Cobra Push-Up Exercise Guide

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The cobra push-up is a challenging stretching exercise as well as a strengthening exercise that provides numerous benefits. It works the lower back, quads, abs, and gluteal muscles, as well as the posterior chain muscles such as the triceps brachii.

This workout can improve posture, relieve lower back pain, and increase flexibility and range of motion.

However, it is important to perform the cobra push-up with proper form, such as ensuring that the hands are in the correct position, elbows are not locked, and hips remain low. This exercise can help to gain the best possible results.

What Is A Cobra Push-Up?

The cobra push-up, also known as prone cobra push-up is a variation of the standard push-up exercise which requires greater strength and targets the same muscle groups, primarily the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulder muscles.

The cobra push-up is an advanced exercise that engages a range of muscle groups, making it a full-body workout. It requires balance, stability, and body awareness to successfully complete the exercise. As well as stretching the pectoral muscles, quads, abs, and ankle dorsiflexors, it also targets the core and hip flexors. The cobra push-up is a challenging workout that can help develop strength and flexibility.

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How to Do A Cobra Push-Up

To do a cobra push-up:

  • Start by lying face down on the ground with your torso and thighs flat. Place your palms underneath your shoulders.
  • Push up from the floor while using your buttocks to keep your hips as close to the ground as possible (arched back position), raising your head and shoulders while pushing the chest out and straightening your elbows.
  • Pause for five seconds at the top of the exercise before slowly lowering your upper body back to the floor.

Repeat this motion for the desired number of reps to complete one set.

Muscles Involved In A Cobra Push-Up

The cobra push-up is an effective exercise that targets both the anterior chain muscles and posterior chain muscles. It lengthens the muscles in the anterior chain while reinforcing muscles in the posterior chain.

When performing the cobra push-up, the triceps is working to extend the elbow joint. This large, tri-headed muscle is located at the back of the upper arm and not only helps with extending the elbow but also plays a role in extending the arm at the shoulder joint.

Additionally, the lower back muscles, specifically the spinal extensors, help to support spinal extension while contracting. At the same time, the gluteal and hamstring muscles work together to keep the hips close or against the ground. The gluteal muscles especially function to extend the hip when performing a cobra push-up, as it helps to push the hips forward. The hamstrings offer assistance in this action.

As you perform this exercise, not only will your elbow flexors and hip flexors be stretched but also other muscles such as pectorals, abdominals, neck flexors, and ankle dorsiflexors.

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Benefits Of Cobra Push-Ups

The three main benefits of the cobra push-up are:

Increased Flexibility & Muscle Extensibility

Cobra push-ups are a great exercise for increasing flexibility and muscle extensibility. This exercise stretches many muscles, including the pectoral muscles, quads, abs, and ankle dorsiflexion muscles. It helps to increase flexibility so that daily activities are easier to perform such as squatting down and leaning backward.

Additionally, an increased range of motion is achieved through this exercise as it increases the tolerance of the muscle to stretch. Through regular stretching exercises, such as cobra push-ups, you can benefit from improved flexibility and increased range of motion.

Could Relieve Lower Back Pain

The cobra push-up can relieve lower back pain. A 2019 study demonstrated that gentle stretching and strengthening of the abdominal muscles, iliopsoas and gluteal muscles may help to reduce lower back pain. The cobra push-up is a great way to do this, as it engages these same muscles while also targeting the core and improving its stability. With regular practice of this exercise, you could potentially reduce your lower back pain and enjoy increased comfort in that area.

Improved Posture

Cobra push-ups provide an array of benefits for those who integrate them into their daily exercise routine. Improved posture can be one of the main advantages, as this exercise helps to reverse the rounded, slumped posture that many of us take on during the day. This is due to tight muscles in the anterior chain, which are stretched and strengthened through cobra push-ups, thus combating the developing poor posture.

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Cobra Push-Up Mistakes To Avoid

The Cobra push-up is a fantastic exercise that can provide many long-term benefits when done correctly. However, improper execution like with most exercises can lead to injury and pain instead of the desired results.

Specifically, incorrect cobra push-up form can cause lower back pain, shoulder problems, and neck issues. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the mistakes that can be made when performing this exercise to avoid potential injuries.

Wrong Hand Placement

Having the hands too wide apart or too close together can both have negative effects when practicing the cobra push-up. When placing the hands on the floor, they should be positioned just far enough apart to allow a comfortable stretch in the chest without locking or straining the shoulders. Doing this will help to prevent any discomfort in the neck.

Lifting The Hips

When performing a cobra push-up, its final position resembles the upward-facing dog yoga pose. The difference between the two is that the cobra push-up does not involve lifting the hips off of the floor.

This exercise is not about how high the upper body can be lifted but rather focuses on spinal and hip extension. Keeping the hips on the floor during the workout helps to avoid straining the lower back, and therefore avoiding potential back pain.

Locking The Elbows

Another mistake when doing a cobra push-up is locking the elbows instead of allowing the arms to relax and have a slight bend. When this happens, it can restrict the shoulder motion, which can also cause a stretch in the spine that can result in injury as well as reduce the intended benefits of the exercise.

Incorrect Leg Width Distance 

It is important to ensure that the legs are not too far apart, as this can lead to placing unnecessary stress on other body parts. Instead, the legs should be hip-width apart, neither too close nor too far away from each other.

Incorrect Neck Position

When performing the cobra push-up, it is important to ensure that the neck is in the correct position. Overextending the neck can lead to several issues, including restricted breathing due to blocked airways, as well as pain and discomfort in the neck muscles. To avoid such problems, try to keep your eyes focused on the ceiling while maintaining a neutral neck position.

Bottom Line

The prone cobra push-up is a fantastic exercise that can help to provide relaxation and improve your overall well-being in multiple ways. Not only does it promote the stretching of key muscles around the lower back and torso regions, but it also assists with toning and strengthening those areas, providing a way to increase flexibility and mobility.

It requires no equipment and can be done almost anywhere, making it a great exercise to add to your regular fitness routine. The bottom line, this is an excellent exercise to add to your workout routine.

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