How to Warm Up for Push-Ups [7 Great Exercises]

If you’re about to do a push-up workout, don’t do static stretches. Instead, focus on a movement-based dynamic warm-up. Movements such as jumping jacks and bodyweight squats will elevate your heart rate and engage your core muscles. Then, move on to shoulder circles and resistance band pull-aparts to warm up your upper body muscles and engage your shoulders. Finally, perform a few sets of knee push-ups before you dive into your first set of regular push-ups.

Warm up for push-ups

Why Should You Warm Up Before Push-Ups?

Warming up before an intense push-up workout, like our deck of cards routine, is essential to prevent injury. A good warm-up not only prevents damage to your muscles and joints, it also helps you perform at your peak. You’ll have a better workout after warming up than you would be going into a workout cold.

  • Increase your performance level
  • Prevent injury
  • Increase flexibility and mobility

Once you’ve completed your warm-up and your workout, remember to stretch after push-ups. Static stretching after a workout helps increase mobility and further reduce injury risk. By increasing your range of motion with pre-workout warm-ups and post-workout stretches, you’ll remain healthy and get stronger faster.

Can You Do Push-Ups Without Warming Up?

If you’re doing a few push-ups at intervals throughout the day, you probably don’t need to do an intense warm-up routine. However, if you’re doing a workout longer than 1 set, it’s essential to warm up for push-ups. If you don’t warm up for push-ups, you risk injury.

  • If you are doing a few push-ups here and there, you don’t need to warm up.
  • Always warm up before doing a workout that includes a challenging number of push-ups.
  • Skipping a warm-up greatly increases your injury risk.

Skipping a proper warm-up prior to push-ups is likely to cause damage to your shoulder joint. Forcing your shoulders to go through their full range of motion while moving your body weight is a big task. Without a proper warm-up, you can damage the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your shoulder. You can also pull or damage muscles in your wrists, arms, and chest.

7 Ways to Warm Up for Push-Ups

Below are the best warm-up exercises to get your body ready for some really tough sets of push-ups. A good warm-up will only take 5–10 minutes but it’s a great way to increase blood flow to your muscles and ensure you have a great workout.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are an old-school exercise that makes for a great warm-up starter. Swinging your arms overhead helps warm up your shoulders, which is crucial for push-ups. The jumping motion also causes you to tighten your core muscles. Push-ups work your abs and lower back because the starting position is so similar to a plank. It’s essential to warm these core muscles up before doing push-ups.

Do 20 jumping jacks, rest for 30 seconds. Then, repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Bodyweight Squats

Like jumping jacks, squats help warm up your core muscles so they’re ready to help maintain proper form throughout tough sets of regular push-ups. Squats are also a great way to increase your heart rate and send blood to your muscles. They’re an excellent choice for any warm-up.

Do 3 sets of 8–12 squats. Rest for 30 seconds between sets.

Shoulder Circles

To warm up using shoulder circles, hold your arms straight out to your sides. Keeping your arms extended, make small circles with your shoulders. Perform 10 circles going “forward,” followed by 10 circles going backward. Repeat this until you’ve done 30 circles in each direction.

Cuban Press

The Cuban press is an incredible warm-up that helps prevent injury to your shoulder joint. Start with very low weight (2.5–5 pounds) or no weight at all. Begin with your knuckles pointed toward the ground. Then, rotate your shoulders until your knuckles are pointed toward the ceiling and press the weight overhead. 1–2 sets of 10 reps are a great warm-up.

Pass Through

The pass through is an amazing shoulder mobility warm-up that also helps warm up the back muscles that will help stabilize you during push-ups. You can use a rope or PVC pipe for pass throughs, but we prefer this elastic resistance band. By passing the band overhead—as demonstrated in the video above—you’ll fully warm up your shoulders for a workout. Perform 10 pass throughs before moving on to the next warm-up.

Band Pull Aparts

You can use the same elastic band used for pass throughs to do band pull aparts. Simply grip the band with arms slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Then, raise your arms until they are pointed straight out in front of you. From there, pull your hands apart before slowly bringing them back to the starting position. Perform 10 reps with an overhand grip, followed by 10 reps with an underhand grip.

Knee Push-Ups

If you’re used to doing traditional push-ups during your workout, warm up with 2 sets of 10 knee push-ups. By beginning your workout at a lower resistance, you’ll warm your muscles up and get them ready for an explosive push-up workout. If you haven’t quite mastered standard push-ups, you can use knee push-ups as your workout while you build strength. As you get stronger, knee push-ups will gradually become a part of your warm-up.

How Do You Prepare Your Body for Push-Ups?

In order to get your body ready for push-ups use the following warm-up routine:

  • Jumping Jacks: 3 sets of 20
  • Bodyweight Squats: 3 sets of 8–12
  • Shoulder Circles: 30 circles in each direction (backward and forward)
  • Cuban Press: 2 sets of 10
  • Pass Throughs: 1 set of 10
  • Band Pull Aparts: 1 set of 10 with overhand grip, 1 set of 10 with an underhand grip
  • Knee Push-Ups: 2 sets of 10

With these dynamic warm-ups, you’ll warm up tight muscles and raise your body temperature. This will get you ready for an intense push-up-focused workout in just 5–10 minutes.

Stretching after push-ups

Stretching After Push-Ups [Do These 7 Stretches]

How often should you do push-ups?

How Often Should You Do Push-Ups?