If you’ve ever looked for good bodyweight exercises to add to your routine, you’ve probably come across the incline push up. And incline push ups benefits are something to take note of, as they are a great push up variation.
And like most, you probably wonder what the incline push up benefits are!
Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at five of them. Let’s dive straight in.
1. It’s Great For Training The Mid and Lower Pecs
To do an incline push up, you need to place your hands on an elevated object and have your feet on the ground. This means your body is at an angle that allows you to emphasize your mid and lower chest. (1)
If you want to target your lower chest, you position your body at an incline where your feet are lower than your chest (as shown below).
However, if the incline gets too steep (like a push up on your kitchen counter), then the resistance becomes too minimal to get a decent workout.
Training and Targeting the Middle Chest
In contrast, if you want to train the mid-chest area more, simply do the classic version where you press up and down while having your arms in line with your chest.
The light red (triceps, front deltoid) and dark red (chest) shades below indicate the muscles worked. The light red are secondary, and the dark red are primary muscles worked. So chest is primary, and front deltoid and triceps are secondary.
2. It Trains a Range of Muscle Groups
Beyond your chest, a considerable incline push up benefit is that you get to train a range of other muscles. This includes your shoulders and triceps, but your core also works hard to keep you balanced.
Your triceps work hard to extend your elbows, and your shoulders support that movement. Your abs, back, and glutes also work hard to keep you stable and in position. These stabilizing muscles get a good workout as well, even though they are doing the primary work.
In a way, the incline push up builds whole-body strength and athleticism. This is why it is considered to be a top bodyweight exercise.
3. It’s Good For Beginners Who Don’t Have Much Strength
Let’s face it…
Getting down for a push up and finding out that you can’t do a single repetition can be discouraging. The question is, how do you progress when you can’t even do one repetition?
The incline push up is a great variation because it’s a bit easier to do (less resistance), making it ideal for beginners. (2)
Because of your body’s position, you have to press a smaller percentage of your body weight (less resistance), which means you don’t need to be that strong to do at least a few good repetitions. And, so long as you can do a few repetitions, you can build on that.
And the more inclined your body is (head higher than feet), the easier the push up is to perform. So to an extreme, if you’re doing push ups in a near standing position on your kitchen counter, the resistance will be very light.
In contrast, when doing decline push ups you carry a higher percentage of your bodyweight, so they are more difficult. A decline push is the most difficult push to perform, as your pressing a higher percentage of your body weight.
4. It Works Great With Other Push-Ups
Another significant incline push up benefit is that you can do it in combination with other push up variations, and it works great.
For example, you can do the incline push up as part of a chest workout with classic and decline push ups. Together, these three movements will emphasize the three different portions of your chest (the lower, middle, and upper) and provide more balanced development.
Here is a great home chest workout without equipment (push up workout).
5. You Can Do These Anywhere & Anytime
The best part about these push ups – and virtually all other variations – is that you can do them almost anywhere and anytime. So whether you’re at home, in the gym, in your office, or on the beach, it’s always a good time!
All you need is to find somewhere to position your hands slightly higher than your legs, and you’re good to go. For example, you can do these by placing your hands on a chair, table, desk, wall, stairs, bench, or kitchen counter (if you’re at home). So there are lots of good options.
You can also find various objects outdoors, in hotel rooms, and virtually anywhere else. The world is your playground! It is not hard to enjoy the many incline push ups benefits.
Additional Muscle Building to Bridge the Gap
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- Cherney, K. (2019). Incline Pushups: How-to, Tips, and Vs. Decline Pushups. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/incline-pushups.
- Orlov, A. (2021). Can’t Do a Push-Up? Here’s Where to Start. Life by Daily Burn. https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-to-do-a-push-up-variations/.