How to do incline push-ups — and are they more effective than traditional push-ups?

Push-ups help to strengthen your body. Incline push-ups have also gained popularity, especially among beginners. Let us tell you everything about incline push-ups.
A woman doing incline push-ups
Incline push-ups are great for upper body strength. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 14 Jun 2024, 12:00 pm IST
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Push-ups are an effective way to build body strength. It is a popular exercise, as it can be done anywhere and you don’t require any equipment to perform it. Even though push-ups look simple, but they can be very challenging. That’s why there are many variations of push-ups. One of them is incline push-up, which is perfect for beginners or even elderly people, who are looking for an exercise to build upper body strength. Here is a lowdown on including incline push-ups in your routine for building strength, and if they are better than regular push-ups.

What are incline push-ups?

Incline push-ups are a variation of traditional push-ups and primarily focus on the upper chest muscles (major pectoralis), shoulder, triceps, hips and abdomen, says fitness and nutrition expert Aman Puri. Incline push-ups are easy to perform and can be done with any elevated surface such as a bench, chair or box.

A woman gearing up to do incline push-up
Incline push-up is a variation of the classic push-up. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the health benefits of doing incline push-ups?

Incline push-ups are good for chest muscle strength. Here are some of its benefits:

  • Regularly performing this exercise increases muscular strength and helps build a well-defined physique and toned arms, lowering body fat.
  • Incline push-ups engage core muscles and help improve posture.
  • It may lower the risk of obesity, as it helps reduce body fat.

How to do incline push-ups?

Beginners can start with a higher level of incline for push-ups.

  • For performing incline push-ups, try keeping your body in a straight line with head aligned with the spine. Toes should be pointed towards the floor and both palms at a shoulder-width distance.
  • Place your hands on the elevated surface inhaling while bending your elbows to a lower level of the chest.
  • Exhale while you come back upwards distancing your chest from the elevated level keeping your arms straight.

If you are a beginner, you can perform it in 10 to 12 reps, suggests the expert. Once you get used to it or feel comfortable, increase the reps for a high-intensity exercise.

Remember that the best way to perform incline push-ups is to maintain body posture and slowly increase the intensity. Make sure your hands are placed apart below the shoulder, and the head and back position is straight. If the hip level is very low, abdominal muscles won’t get utilised. Flaring elbows outside can increase shoulder pain, so elbows should be angled inwards towards the abdomen.

Are incline push-ups harder than traditional push-ups?

The lower the level of the plank, the higher the difficulty level of the push-up, says Puri. So, an inclined push-up can be an easy start level for someone struggling to do a regular push-up. This variation of push-ups is easier, as the extreme angle is less and the range of motion is also small. The elevated support level makes it easier to do push-ups.

A woman gearing up for incline push-ups
Incline push-ups are easier than traditional push-ups. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Are incline push-ups better than traditional push ups?

It may depend on your fitness goal. Incline push-ups focus on chest muscles putting less pressure on the elbow joint. Traditional push-ups involve whole-body strength, as they activate muscles in the arms and shoulders, and also engage muscles in the core and legs.

Who should avoid doing incline push-ups?

People having injuries of wrist, shoulder, elbow or spinal injuries should consult their doctor or trainer first so that modifications and alterations in variations can be done. People having compromised bone health or bone density should also avoid this exercise.

Incline push-ups, a variation of traditional push-ups, are a great way to build chest muscle strength. It is a good exercise for beginners, but if you have wrist or spinal injuries, don’t do it without checking with your doctor.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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