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Freeletics Exercises: Decline Pushups


What is a Decline Pushup?

A Decline Pushup is a bodyweight exercise used to target the chest, building strength, power, and definition in this area.

It is an advanced variation of the standard Pushup and can be used as a progression to make the move more challenging.

This is because when you elevate your feet, you put more weight onto your hands, forcing your body to lift a greater proportion of your body weight with every repetition.

Additionally, putting your feet up on a bench or step increases the activation of your stabilizing muscles, challenging your shoulders more throughout the movement.

Which muscles do they target?

The Decline Pushup recruits your chest, triceps, shoulders, and back muscles. Because of the angle, the Decline Pushup works the upper chest and front shoulders (the deltoids) more than a standard Pushup.

Additionally, a strong core is necessary during this movement, as holding a Plank or hollow body position throughout this exercise requires a fair amount of strength and stability through the core as a whole, as well as in the legs and the back.

The height of the object used in a Decline Pushup can also change the muscles targeted. The higher the object is, the more the focus is on the upper chest and front of the shoulders and less on the lower chest.

How do I properly perform a Decline Pushup?

To perform a Decline Pushup, start in a Plank position, but with your feet on a box, bench, or any stable object. Begin the move with your arms straight and your head, shoulders, hips, and feet in line.

From this position, lower yourself down as far as possible, making sure your elbows don’t flare too far away from your torso. Then, push yourself back up until your arms are once again straight and you have resumed a Plank position. Each rep is counted when you return to the starting high plank position.

Remember that you can always check the tutorial videos in the Freeletics app to see Decline Pushups demonstrated at full speed, half-speed, and from multiple angles.

Additional things to keep in mind when training:

Because the Decline Pushup is a progression of the standard Pushup, it is important to make sure you have mastered the standard Pushup before giving the Decline version a go.

To make sure your form is on point, the following tips may be helpful:

  1. In the bottom position, your arms should resemble an arrow and not a “T” shape. Throughout this move your elbows should be by your sides, this will allow the focus to be on the triceps, as well as keeping your shoulder joint stable.
  2. Throughout the movement, do your best to keep your spine rigid by squeezing your glutes and tensing your abs while keeping your chin down. Not keeping your core braced will compromise your back and potentially cause an injury. If you find your mid-section sagging, you should work on your core strength with exercises including Planks, Crunches, Bridges, and Leg Raises.
  3. Adjusting the height of the object will allow you to customize the intensity and difficulty of this move. To make the move slightly easier, start with your feet on a lower object and for an added challenge, position your feet on a higher object.
  4. While performing a Decline Pushup, pay attention to your breathing. Breathe in during the eccentric phase of the exercise (while lowering yourself down) and breathe out during the concentric phase (pushing yourself back up). Additionally, try to breathe through your stomach rather than your chest to draw more strength from your abdominal muscles.
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