The regular version is great but you want to switch up your pushup workouts. Find out how to do cobra pushups.
Cobra pushups, also known as seal pushups are a variation of regular pushups where you keep your hips low or against the ground.
Basically a more dynamic version of the cobra stretch. A half cobra pushup is the same movement but you only stretch your arms a small amount.
Both of these versions of the cobra pushup focus more on flexibility, less on chest, tricep, and shoulder muscles, and slightly more on your lower chest than regular pushups.
So cobra pushups will mainly be good for improving flexibility and mobility while also engaging a few muscles to some extent.
People who want to build a lot of muscle mass and/or strength likely want to stick to regular pushups and similar exercises.
You also want to keep in mind that some people will find cobra pushups too uncomfortable on their backs, wrists, and shoulders.
How to do a cobra pushup
Take the following steps to do a cobra pushup:
- Lie on your stomach and put your hands flat on the ground below your shoulders. Keep your upper arms at angles of 45 degrees or less to your sites.
- Slowly push yourself up by stretching your arms until these are slightly less than stretched. Keep your hips as low as comfortable and your neck in line with your upper body.
- Fold your arms again in a controlled motion.
You don’t want to forget to keep your upper arms close enough to your sides while doing cobra pushups.
It is also worth mentioning that how low you want to keep your hips depends a lot on your personal capacities.
Muscles worked with cobra pushups
The main muscles cobra pushups work are your chest (and more specifically the lower part) and triceps (back upper arms).
You can also say cobra pushups work your front deltoids (shoulders) and abs to a tiny extent.
By keeping your hips low, cobra pushups change your pushing angle in relation to your upper body.
In turn, a bigger ratio of your pushing power comes from your lower chest.
Additionally, the overall pressure you put on your muscles is less because more of your body weight rests on the ground.
This last point is a downside since you need enough pressure to grow and strengthen your muscles.
If you want to achieve these things with cobra pushups, you will likely need to add resistance bands or a weighted vest to the exercise.
Cobra pushup benefits
Cobra pushups change the focus of the movement somewhat but they still offer many of the benefits of regular pushups.
A few of the positive effects you can get from this variation include:
- Flexibility and mobility: The cobra pushup exercise can be challenging in terms of flexibility and mobility. If you don’t overdo it, this can lead to improvements in these areas.
- Stronger muscles: While the regular version is typically more effective for this, cobra pushups could still help you grow and strengthen certain muscles.
- No equipment or location required: You don’t have to invest in exercise equipment or move to a specific location to get the benefits of cobra pushups.
These benefits do not only apply to cobra pushups but if you like this exercise you can still consider it.
Cobra pushup alternatives
Even if you like doing cobra pushups, you may wonder whether there are any other alternatives that offer similar effects.
Additionally, you may want to focus on entirely different fitness components.
In these cases, you can consider some of the cobra pushup alternatives below:
- Other pushup variations
- Cobra stretch
- Other stretches
- (Decline) chest presses
- Tricep kickbacks
- (Decline) chest fly
Deciding between these cobra pushup alternatives comes down to figuring out what you want to achieve, what your body can deal with, and what you like doing.
Are cobra pushups a good exercise?
Cobra pushups can be a good exercise for improving flexibility and mobility in certain muscles and areas while working your lower chest and triceps to some extent.
At the same time, you also need to know that cobra pushups will be less effective than the regular version for growing and strengthening your muscles.
You can resolve this to some extent by doing cobra pushups with resistance bands or a weighted vest.
That being said, if muscle growth and strength progress are your main goals, you likely want to turn to other compound chest exercises or similar alternatives.