What is the bodyweight exercise complementary of the push-up? I got contradictory information.

Some claim it's the chin-up/pull-up and I always thought this was true. However, others claim that the bird is the complement.

Intuitively, I'd say that the first is correct, since you are putting enough strain using it.

  • I've never heard of a bird before. Do you have a link to a site showing this off?
    – user2861
    Jun 20, 2013 at 12:46
  • @LegoStormtroopr: just type "bird exercise" in Google Images.
    – xyz
    Jun 20, 2013 at 13:05
  • In the sense that a pushup is a shoulder extension exercise, then the bird in indeed complementary in that it is a shoulder flexion exercise. People usually mean working the opposing muscle groups though.
    – Affe
    Jun 22, 2013 at 0:38

2 Answers 2


If you are looking for a movement that goes through the same range of motion as a push-up, but in the opposite direction to gravity, its probably the Inverted Row.


I'd also never heard of "the bird" (other than that it's the word...) before, but from those images I can't see how it would be considered the inverse to the push-up.

Push-ups primarily target the chest and triceps, whereas chin-ups/pull-ups primarily target the back and biceps, so they're a strong contender for the inverse exercise to the push-up. Lego Stormtrooper's suggestion of the Inverted Row is also good.

Between the two, I'm not sure which would be the better option. It depends what equipment you have access to and what kind of shape you're in. If you have a chin-up bar already, but you can't adjust (lower) it to allow you to do inverted rows, then that makes the decision for you. However, I've always found inverted rows a fair amount easier than chin-ups or pull-ups, so if you're starting out I'd suggest those first - you can always progress to chin-ups and pull-ups later.

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