Bodyweight Style: Dive Bombers: Pressing On Without Equipment

Quick Tips

Males love upper body pressing because it tends to make us look muscular, and females love upper body pressing exercise because (apparently) it decreases the amount of jiggle on the back of their arms while waving or doing other upper extremity activities.

Arm Jiggle

Ladies… it’s all in your head 🙂

However, upper body pressing exercises have to be on the top of most people’s lists when it comes to a workout, so why not talk about it?

Hello dive bombers.

I love dive bombers.  Dive bombers bridge an important gap for upper body pressing, and more specifically, vertical upper body pressing.  Traditional vertical pressing can also be referred to as overhead pressing.  Military presses are probably the most recognizable exercise in this category.

Handstand push-ups look great on paper, but the reality is that handstand push-ups are often too aggressive for most people, and dumbbells and kettlebells are not always readily available for use.  If you stop and think about it, a handstand push-up (press-up) is an inverted vertical press where you’re lifting the weight of your entire body.  If you weigh 175lbs, you’re pressing 175lbs.  Add in the friction of your heels against the wall, and you’re probably pressing 180lbs or more.  A lot of people cannot vertically press their bodyweight in a strict fashion.

Dive bombers can fill this training gap when needed, and dive bombers have the progressions (more difficult) and regressions (less difficult) to fit the needs of most people.

Dive bombers are challenging enough for the toughest guy/gal, yet can be regressed for the beginner who seeks an upper body challenge.

For those of you who cannot perform handstand push-ups or want to save your walls and neck from wear and tear, dive bombers are a fantastic alternative.

I’ve seen a few variations to this movement.  If possible, I prefer working through the entire eccentric and concentric phases of this exercise.  Meaning, you’re going to lower yourself down into “the hole” and also press yourself out of “the hole”.

Some folks will lower themselves into the hole, press up, then raise their butt back to the starting position.  Essentially, you are performing half of the whole dive bomber by doing this.  I don’t see anything terribly wrong with this, but I would much rather see both eccentric (lowering portion) and concentric (upward portion) strength represented.

If you’re going to get all dressed up, you may as well dance.

Here is a snapshot overview on how to perform dive bombers…

The starting/finishing position of the dive bomber is very similar to downward facing dog in yoga.  Very similar.


Alignment from hands to hips could be better, but you get the general idea…

The lowering/pressing portion of the dive bomber demands upper body control, joint mobility and stability through the mid-section.


The mid-point press up provides a low load training stimulus similar to a modified dip












1)  Imagine slithering your body underneath barbed wire on the way down and also on the way back up.  Chest can brush the ground but does not lean or rest for any amount of time, them movement flows from start to finish.

2)  Lower into the hole with control and press hard on the way back up.

3)  Maintain posture from head to hips.  Don’t break.  If you do, regress the movement and work different phases before going for the whole thing.

4)  Regress if need be (work lowering phase only, or upward phase only), progress if need be (elevate feet, lower slower, single arm, etc).

5)  Breathe.


Don’t over think dive bombers or any other exercise.  Just do it.  Play around with it.  Tweak it and then tweak it again.  Experiment with your movement and what fits best.

Use your judgment on progressing the difficulty of the movement or dialing it back.

Here is sample bodyweight circuit with dive bombers included:

Bodyweight Workout

Dive bombers fit nicely in circuits because they can be adjust to be sub-maximal, which is an important consideration when fatigue begins to set in.  Again, they are a great alternative for vertical pressing, and it’s undeniable that there is a significant amount of stress put on the core to maintain posture throughout the range of motion.

It’s a home-run movement that is safe and effective.

Integrate into your training regimen right now.



Cheers to dive bombers, improved pressing habits and blasting jiggle!



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