Cobra Push-Ups – A Complete Exercise Guide

Are you seeking a difficult exercise that can help you improve your strength, flexibility, and endurance?

Have you tried the Cobra Push-Ups? This advanced variation of the traditional push-up can be a great addition to your fitness routine, helping you target your core, shoulders, chest, and arms.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of Cobra Push-Ups, how to perform them correctly, muscles worked, alternatives & variations, and some tips to get the most out of this exercise. No matter if you’re a fitness enthusiast or a novice, you’ll find the key concepts and inspiration you need to advance your training. Let’s dive in!

What is Cobra Push-Ups?

cobra push-ups
fizkes/ iStock

Cobra push-ups are a type of exercise that involves a combination of push up and yoga movements. These are pushup variant that requires a substantial amount of strength, flexibility, and stability to accomplish and perform correctly.

Cobra push-up is an exercise that is a mixture of standard push-ups and the yoga pose called the cobra pose. That is why this exercise is called the “cobra push-ups”.

It works several upper-body muscular groups, including the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and core. They also require a great deal of flexibility in the spine and hips, which can help improve overall mobility, and flexibility and also reduce the risk of an injury.

However, cobra push-ups should only be attempted by those who have already developed a strong foundation of strength and mobility in the upper body. Beginners or those with limited mobility should start with easier push-up variations and work their way up to the cobra push-ups gradually.

How to Do Cobra Push-Ups?

Step-By-Step Instructions

Here’s how you can perform the cobra push-ups step by step.

  1. Start off in a pushup position, with your hands, and feet all firmly planted on the ground.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor slowly and in a controlled manner. 
  3. Then, you have to push your upper body forward and up. 
  4. At the same time, extend your arms and arch your back, as if you were doing a cobra pose in yoga.
  5. Come back down and push your chest up and extend your arms (perform a pushup).
  6. Repeat again for the desired number of reps and sets.

Video Guide

Remember to not push your limit too far and if you feel pain and discomfort performing the exercise, stop as it might lead to injury. Instead, try to perform easier variations first to build up the necessary strength and mobility required to perform the cobra push-ups. 

What do Cobra Push-Ups Work?

Cobra push-ups work for multiple muscle groups in the upper body, making them a great exercise for building strength and endurance. The main muscles worked during cobra push-ups are:

  • Chest muscles: The chest muscles, or pectorals, are the primary muscles targeted during cobra push-ups. They are responsible for pushing the body up and forward during the exercise.
  • Shoulder muscles: Shoulder muscles, or deltoids, serve an important function in supporting the shoulders and lifting the body during the pushup component of the exercise.
  • Triceps muscles: Located near the rear of the upper arms, the triceps muscles aid the chest muscles in extending the arms during the pushup component of the exercise.
  • Core muscles: The core muscles, including the abdominal muscles, are engaged throughout the entire exercise to maintain stability and control.
  • Hip muscles: During the hip extension component of the exercise, which is required to drive the body up and back into the cobra posture, the hip muscles, especially the glutes and hip flexors, are activated.
  • Erector Spinae: During cobra push-ups, erector spinae muscles are engaged to extend and stabilize the spine.

Cobra push-ups can help improve upper body strength, stability, mobility, and endurance by working these muscle groups together. 

Related: Ring Push Ups – Complete Exercise Guide

Cobra Push-Ups Benefits

Cobra push-ups are an advanced variation of standard push-ups that can offer a wide range of benefits for your body. Here are some of the key benefits of cobra push-ups:

Increased Upper Body Strength

Cobra push-ups help target the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and core muscles, which can lead to increased upper body strength over time. By incorporating cobra push-ups into your workout routine, you can challenge your muscles in new ways and build greater overall strength.

Improved Flexibility

Cobra push-ups require a great deal of flexibility in the spine and hips in order to be able to perform them correctly. Regularly performing this exercise can help you become more flexible and mobile in general, reducing your chance of injury and enhancing your performance in other exercises.

Better Posture

By engaging the erector spinae muscles during cobra push-ups, you can improve your posture and reduce the risk of back pain. These muscles are in charge of stretching and supporting the spine, which can help offset the consequences of prolonged sitting and eliminate bad posture.

Enhanced Core Stability

Cobra push-ups require a strong core in order to maintain stability throughout the movement. By regularly practicing this exercise, you can improve your overall core strength and stability, which can lead to better balance and control in other exercises and daily activities.

Target Multiple Muscle Groups 

Cobra push-ups are a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups in the upper body, including the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. By targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously, you can save time and get more out of your workout.

Boost Metabolism

As a challenging exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, cobra push-ups can help boost your metabolism and increase your calorie burn. This is especially useful for people who want to shed weight or enhance their body composition.

Develop Mind-Muscle Connection

Cobra push-ups require focus and concentration in order to perform correctly. By practicing this exercise regularly, you can develop a stronger mind-muscle connection, which can be really beneficial for you overall.

At last, cobra push-ups are a challenging and effective exercise that can provide a range of benefits for your physical health. To be safe, you should only do this exercise if you have a strong base of upper-body stability and strength.

Like with any exercise, using the right form and technique can help you avoid injuries and get the most out of your workout.

Related: Aztec Push Ups – Complete Exercise Guide

8 Tips to Perform Cobra Push Ups

Here are some tips to perform cobra push-ups effectively to get all the benefits.

  1. Warm-up: Before attempting any exercise, it’s important to warm up your muscles and joints to prevent injury. You can perform some light cardio or dynamic stretching to get your blood flowing and warm up your body.
  2. Start with easier variations: If you’re new to cobra push-ups, start with easier pushup variations such as knee push-ups or incline push-ups. These will help you build strength and stability before attempting the full cobra push-up. Also, incorporate the cobra pose in your stretching routine as it can also help you get used to the movement type.
  3. Keep your core engaged: Throughout the entire movement, focus on engaging your core muscles to maintain stability and control. This will also help to protect your lower back.
  4. Maintain proper form: Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, and avoid arching your lower back too much during the upward movement. Keep your elbows close to your body and lower your chest toward the ground
  5. Breathe: Inhale as you lower your chest towards the ground and exhale as you push your body up and back into the cobra pose.
  6. Practice regularly: Like any exercise, consistency is key to seeing results. Incorporate cobra push-ups into your workout routine 2-3 times a week, gradually increasing the number of reps and sets over time.
  7. Use proper hand placement: Place your hands under your shoulders and keep them slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. This will help you maintain proper form and engage the correct muscle groups.
  8. Pay attention to your body, and take pauses as necessary: It’s important to pay attention to your body and take pauses as necessary. Stop and rest if you experience any pain or discomfort throughout the workout.

By following these tips, you can perform cobra pushups safely and effectively, and reap the several benefits this exercise has to offer.

Also Read: Do Push-Ups Help With Pull-Ups? Unlocking The Connection

5 Alternatives And Variations to Cobra Push Ups

1. Cobra Pose

cobra pose
Vips_s/ Shutterstock

Cobra pose, also known as Bhujangasana in Sanskrit, is a yoga pose that helps to strengthen the back and stretch the chest, erector spinae, and shoulders. In order to execute this pose, you should:

  1. With your legs extended and your hands on the floor, lie on your stomach.
  2. As you inhale, press into your hands and lift your head, chest, and upper abdomen off the ground, arch your back keeping your elbows close to your body.
  3. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your look forward or slightly upward.
  4. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then exhale and release back down to the ground.

This pose will help you stretch your upper body muscles and help you get rid of stiffness. That’s why this exercise makes up to be a good variation to cobra push-ups.

2. Pike To Cobra Push Up

pike to cobra push ups
GelgelNasution/ Shutterstock

Pike to cobra push-up is an advanced exercise that combines the pike position with a pushup, and cobra pose. Following are the steps to performing this exercise correctly:

  1. Begin in a plank posture, keeping your back straight, hands shoulder-width apart, and feet together.
  2. Raise your hips back and up, maintaining your legs straight and your head between your arms, until your body forms an inverted “V”.
  3. Lower yourself down into a pike pushup position, keeping your elbows close to your body and your core engaged.
  4. From the lower position, push yourself up into the cobra pose by arching your back and lifting your upper body.
  5. Push yourself back up into the pike position and repeat.

It’s important to keep your core engaged throughout the exercise and avoid letting your hips sag during the pushup portion. This exercise requires a lot of upper body and core strength, so it’s important to start with easier variations until you feel comfortable with the movement.

Related: Inverted Push-Ups – Complete Exercise Guide

3. Kneeling Cobra Push Ups

kneeling cobra push ups
khairun antekd/ Shutterstock

Kneeling cobra push-ups are an easier variation of the standard cobra push-ups. You can strengthen your upper back, shoulders, and arms with the use of this workout. Here is how to perform kneeling cobra push-ups:

  1. Begin by kneeling on the ground, with your knees hip-width apart and your toes pointed behind you.
  2. Place your hands shoulder-width apart with your palms facing downwards on the ground.
  3. Slowly lower your chest towards the ground, while keeping your elbows close to your sides. As you lower your chest, bend your elbow and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. From here you have to lift your back and chest up, extend your arms and arch your back creating the “cobra” position.
  5. Hold for a little while before releasing gently and going back to the beginning position.

Repeat this exercise a few times, progressively boosting the number of reps as your strength improves. If you cannot perform the cobra push ups yet this exercise can help you do so. Remember to maintain proper form throughout the movement, and to breathe deeply throughout the exercise.

4. Diamond Push Ups

diamond push ups
Lio putra/ Shutterstock

Diamond push-ups are a variation of the traditional pushup that primarily work your triceps, chest, and shoulders. If while performing the cobra push-ups triceps strength was your problem then this exercise can help you build that tricep strength to perform the cobra push-ups. Here is how to perform the diamond push-ups:

  1. Begin in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet together.
  2. Bring your hands together so that your thumbs and index fingers create a diamond shape.
  3. Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, while keeping your core tight and your back straight.
  4. Pause for a second, then push yourself back up to the starting position once your chest is just over the ground.
  5. Continue this exercise for the appropriate number of sets and reps; as you gain strength, progressively increase the number of reps.

Remember to maintain proper form throughout the movement, and to breathe deeply throughout the exercise. You may adapt this exercise by doing it on your knees rather than your feet if you find it too challenging.

5. Shoulder Tap Push Ups

shoulder tap push ups
Lio putra/ Shutterstock

Shoulder tap push-ups are a challenging variation of the traditional push-up that help to strengthen your chest, triceps, shoulders, and core while also improving your balance and coordination. This exercise is a great alternative to cobra pushups. Here is how you can perform the shoulder tap push-ups:

  1. Begin in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet together.
  2. Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, while keeping your core tight and your back straight.
  3. When your chest is just over the ground, stop for a moment, then push yourself back up to the starting position.
  4. After you’re back in plank position, take your right hand off the floor and touch your left shoulder.
  5. Return your right hand to the ground, and repeat with your left hand tapping your right shoulder.
  6. Continue alternating shoulder taps with each rep of the pushup.
  7. Repeat for the preferred number of sets and reps.

Remember this is an advanced exercise and make sure to maintain proper form throughout the movement, to avoid injury. Begin with a low number of reps and progressively increase as you gain strength and comfort with the exercise. You may modify this workout by standing on your knees rather than your toes if you find it to be too challenging.


In conclusion, cobra push-ups are a challenging and effective exercise that can help you build strength, flexibility, and endurance in your upper body. These may be a part of a comprehensive routine that can help you accomplish your fitness objectives by targeting your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles.

It can provide many benefits like increased upper body strength, improved flexibility, better posture, enhanced core stability, boosted metabolism, develop a mind-muscle connection, and more. 

There are also many alternatives and variations you can try like the cobra pose, pike to cobra push-up, kneeling cobra push-ups, diamond push-ups, and shoulder tap push-ups.

Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran athlete, including cobra push-ups in your training program will help you improve your fitness. Give these exercises a try the next time you work out your upper body to witness the effects for yourself.

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