Looking to add a bit of strength to your chest and triceps? Perhaps you want an easier exercise that’s similar to a push-up but with less of an impact on joints. Incline push-ups is something that may suit anyone of any fitness level.
The best part is you can adapt the exercise to fit your specific physical needs. It’s something that you have direct control over how difficult the workout becomes.
Why You Would Want to Do an Incline Push-up?
Incline push-ups are much easier to perform than normal. This is because your weight is shifted back and away from your upper body the more steep the incline.
For instance, performing an incline push-up at a 45° angle is much easier than one at 20°.
Essentially, it’s the easier version of a regular push-up.
Incline push-ups are often used by those who can’t do a set of normal push-ups. Whether it’s from a lack of physical strength or an injury, sometimes a regular push-up is impractical.
For instance, I recently hurt my wrist and have tendinitis in my elbow. This means getting into position to perform a regular push-up is extremely painful. However, I found that a 20° incline push-up is much easier on my joints.
Direct Benefits of Incline Push-ups
Some may think that this kind of workout is kind of cheating. After all, you greatly reduce the impact of something like a normal or decline push-up.
However, the exercise still provides merit regarding certain physical limitations. Whether you’re a beginner to fitness or suffer from joint pains and injuries, this exercise is quite versatile.
Incline push-up benefits include:
- Very beginner friendly.
- Easy to adapt to personal needs.
- Enhances muscle development.
- Can be performed virtually anywhere.
- Easy to get into the cardio zone for burning fat.
Even though it’s considered easier to perform, it offers similar development and strength benefits as standard push-ups.
Think of it as a beginner’s workout and an entry-level course into more difficult exercises.
When performing incline push-ups correctly, you’ll actually work on several muscle groups.
Another set of muscles that are affected the most from any push-up are the shoulders. They do a lot of the work when it comes to stability and balance.
The actual movement of the incline push-ups relies heavily on the triceps. It’s a unison between the chest and triceps to propel yourself away from the floor, or object you’re leaning on.
Abs and Glutes
Not a lot of people consider just how much work is actually put into the abs and glutes when performing push-ups. But, these two muscle groups are what keep your body straight.
After all, you don’t want your core bending in and out when doing push-ups. The abs and glutes should keep you steady while pushing up and down.
Common Equipment Used
Incline push-ups are considered “body weight exercises.” This is because there is usually no other weighted equipment you need to perform them. It centers purely around the overall weight of your body.
However, you can always add more resistance using something like a weighted vest.
In reality, you can perform this exercise using any surface. Some will start off light and use a wall to push against while others will add more work and use yoga blocks.
It all really depends on the degree of incline you want to have. Just remember the closer you get to the floor when doing incline push-ups, the greater the effort you’ll have to put in to push yourself up.
Personally, I use the cement step outside my backdoor. It’s about a foot or so from the ground, and it provides the perfect degree of incline to prevent my wrist and elbow from hurting.
When I started getting interested in fitness, I was using a wooden bed frame. It was a way to start firming up the muscles before increasing the difficulty.
Does It Have Potential to Help You Lose Weight?
In reality, any exercise has potential to help you lose weight. However, incline push-ups are often more to define and strengthen muscle mass. While you’ll still burn calories, it’s not nearly as much as something like an aerobic workout routine.
How many calories also depends on the number of repetitions you can do. The longer you can sustain any exercise, the greater the potential for burning fat.
Although you probably won’t burn an incredible amount of calories doing incline push-ups, you’ll definitely add definition. Which means you’ll start to see the results easily in the mirror especially in the shoulders and chest areas.
How Often Do I Do Incline Push-ups?
Right now, I do incline push-ups Monday through Friday. This is because I am still healing from my wrist and elbow injuries. As soon as it is safe, I will return to regular push-ups.
I often stagger my workouts throughout the day simply because I don’t often have a lot of time to put into a regular routine. Well, outside of playing the Xbox Kinect for 35 to 45 minutes a day.
Staggering an exercise means I do a set when ever I have a moment to spare. For instance, I often take a 5-minute break when writing. During that 5-minutes, I’ll walk around a bit to stretch my legs and do 17 incline push-ups.
By the end of the day, I will have done close to 100. Sometimes I’ll go over depending on how active I am.
I also increase the reps of each break by one every week. So I do 17 reps of incline push-ups this week, and next I will increase it to 18.
So far, this has worked well for me as I can tell the difference especially in my triceps. They are far more solid today than they were three weeks ago.
The Bottom Line…
Incline push-ups can be as easy or as difficult as you want. It all depends on how low you get to the floor. That’s what makes it such a great exercise for beginners.
If you’re new to fitness, start with these before pushing yourself too hard. You don’t want to discourage yourself by not being able to do as many normal push-ups as you’d like.
By the time I am ready to break my personal record in incline push-ups, I should be healed enough to go back to normal. At that rate, I might do these once in a while.