Incline pushup lies somewhere in between knee push-ups and regular push-ups. Regular push is one of the best exercises to build upper body strength. Though many people, when they start, lack the form and strength required. Kneeling push-ups can be used as a progressive exercise towards it, but it becomes relatively easy. Speaking of which, incline push-ups serves as the right balance in between the kneeling push-ups and the regular push-ups.
This exercise is a great way to begin if you find difficulty attempting the regular push-ups. Incline push-ups will serve the same muscle group as compared to its counterpart, but it will put less strain on the elbows. Incline push-ups also reduce the amount of body weight you lift. This is also a great exercise for people who have previously had some form of shoulder or wrist injury.
Incline push-ups require the same form as that of the regular push-ups. The only difference is the elevated position of your hands. Incline push-ups can be initiated from a standing, push away position against the wall also known as wall push-up. You can then move to a chair, countertop or a table and eventually doing them against the low bench or a staircase.
It is a masterpiece that gives you the confidence to able to perform regular push-ups successfully. The intensity of this exercise depends upon the height of inclination. If it is a high inline like a chair, the intensity of the workout is low. And if it is a low incline, like a staircase, the intensity level increases.
In this segment of the push-ups, we will discuss the technique involved, the muscle group this exercise works on, its comparison with decline push-ups and the breathing pattern involved in the exercise.
Steps to perform incline push-ups
Incline push-ups require the same body formation as that of regular push-ups. In other words, it can be said that incline push-up is a progression towards the regular push-ups.
Following are the steps involved in doing an incline pushup.
1. Place your hands beneath the shoulder on an inclined surface. The hands must be shoulder width apart from each other. Extend your legs until it forms a straight line from the shoulder to the heels.
2. Tighten your core and bend your elbow to make a 45-degree angle with the trunk. Bend yourself until the elbows are in parallel with the back.
3. Extend the elbows to return to the start position. This completes one repetition. Perform as many repetitions as possible to get used to the movements.
This exercise can be performed by anyone who is just starting with their fitness regime. It is a much simpler version of the push-ups and is doable by almost everyone. You don’t need to have superhuman strength to perform it, and there is no secret element to it, which eludes you to attempt it.
Muscle group incline pushup works on?
The primary muscle that is targeted by this exercise includes pectoralis major, the anterior deltoid, and the triceps brachii. The pectoralis major is the main chest muscle. It enhances the overall strength carrying capacity of the chest. Other than this primary muscles it also works on the serratus anterior, coracobrachialis, subscapularis and the core, to a certain extent. The main focus of the incline pushup is more on the lower and center parts of the chest.
This exercise works less on the same muscle group as compared to the regular push-ups. The only difference between the two exercises is the intensity and difficulty level involved. This is the perfect exercise for the newbies who are looking forward to building some strength in their chest muscles.
The inclination height
The height of the inclination can be easily modified depending upon your comfort level. You can start by pushing against the wall and slowly move down towards the floor until your body is capable of doing the regular push-ups. Modification in the height can be easily done by making minor changes in the inclined surface used, and with time, you will have the necessary strength to do the regular push-up.
This exercise can also be attempted by people who have suffered shoulder injuries and are going through the rehab process. Such people can do this exercise to retain the strength and improve the quality of their fitness and ultimately their life.
Change the inclination surface to a much lower height, once you can complete 20 – 25 reps on its predecessor – higher surface. You can also try one leg inclined push-ups to increase the intensity level of the exercise.
Inclined push-ups against a wall
These push-ups are for the people who are starting from zero. The least aggressive style of pushup allows your body to adapt to the range of motion easily. Following are the steps to do a wall push-up.
1. Stand to face a wall and lean on it with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Do not place it too wide to avoid reducing the range of motion.
2. Slowly bend your elbow and get as close as possible to the wall. Push yourself by straightening the elbows and get back to the starting position.
3. Repeat the steps and attempt at least 20 repetitions to build strength and endurance. Once the body gets adaptable to the range of motion, try lowering the surface. The height of the surface can be lowered by using the bench, table or a bed.
How often should you do Incline push-ups?
For a beginner, this is a great exercise to build strength in your chest. If you’re not able to perform regular push-ups at once, use this exercise to get some momentum in your bodyweight training exercise.
For intermediate, that is capable of executing 20 reps within no time on a lower inclined surface, attempt the regular push-up.
For advanced level, try working out 2 – 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps of regular push-ups. When you feel doing the regular push-ups easily, try the decline variation of push-ups.
How to make Incline push-up more challenging?
1. To introduce the intensity factor in this rather less challenging exercise, you can lean on a lesser stable object. It could be an inclined ball push-up.
2. To make it a little more intense, lift one of your legs while doing the inclined ball push-up. This will challenge your balance and stability of the body.
3. Make use of a weighted vest in addition to the two variants discussed above. After attempting all of these, move to the regular push-up position.
The other way to make it more challenging is by using rings, Ring pushups are far more challenging than the incline pushup. Ring incline pushup requires you to include more of your core muscles.
Breathing pattern – In and Out
The breathing pattern in incline push-up is no different from the regular push-up variation. Breathe in as you lower yourself down and breathe out as you push up. It is essential to maintain proper breathing pattern to keep your fitness routine more effective.
Incline pushup vs. Decline pushup
Incline pushup can be thought as a progression towards the regular push-ups. And regular push-up is a progression towards decline push-up. Think of these exercise as a hierarchy system. To reach to the decline push-ups, you need to be able to complete the incline pushup and regular pushup with relative ease. Use this hierarchy system to build towards the more difficult variations of push-ups.
Though all of these exercises work on the same muscle group, the extent of muscle involved varies largely because in incline pushup your hands are on an elevated surface while in decline pushup your feets are on the elevated surface. Keeping your feet on an elevated surface also increases the weight on your upper body. You require more stability to perform decline pushup as compared to incline pushup. You need to have much stronger shoulder and chest to perform decline push-ups as compared to inclined and regular push-ups. The inclined push-up is a great exercise for people who have previously had some form of a shoulder injury. It also serves as rehab exercise for such people. It requires less amount of strength.
You can even intensify this exercises by including one of the three challenges as discussed above. This will keep your fitness routine more intensifies, because at times – incline push-ups can be quite boring. So get on the inclined surface and build your way up to the more challenging versions of push-ups.
Incline push-ups target the lower and middle region of the chest. This region is known as the sternal region. Incline push-ups allow to take off a little pressure from the front of your shoulder and triceps. This is the reason; almost anyone can perform inclined push-ups. Regardless of your experience level, novice or expert, inclined push-ups can be attempted anywhere, anytime.
When the body is inclined at a higher angle, the lower body maintains a greater amount of weight. Thus you end up pushing less resistance and weight while pushing your body up. Since the resistance is less in incline push-ups, this exercise is less effective as compared to regular push-ups. Muscle growth depends upon the stress exerted on them. The higher is the stress; the more will be visible growth in your muscles. Speaking of which, think of incline push-ups as a reserved option if regular push-ups are too difficult to do.