallel.
  • Take a deep inhale as you straighten your arms and lift your head off the ground, coming into Full Wheel. Try to walk your hands and feet a little closer together — this will make it easier to do push-ups in this position.
  • As you exhale, bend your elbows and lower the top of your head toward the floor, stopping before it touches. Then inhale to straighten your arms, coming back into Wheel. Move slowly and with control, completing as many backbend push-ups as you can with correct form.
  • Slowly lower your hips to the mat. Hug both knees into your chest to release your lower back.
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