Horizontal push exercises. You need them in your routine but do you know why? Do you know what some of the horizontal push exercises are?

If you don’t know the answer to these two questions, then you have come to the right place. I am going to show you what horizontal push exercises are and why you need to include them in your workout plan.

What are horizontal push exercises?

Horizonal push exercises are exercises where you are pushing the weight away from your body in a horizontal line. They are one of the 6 main categories of basic movement patterns. The others include:

Hip dominant

Knee dominant

Vertical push

Vertical pull

Horizontal pull

Using these categories to structure your workouts means you will be able to create a balanced training routine that works your entire body. More importantly, it will help you create a workout plan that doesn’t result in muscle imbalances.

Muscle imbalances can lead to poor posture and painful injuries. Since neither are desirable options, its best to select exercises from each category.

For example, if you are doing a horizontal push exercise, you need to select a horizontal pull exercise and so on. You don’t have to do an exercise of each category in every workout, unless you are doing full body workouts, in which case you need to try and select one exercise from each.

Or at least make sure that you have exercises from each movement pattern in your workouts for the week.

Why are horizontal push exercises important?

Horizontal push exercises

Horizontal push exercises mostly work your chest muscles and your front deltoids. Including some chest exercises into your routine is necessary to ensure that you are not only training your back.

Chest exercises also help develop strength in your chest muscle which will help you perform other pushing type exercises. And they may even help perk up your boobies, if that’s what you’re after.

The horizontal Pull exercises

Bench press

Bench press

The bench press can be performed with either a barbell or dumbbells. Bench pressing with a barbell allows you to pack on more weight and requires less focus on stability since the bar is connected.

Dumbbell bench presses, conversely, are harder to perform since you will have to focus on stabilizing the dumbbells.

Incline Bench Press

Incline bench press

This exercise follows the same pattern as a regular bench press except it targets your upper pecs more. The bench is more like a recliner which puts you in a more upright position than the regular bench press, which is performed on a flat bench.

No napping though, you’re still at the gym.

Push Up

Push up

Push ups are the ultimate horizontal push exercise. They are extremely challenging and recruit multiple muscle groups which makes them a compound movement. Push ups are one of those exercises that any respectable lifter has to master, like pull ups.

Bodyweight horizontal push exercises

Push ups are a bodyweight horizontal push exercise that can be modified to be more challenging or easier depending on your strength.

If regular bodyweight push ups are too challenging, you can try one of the following push up variations.

Incline Push up

Incline push ups are performed with your arms placed on a sturdy surface like a box or heavy duty bench. They are easier to perform because the resistance is lightened due to the angle of your body. The higher the box or bench, the easier the push up becomes because less gravity is involved.

Kneeling push ups

These push ups are done on the floor like the regular push up except you’re allowed to have your knees on the ground. This means there is less resistance because your knees are supporting some of your bodyweight.

Now what?

Experiment. Play around and see which exercises tickle your fancy. Add whichever one’s you like to your training routine and practice till you get your form right.

Once you’ve nailed the technique for the exercises you’ve chosen start adding more weight or progress to the harder variations of your exercise.

Remember, a balanced training routine is vital so don’t skip your chest muscles. One session a week is enough if you aren’t trying to build your chest.

PS: Don’t forget to check out the freebie library for some useful guides and cheat sheets.

Happy lifting!

Anna Mathis, CPT,CNC
Anna Mathis, CPT,CNC

Anna is a certified personal trainer, certified nutrition coach, and science junkie who has a passion for teaching women about weight training, nutrition, and wellness.