Do you know what are the major muscles that help push, pull, or swing? If not sure, this article is the right place to start. Here we’ll examine all the muscles that help in generating pushing movement. Maybe you’re already asking yourself why this is relevant to know. Well, here’s why! The mission of the push, pull, swing concept is to ensure that you engage all of your muscles, not just the ones that look good in a mirror, during your workouts. Furthermore, for a successful strength training you need to incorporate an equal number of pushing and pulling movements to obtain and keep muscular balance.
We can divide all major muscles in our body in a simple and very understandable way according to the function they perform:
- Pushing muscles. Muscles that help generate pushing movement. When you perform push exercises, you carry out movements in which you push the weight or resistance away from your body (during the concentric portion of the movement).
- Pulling muscles. Muscles in the human body that help generate pulling movement. When you perform pull exercises, you carry out movement in which the muscle pulls weight toward the body during the concentric portion of the movement and then lengthens as the weight moves away from the body during the eccentric portion of the exercise.
- Muscles that help push and pull at the same time.
- Swinging muscles. These muscles assist and support in moving your torso through various planes of motion. For example, bending your body from side to side, twisting right and left, lowering and rising your torso, etc.
Major pushing muscles in the human body
Here you will find a brief description of all the major muscles in the human body that help generate pushing movements. Muscles that help push are the following: pectorals, triceps, quadriceps, and calves. Yes, you have noticed well. Shoulders are not classified in this category despite the fact that you push the weight away from your body when you do barbell or shoulder presses. Pushing exercises include push-ups, bench presses, back squats, triceps overhead presses, forward lunges, calf raises, and countless other exercises.
You actually have two separate groups of muscles that make up your chest. The larger of the two is the pectoralis major, the top layer that lies closest to your skin. The fibers of this muscle originate at three locations: your collarbone, your breastbone, and your ribs just below your breastbone. From there, the fibers stretch across both sides of your chest in a fan shape, starting wide at the center of your body and tapering together at the sides of your body to attach to the top of your humerus (upper arm bone).
The smaller of the two muscle groups is the pectoralis minor, which rests underneath your pectoralis major. This thinner, more triangular muscle starts at your third, fourth, and fifth ribs and attaches near your shoulder joint.
HOW THEY WORK: Together, both muscles are responsible for moving your upper arms toward the center of your body and assist with drawing your shoulders forward. Whenever you either push a weight above your chest or push your body away from a stationary object (like the floor, when performing a pushup), your pectorals shorten in order to pull your arms across your chest and bring them together.
Located along the backs of your upper arms, your triceps are composed of three separate muscles, or heads: the lateral head, the medial head, and the long head. The three heads each start at one of two locations—your upper arm bone or your shoulder blade – then come together at your forearm, attaching to a tendon that connects to your elbow bone.
HOW THEY WORK: All three heads work together to extend your elbows. This is what you’re doing every time you straighten your arm from a bent position. This happens whenever you push a weight over your head or above your chest, for example. However, your triceps brachii also help out with other jobs. Foe example, they are stabilizing your shoulder joints during certain pushing movements and aiding your upper back muscles with arm adduction (which happens when you bring your arms down and back toward your body).
Your quads – the muscles that rest along the fronts of your thighs – divide into four separate heads: the vastus intermedius, the rectus femoris, the vastus lateralis, and the vastus medialis. The vastus intermedius attaches to and covers much of the front and sides of your femur (your thighbone) but is not visible, as it lies below the rectus femoris. The rectus femoris starts at your pelvis and runs down your thigh in front of the vastus intermedius. The vastus lateralis and medialis begin at the back of your femur laterally and medially, respectively. All four quadricep muscles run down your thigh and converge at the patellar tendon, which attaches along the upper part of your tibia (shinbone).
HOW THEY WORK: Your quadriceps are mainly responsible for extending your knees (straightening your legs). However, they also help to support and stabilize your knee joints, particularly the inner and outer sides. Because many of the pushing exercises that target your quadriceps also involve your lower legs. your quads often work in unison with your calves.
Calf muscles (calves)
Along the backs of your lower legs are two sets of muscle groups: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius (the larger of the two) is the one you can see. The soleus is hidden underneath the gastrocnemius and attaches just below your knee and at your Achilles tendon. Together, both sets of muscles combine to form the diamond-shaped muscle that extends from the back of your knee to your ankle.
HOW THEY WORK: The gastrocnemius’s job is to flex your foot, which is what you do whenever you elevate your heels. The soleus does the exact same thing, but only when your knees are bent.