Blog Fitness Incline Pushup Muscles You Can Train Today

Incline Pushup Muscles You Can Train Today

Do you have a hard time doing ordinary push-ups, giving up after the third one? Despite being one of the most effective exercises, ordinary push-ups may be complicated, especially for beginners. Here enters incline pushups – the easier bodyweight version that targets the lower chest area. All you need to do is to place your hands on the elevated platform, which puts less stress on your upper body. The majority of your weight gets distributed to your legs, making it bearable to perform. So, instead of jumping into basic “motivation-killing” push-ups, beginners are advised to try out the incline version and gradually induce the regular pushup. This article explains the major incline pushup muscles you can train today, the number of push-ups you should do per day, the benefits of incline pushups, and their variations. Alter your body with easy exercise.


What Is An Incline Pushup?

Recall your first time performing a regular push-up. Your arms arched, you barely pushed yourself up, and at that time you felt this exercise was too difficult to execute. This feeling haunts every new sports amateur who hasn’t done push-ups before. 

Your award-winning strategy could be to incorporate incline pushups. They are perfect to start your pushup routine. Incline pushups can be carried out anywhere. All you need is a stable surface, such as a desk, sturdy chair, or bench. 

Your hands touch the surface, automatically lifting your upper body which leads to less stress on your elbows and reduces the amount of body weight you’re raising (3).

Therefore, starting with incline pushups can train your body for the tougher versions in the future. Besides this, experienced athletes can perform incline pushups as their warm-up routine before strenuous training. 

What Muscles Does The Incline Push Up Work?

Compared to basic pushups, the incline version targets a tad different muscles. The major incline push up muscles worked are your lower chest area. It involves the pectoralis major triceps and anterior deltoids. 

Incline push up target muscles also include the secondary muscles, such as abdominals, obliques, quadriceps, and glutes. 

That said, this excellent and rather simple exercise will not only develop strength in your upper body but strengthen muscles in the chest, shoulders, arms, and core. 

Are Incline Push Ups Easier?

The simple answer is yes. Incline pushups are far easier, compared to the traditional version where the time stops and your self-loathing rises. The reason stands in your weight that puts the load on the lower body, allowing you to practice with less strain on your shoulders and arms. 

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The higher surface you find the easier it becomes to execute the exercise. After enough practice, you may change to basic push-ups and even try out decline push-ups where you put your feet on an elevated surface leaving your upper body placed in a lower position.

Read More: The Ultimate Incline Push-Ups Guide For Beginners

How To Do Incline Push Ups Properly?

The thing that makes pushups a great multifunctional exercise is their ability to work the entire upper body and back. An incline push up muscle group mostly puts emphasis on your lower chest. You may execute the training at any time and at any place. The only exercising props you’ll need are the elevated surface. Besides, the right technique leads to expected results, unlike the incorrect version where you can arch your back, shoulders, or arms.

incline push up muscles

Incline Push-Ups Performance


  • a flat workout bench, step platform, or jump box.


  1. Stand in front of the bench. Put your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the bench.
  2. In a plank position extend the legs backward until the legs and back form a straight line. Keep the weight on the balls of the feet.
  3. Slowly bend your arms to lower the chest toward the bench. Keep the elbows and arms close to your body.
  4. Push the body away gently from the bench, extending the arms but maintaining a slight bend in the elbow.
  5. Perform 8–12 reps for one set (5).

Please note, that with the correct technique, you shouldn’t feel any pain in your upper body. But if you have any pain in your body during the performance, end the exercise and contact your healthcare provider. 

Do Incline Push Ups Build Muscle?

Incline pushups are an excellent chest exercise to incorporate into your training. Incline push up muscles used are chest muscles.

In addition to training the chest, the incline pushup engages the arms (triceps) and the shoulders (deltoid). It works out these as well as a long list of muscles throughout the abs, hips, back, and legs that act as coordination stabilizers. This prevents any sagging or arching of the spine during the movements. Performing incline pushups in a slow and deliberate motion can really engage your core (4). 

What this means is that incline push ups are vital to building your muscles by making them stronger and sustainable. 

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Besides, practicing incline push ups promote your ability to perform more difficult pushup versions in the future which plays a big role in building muscle.

Do Incline Push Ups Work Triceps?

Incline push ups activate the triceps, but not as greatly as diamond incline push ups. If you desire to focus more greatly on your triceps you’ll need to integrate incline diamond pushups. They are more difficult to perform but perfectly target your triceps. 

Diamond push-ups are also known as triangle push-ups, and are a more advanced version of the incline push up. 

To execute the incline diamond push, you need to bring your hands close together and form a diamond or a triangle shape. Keep your legs and back straight and push yourself off the elevated surface.

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How Many Incline Push-Ups Should I Do?

Maintaining a good technique is as important as the number of reps and sets. The golden rule for getting stronger and toned is “Proper technique+more challenge equals a fit and strong body”. 

No matter what kind of goal you’re chasing, more weight and more reps challenge your body for the results you so badly desire to attain. Our body craves more sets with enhanced repetitions. Therefore, the approximate challenge for each level sportsman performing incline pushups may look like this: 

  • Beginners should perform 3-4 reps for 4 sets, 2-3 times a week. 
  • Once you get stronger, alter the reps from 3-4 to 6-20 for 4 sets, 2-3 times a week. 
  • Advanced athletes may upgrade to 20+ reps for 4 sets, 3 times a week. 

Of course, the following numbers are imprecise and might not fit every individual. However, if you perform only 3 pushups it’s still better than no pushups at all. You start small and go big gradually. Don’t compare yourself with those who execute more, instead focus on your abilities and feelings during the training. 

Again, in case of any pain, never strive to push more reps. Stop and trek to your physician for help. 

how many push-ups should i do

How Do You Stay Safe When Doing Push-Ups?

Safety measures are essential during every type of training, especially pushups. Here are a few simple steps that will benefit your push up routine and help you avoid injuries: 

  • Consult a physician. In case of any pre-existing health condition consult a doctor before beginning an exercise program. 
  • Place your hands properly. The most common mistake athletes make during push-ups is placing their hands too apart from each other. Spreading your hands too wide can reduce the range of motion and overall effectiveness. 
  • Keep your body aligned. Your upper and lower body needs to be in straight alignment without sagging, slumping, or bending your knees and hips. Instead, create a straight line from the head to toes which may benefit your core and back muscles. 
  • Incorporate warm-ups. Every training should begin with a basic 5-10 minute warm-up including stretching, jumping, jogging on the spot, or squatting. Warm-ups are effective in preventing injuries in children and adolescents (1).
  • Stop on time. Don’t overload yourself with tons of repetitions and sets at the beginning. Let your strength come naturally. Just make sure the last 2-3 reps are difficult to perform. 
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Following the aforementioned safety instructions will help you receive only benefits from incline pushups. Now, let’s disclose the benefits. 

What Are The Benefits Of Incline Pushups?

Why do you perform exercises? Probably because you’re aware of the major benefits they can give to your body. You take time and energy to perform an exercise and eventually, it loads you with strength and an attractive body. That’s fair. Incline pushups are not the exception. Let’s check out the top 5 benefits of incline push ups: 

  • Incline push-ups strengthen your upper body. Incline push-ups activate multiple muscle groups all over your upper body, including your triceps, anterior deltoids, and pectoralis major.
  • Incline push-ups target your lower chest muscles and core. The incline push-up prioritizes your lower chest and core stabilization muscles. It means they focus not only on your chest but your core as well.  
  • Incline push-ups promote stability. Incline push-ups activate your core muscles and lower back muscles, therefore,  improving stability. With good form and practice, incline push-ups also operate the obliques on the sides of your abdomen and the erector spinae muscles in your back.
  • Incline push-ups are easier to perform than ordinary push-ups. You already know that the incline push-up puts more weight on your lower body than a standard push-up. It makes the push-up generally easier without putting too much pressure on your arms and shoulders. Newcomers should start with the incline push-up or a kneeling incline push up. 
  • Incline push up doesn’t require any equipment. People often get perplexed by the versatile choice of weights, resistance bands, and other sporting props. You don’t need all that stuff with incline push ups. This bodyweight exercise requires only a sturdy chair, bench, or any other elevated safe surface. Therefore, you can easily integrate this exercise into a home workout.
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Read More: How Many Push-Ups Should I Do To Get My Body In Tip Top Shape?

What Are The Variations Of Incline Pushups?

You might get bored performing the same incline pushup time and time again. That said, incorporating other variations can target more muscle groups and prepare you for other strenuous challenges. 

We’re going to cover the top 4 variations of incline pushups you can start doing today. 

#1 Shoulder Tap Push-Ups

Shoulder tap push-ups upgrade you to the next level as it focuses on the triceps, chest, and shoulders while also strengthening your core. As a result, you achieve both upper body and core strength, whilst working on your balance at the same time. To perform shoulder tap push-ups, you:

  1. Begin in a plank position placing your hands at shoulder-width apart, with shoulders stacked directly on top of your wrists. Engage your core and glutes to create a straight line with your body. 
  2. With inhaling lower your chest down towards the ground with elbows bent and tucked in towards your torso. Keep your core engaged throughout the movement.
  3. Exhale and push back up to the starting position, then lift your right hand to tap the opposite left shoulder and push again. 
  4. Repeat this movement with the left arm tapping the right shoulder. Perform this between 6-20 reps for 4 sets.

incline push up muscles

#2 Hindu Push-Ups

Hindu push-up is an intermediate-level exercise that targets the upper body muscles, both improving your flexibility and mobility. The movement includes two yoga poses which are the downward dog and the cobra pose. To perform this, you will:

  1. Get in a downward dog pose with hands at a shoulder-width position and your feet together. Engage your core. 
  2. Inhale and gently swoop down into a cobra pose by bending your elbows and bringing your head down to the floor and back up to the sky to the cobra. Keep your elbows in towards your torso. 
  3. Exhale and reverse the movement exactly until you’re back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this movement between 5-15 reps for 4 sets.

#3 Spiderman Push-Ups

Do you want to gain a superhero’s strength? This variation will make you stronger emphasizing the upper body and core strength. After the incline and ordinary push-ups, you can gradually progress to the Spiderman version as it targets the core along with lower body muscles such as the quadriceps and hip flexors. To execute this, you will:

  1. Begin in a plank position with your hands placed at a shoulder-width position. keep your shoulders stacked directly on top of your wrists. Make sure your body forms a straight line with your core and glutes engaged. 
  2. With inhale, lower your chest toward the ground. Simultaneously, you will draw your left knee up towards the side of the left side of the body. Your left knee touches the left elbow. 
  3. Exhale to reverse the movement and return to the starting position.
  4. Do this on the opposite side, by bringing your right knee to touch your right elbow.
  5. Repeat this movement between 6-15 reps for 4 sets.
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#4 Decline Pushups

Decline push-ups are the opposite of incline push-ups. You perform them with your feet on the elevated surface and your hands on the ground. This variation is much more difficult as it puts more load and stress on your upper body muscles. Decline push ups target the upper chest and the anterior deltoids. To perform them, you will:

  1. Start in a plank position with your feet on an elevated surface such as a bench. Place your hands on the ground at shoulder-width, and engage your glutes and core creating a straight line. 
  2. Inhale and lower your chest down towards the ground with your triceps parallel to the ground. Your core must be engaged and your body rigid.
  3. Exhale as you push back up to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat this movement between 5-18 reps for 4 sets.

Push-ups also benefit weight loss. You can burn more calories by speeding up your push-ups (2).

incline push up muscles

Key Takeaways

If you’re new to push-ups and desire to begin with something easier, incline variation is your good starting point. You can perform incline push ups by placing your hands on the elevated surface, therefore, distributing your weight all around your lower body. 

The major pushup incline muscles you can train today are the triceps, anterior deltoids, and pectoralis major. They promote stability, make you stronger, and require no equipment. After enough practice, you can upgrade to more difficult pushup versions for greater results.  

In case of any irritating pain, stop the workout and contact your doctor for further guidelines.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Effectiveness of Warm-Up Intervention Programs to Prevent Sports Injuries among Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2022,
  2. Health Benefits of Push-Ups (2021,
  3. The rise of push-ups: A classic exercise that can help you get stronger (2019,
  4. Traditional Versus Suspended Push-up Muscle Activation in Athletes and Sedentary Women (2018,
  5. What are the best lower chest exercises? (2019,
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