Incline Push Ups Benefits:
Decreases risk of injury and improves strength.
Increases flexibility and mobility. Increases range of motion in your joints. Improves balance and coordination. Decreases strain on your body due to muscle fatigue or overuse.
Improves cardiovascular fitness and reduces stress on your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, spleen, blood vessels and other vital organs. Increases bone density and prevents osteoporosis. Increases strength and power. Strengthens your core muscles which are responsible for stabilizing your spine, improving posture, reducing back pain and preventing injuries such as strains, sprains and fractures. Improves balance and proprioception (your sense of where your body parts are). Improves muscular endurance.
How Many Decline Push Ups Should I Do?
There is no right answer. Your goal will depend on your own level of fitness and goals. However, it’s recommended that you start with 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps at first, then increase the number of repetitions gradually until you reach your desired weight. For example if you want to lose 5 pounds, you would perform 8 sets of 15 reps at a weight between 60% and 75% of your one rep max (1RM) for each exercise.
How To Do A Decline Push-Up:
To begin, place your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width. Your fingers should be pointed forward and your body straight from your heels to your head. Place your legs together and tighten your core so that your body is straight from your heels to the top of your head. Incline pushups can be done with either flat feet or with your feet on an exercise step or bench.
If you’re new to exercise or have existing shoulder problems, it’s better to do incline pushups with your feet on a bench. Place your feet on a low bench or a sturdy exercise step that’s around 6-12 inches high. If you’re very inflexible or have existing shoulder injuries, do incline pushups with your feet on the floor. This will place less strain on your shoulders and allow you to build up strength before advancing to higher platforms. If you’re using an incline bench, position yourself so your hips are at the very end of the bench and your head is hanging off the edge. If you’re using an exercise step, position yourself so your hips are just above the top step and your head is hanging off the edge. Hold yourself in the starting position for a moment making sure your arms are straight and core is tight. Take a breath in and on the exhale slowly lower yourself towards the floor until your chest is just a couple of inches above the floor. You can also lower yourself until your chest touches the floor but this might put excessive strain on your shoulders if you’re new to exercise or have existing shoulder issues. If this is the case, stick with just lowering yourself until your chest is a couple of inches above the floor. Pause at the lowest point to get your balance and make any minor adjustments needed. Make sure your arms are straight and your core is tight before you begin to push yourself back up. If you’re doing the move with your feet on an exercise step or bench, push with both legs to return to the starting position. If you’re doing the move with your feet on the floor, push up with your legs while keeping your knees bent and your feet pressed into the floor. After completing the desired number of reps, rest and repeat for the desired number of sets.
Things To Avoid:
Don’t let your back sag or round as you lower yourself. Your core should stay tight and your body should stay in a straight line from your heels to your head. If you find this difficult, try bending your knees slightly or elevating your feet on a low exercise step to take some stress off the lower back.
Don’t jerk your body or snap your arms when you push yourself up. This can put a lot of force on your shoulder and upper body joints so make sure you control the movement and only push with as much force as is necessary to lift your body.
Don’t tuck your head into your chest. Make sure you keep your head aligned with your spine throughout the move. If you begin to feel the muscles in the back of your neck and upper shoulders begin to burn, try lowering yourself slightly or taking a momentary rest before continuing.
Don’t shrug your shoulders in an attempt to lift more weight. This is dangerous for your joints. If you find that you are shrugging your shoulders during the up phase, take a lighter weight or just focus on keeping your shoulders down throughout the move.
Shrugging the shoulders during the up phase – The goal is to keep your arms straight and only use your chest, shoulders and traps to push yourself up. Shrugging your shoulders or allowing them to lift during the up phase can stress the joints in your shoulders.
Rounding the back or allowing it to bow during the down phase – Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels throughout the exercise. If you begin to round your back, you’re likely to shrug your shoulders or arch your lower back in an attempt to continue moving. Either one of these habits will place too much strain on the joints of your upper and lower body.
Performing the exercise slow and controlled – While you should avoid using excess momentum when lowering and pushing yourself up, a little thrust helps to get the most out of the exercise. When you begin to push yourself up, try to accelerate your movement a little. This will help engage more muscles and provide a better workout.
Failed the exercise? Need to improve your strength?
Consider adding in Dumbbell Incline Presses to supplement this exercise.
The decline bench press is a great exercise that builds your chest and shoulder muscles. As with any exercise, it’s important that you perform the move correctly to decrease the risk of injury and maximize the benefit to your muscles.
By focusing on keeping your back straight and maintaining a solid base by pressing through your feet into the floor, you can make sure you don’t end up sacrificing form. It’s fine to pause for a moment and “set up” before lowering the bar but don’t spend too much time trying to psych yourself up. The second you take your eyes off the bar is the second it becomes easier to mess up your form.
Try to limit this exercise to between 1-3 sets of 6-12 reps depending on your fitness level and goals. If you’re new to weight training or have more “endurance” goals, perform it in the lower range. If you’re more experienced or have strength-focused goals, perform it in the higher rep range.
Make sure you take a proper warm up set or two to get the blood flowing into your chest and arms and always remember to control the bar on the way down and pause for a moment at the bottom. This will prevent you from using excess momentum and straining your joints. Make sure you have a solid grip on the bar and always keep your shoulders relaxed.
Don’t let this seemingly simple exercise catch you slipping up and allow your shoulders to shrug up toward your ears. Keep your core engaged and your body straight and you’ll have a much safer, more effective workout.
Once you’ve learned the form, try this exercise out and make sure you’re ready before moving on to something else. If you’re unsure of anything or feel pain while performing this exercise, stop and double check that you have the correct form down pat. Never perform an exercise that causes you pain and always take a break if you feel any strain or discomfort.
Once you’re sure you’ve got the form down, you can use this exercise as one of many that will help strengthen your chest and shoulders. Make sure you vary the types of presses you do and don’t rely on this single move too often. You can also add in Dumbbell Incline Presses to hit a different angle of your chest and Tricep Kickbacks for your shoulders.
This exercise won’t help you get massive “guns” but it can help you achieve that “chiseled” look by strengthening and defining your chest and shoulder muscles.
Sources & references used in this article:
Pushup exercise system and apparatus by A Payne – US Patent 9,517,382, 2016 – Google Patents
Kinetic, kinematic, and electromyographical analysis of incline and decline push-ups with different cadences by MJ Duffey, V Zatsiorsky – Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2003 – LWW
Adjustable exercise platform by K Yang – 2011 – d.lib.msu.edu
Strength Training (Latihan Kekuatan) by CM Wynn III – US Patent 8,216,114, 2012 – Google Patents
Exercise method and device by K Yang – Doctor of Philosophy, Michigan State University, USA, 2011
Mat with handprints to do pushups by F Chan – Cerdas Sifa Pendidikan, 2012 – online-journal.unja.ac.id