Dive Bomber Push-Ups: Benefits, Muscles Worked, More

published by: Debbie Luna
Last Updated:
November 28, 2022

Among the many variations of the conventional push-up exercise, few take as many teachings from Yogic exercise as the dive bomber push-up; one such variation that features a stretching motion and abdominal contraction alongside the typical benefits of a push-up.

Due to their relative obscurity however, many exercisers may be unsure of how to go about performing this exercise, or even why to perform it in the first place.

To put it concisely, dive bomber push-ups are a progression from standard push-ups meant to build upon the usual muscular activation and benefits of the latter exercise - wherein dive bomber push-ups are increasing mobility improvement and core muscle activation while retaining much of the upper body development of a conventional push-up.

What are Dive Bomber Push-Ups?

The dive bomber push-up is a bodyweight compound exercise performed for the purpose of training the muscles of the upper body and core - usually alongside other bodyweight exercises as a primary compound movement.

dive bomber push up

Dive bomber push-ups take several characteristics from standard Yogic exercise, such as each repetition beginning in the downward dog yoga pose as well as involving a slow stretching of the thorax so as to maximize abdominal stability development.

Equipment Needed

Being a calisthenic exercise with only bodyweight resistance, dive bomber push-ups do not require any sort of equipment and are performed entirely on the floor.

Individuals without a sufficiently comfortable area may wish to invest in a yoga mat so as to make the exercise more comfortable.

Difficulty Level

Due to the positioning and movement of dive bomber push-ups, it is considered to be an intermediate level exercise that is somewhat more difficult to perform than the standard push-up exercise.

Furthermore, dive bomber push-ups will require some level of hip and abdominal mobility so as to safely complete the repetition.

Exercisers who are new to push-ups or otherwise possess an injury that prevent them from performing push-ups may wish to avoid dive bomber push-ups as well - or, at least, until they have conditioned themselves enough to perform the latter exercise safely.

How to do Dive Bomber Push-Ups?

Setting Up

To prepare for a set of dive bomber push-ups, the exerciser will lie on all fours, preferably atop a mat or similarly safe and comfortable material.

Then, the exerciser will assume the downward dog yoga pose, thrusting their pelvis backwards until their body forms a triangular shape with the buttocks being at the apex of this triangle. The hands and feet must remain flat across the floor, with the knees relatively straight and the chest facing downwards.

Performing the Dive Bomber Push-Up

Once in the downward dog position, the exerciser will bend their elbows, retracting the scapula and drawing the body forward until the elbows are parallel with the sides of the torso. 

This will appear as if the downward dog triangle has collapsed and transitioned into a standard push-up, with the torso relatively flat and parallel with the floor.

From this position, the exerciser will then transition into an upward dog pose, pushing through the palms and elbows and extending the torso upward until the chest is facing forward and somewhat away from the floor.

To complete the repetition, the exerciser will simply reverse the movement, transitioning back to a downward dog position.

Note that throughout this entire movement, the knees and chest do not make contact with the floor, and that the entire movement is performed in a single smooth and controlled action, with no stopping between poses.

Muscles Worked by Dive Bomber Push-Ups

Much like standard push-ups, dive bomber push-ups train a number of upper body muscle groups alongside several other secondary muscles that are recruited to a lesser capacity.

dive bomber push up muscles

Dive bomber push-ups preserve the original intended purpose of push-ups through chest and triceps training, though dive bomber push-ups can take this a step further by widening the range of motion and further including other muscle groups in a dynamic manner.

Primary Mover Muscles

The primary mover muscles involved in dive bomber push-ups are the pectoral muscle group, the triceps brachii and the anterior head of the deltoid muscle group.

These three are recruited in a dynamic fashion throughout the entirety of the diver bomber push-up movement, and are developed the most effectively by the exercise.

Secondary Mover Muscles

Muscles recruited in a dynamic capacity but to a lesser degree than the primary mover muscles are referred to as secondary mover muscles, with the secondary mover muscles of the dive bomber push-up being the medial deltoid head, the gluteus muscles, the erector spinae, the serratus anterior and certain portions of the abdominal muscles.

It is this set of muscular recruitment that sets the dive bomber push-up apart from its more conventional counterpart, as the traditional push-up does not recruit such muscles in a dynamic capacity whatsoever, instead relegating them to the role of acting as stabilizing muscles.

Stabilizer Muscles

The stabilizer muscles of the dive bomber push-up are quite similar to that of conventional push-ups or planks, as it is the core musculature, forearms and posterior head of the deltoid muscles that contract in an isometric capacity.

One may note that the abdominal muscles are marked as secondary mover muscles, yet are also listed as a part of the core musculature - this is because the muscles of the abdomen are both stabilizing the torso as well as dynamically contracting during the transition point of the dive bomber push-up.

Benefits of Dive Bomber Push-Ups

Improved Full-Body Mobility

Because of the fact that dive bomber push-ups incorporate two yoga poses alongside a significant abdominal stretch with each repetition, individuals who regularly practice this exercise will see a marked improvement in their mobility - regardless of which part of the body it is.

In particular, exercisers will experience a stretch in the hips, thorax and clavicular portions of the torso during certain portions of the dive bomber push-up.

Greater Coordination and Proprioception

While calisthenic exercises in general are known for improving bodily coordination and an exerciser’s innate sense of proprioception, dive bomber push-ups take this a step further by requiring a highly dynamic and controlled set of movements be made while in a disadvantageous position.

In time, this means that the exerciser will slowly develop the balance and control needed to execute even more complex movements than the dive bomber push-up.

Improved Muscular Strength, Size and Stability

Because of the resistance and tension placed on the muscles of the body during a dive bomber push-up, exercisers will note a general improvement in the primary and secondary mover muscles that are employed.

Increases in muscle mass, total force output and the muscle’s capacity to remain stable when under tension will all be developed quite effectively by the dive bomber push-up, so long as the exerciser’s other fitness choices are in line with achieving muscular development.

Reduced Risk of Injury (Core Stabilization)

Just as the primary and secondary mover muscles are made more stable by dive bomber push-ups, so too are the muscles that make up the core.

Considering the fact that the core muscles are responsible for greatly reducing injury of the spine and abdomen, it is no surprise that any strengthening of these muscle groups will subsequently result in a reduced risk of certain injuries of such areas.

This can result in a reduced risk of hernias, lower back pain or other soft-tissue injuries normally encountered due to muscular weakness of the core.

Common Mistakes Made While Doing Dive Bomber Push-Ups

Descending too Quickly

Just as is the case in many other exercises, performing the dive bomber push-up in too rapid a fashion is among one of the most common mistakes that may be made.

In particular, descending too quickly from the downward dog position at the beginning of the repetition can greatly reduce the amount of tension placed on the muscles of the body - thereby also reducing any benefits that may be received from performing the exercise.

Dive bomber push-ups are meant to be performed in a slow and controlled manner, with full repetitions lasting up to several seconds each so as to maximize time under tension and reduce any risk of injury that may be present.

Rounding the Lower Back During Downward Dog

During the apex of the dive bomber push-up, the pelvis is thrust upward, with the legs and back descending from this point in relatively straight fashion. 

From a sideways perspective, this will appear as the body forming an inverted “V” or a triangle, as the lower back is not meant to be rounded whatsoever.

Rounding of the lower back during this phase of the repetition can signal poor hip or back mobility, or simply a lack of relevant exercise cue adherence.

Failing to Complete Upward Dog

On the opposite end of the spectrum to round of the back, there is the common mistake of the exerciser failing to push their chest outwards enough, thereby reducing the range of motion of the exercise and also affecting the benefits one may accrue.

The chest should point somewhat away from the floor as the exerciser completes this phase of the repetition, stretching the abdomen and clavicles as the pectoral muscles are squeezed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Dive Bomber Push-Ups Hard?

Dive bomber push-ups can be considered to be relatively more difficult than their conventional counterpart, especially for novice or intermediate level exercisers that are unfamiliar with the movement pattern of the dive bomber push-up.

In order to prepare oneself for this exercise, it is advisable to first become familiar with the conventional plank and push-up exercises so as to allow for a smoother transition to dive bomber push-ups.

What do Dive Bomber Push-Ups Work?

Dive bomber push-ups primarily work the muscles of the chest, triceps and abs - all skeletal muscle groups used to great effect in many other push-type exercises.

For individuals wishing to grow thicker arms, a more robust chest and abs that pop when visible, dive bomber push-ups are doubtless an excellent exercise to help achieve their goals.

Are Dive Bomber Push-Ups Good?

If your goals involve developing the push muscles of your upper body or generally improving your functional fitness, then dive bomber push-ups are perfect for including into a workout routine.

Dive bomber push-ups combine aspects of yoga and calisthenic exercise to form a movement that aids in muscular stability, muscular strength and general mobility in a single motion - making it both convenient and highly effective when done right.

In Conclusion

Now that we’ve covered the how and what of dive bomber push-ups, it’s time to decide on whether you will include it into your workout routine.

While dive bomber push-ups are undoubtedly quite effective at achieving their specific purposes, there’s a chance that your training goals are not in-line with the benefits that such an exercise can provide - or, worse, that the exercise itself does not mesh with your current training program.

As such, we encourage you to first try out dive bomber push-ups on their own and to see if the difficulty involved will disrupt the flow of your workouts or not.

References

1. Kim YS, Kim DY, Ha MS. Effect of the push-up exercise at different palmar width on muscle activities. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Jan;28(2):446-9. doi: 10.1589/jpts.28.446. Epub 2016 Feb 29. PMID: 27064571; PMCID: PMC4792988.

2. Whissell E, Wang L, Li P, Li JX, Wei Z. Biomechanical Characteristics on the Lower Extremity of Three Typical Yoga Manoeuvres. Appl Bionics Biomech. 2021 Aug 12;2021:7464719. doi: 10.1155/2021/7464719. PMID: 34422111; PMCID: PMC8378959.

Debbie (Deb) started powerlifting and Olympic lifting in High School as part of her track team's programming; She continues to train in order to remain athletic. Inspire US allows Deb to share information related to training, lifting, biomechanics, and more.
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