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The Biomechanics of a Spiderman Push-Up

Aptly named to mimic Spiderman crawling up a wall, the Spiderman push-up is an advanced variation of the traditional push-up that provides all the benefits of a standard push-up with an added core emphasis and a mobility and stability challenge. This blog will cover the muscles involved, proper execution, modifications, and some mistakes to avoid.

Muscles Involved

The Spiderman push-up targets a lot of muscles, just like a standard push-up with the addition of a few more muscles. The Spiderman Push-up targets the chest, triceps, rectus abdominis, obliques, and shoulders. You can also expect to feel engagement through your hip flexors and thighs, specifically the quadriceps. This push-up variant adds an extra challenge to the core and back muscles because it targets the deep stabilizing muscles of the abdomen.

Execution of the Spiderman Push-up

To perform Spiderman push-ups, you need an open space and a yoga mat if desired for comfort. Start in a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width but placed directly under your shoulders. Ensure that your body is in a straight line from head to heels. Engage the core and bend your elbows to move the chest towards the floor, picking up your right foot and drawing the right knee up toward the right elbow. Continue to lower until you are about one to two inches off the mat. Next, reverse the movement by extending the elbows to return to the high plank position and, simultaneously, extending your knee and returning the right foot to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side, bringing the left knee to the left elbow.


The Spiderman push-up is ideal for individuals who can perform complete push-ups with perfect form. However, beginners can modify the Spiderman variation of the push-up in a few ways.

If you cannot perform the Spiderman push-up on the floor, elevate the surface to a bench or table and execute it as instructed. Alternatively, due to the added core emphasis, you can revert to the regular push-ups if you fatigue. To further break the Spiderman push-up down, do the push-up on the knees and then go to the toes to perform a knee drive (same knee to the same elbow).

Common Mistakes

When executing the Spiderman push-up, the most important thing to remember is to keep a close eye on the hips and core and ensure your body is in a straight line throughout the exercise.

Here are a few mistakes that can be common when executing the exercise:

  • Hip Sagging: This occurs when the core is disengaged and can cause unnecessary strain on the lower back, leading to pain and injuries. To fix this, ensure the legs are active, the hips are slightly tucked, the core is contracted, and the shoulders are down and back. This position will ensure that the body is fully engaged.

  • Butt is elevated: This makes the exercise easier as it removes focus from our target muscles, specifically the core. To fix this, ensure that the shoulders remain positioned over the hands and the hips stay slightly tucked. In this position, it is harder for the butt to rise into the air.

  • Hands too narrow: This exercise requires the hands to be in the same position as a regular push-up. The hands being too narrow occurs from an improper setup and will reduce the challenge in the chest and targeting more triceps.

  • Low back arch: This can cause strain or compression in the lower back, leading to pain. To fix this, slightly tuck the hips to keep a neutral spine and engage the deep core muscles.

In conclusion, the Spiderman push-up is an advanced movement that will activate your core stabilizers, including the deep core muscles, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, and the muscles of your spine and back. Its core emphasis and stability challenge make it a superb addition to any workout routine.

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