How To Do Decline Push Up & Its Variation With Good Technique

Decline pushups are a great way to strengthen your chest muscles and train your shoulder and triceps. A decline push up is a more difficult version of a regular push-up where you put your feet higher than your hands. It’s perfect for intermediate and pros who want to build upper body strength.

Incorporating decline push-up into your exercise routine can help to build additional strength, muscle mass and improve weak areas in your shoulders.

Dcline Pushup is one of the greatest conditioning exercises for the outdoor athlete, it can be performed, regardless of where you are and, best of all, they are completely free—no expensive equipment or no annual gym fees required. All you need is a stable surface such as a table, desk, or wall.

What Are Decline Push-Ups?

Decline push-ups are a bodyweight exercise that puts special emphasis on the muscles in your upper chest. When performing the decline push-up, place your foot on a bench or other elevated surface.

The height of the decline can be as little as an inch or as much as a couple of feet. You can adjust the bench height to make your workout more intense.

With a standard push up you lift about 70% off your own bodyweight. When you perform push-ups with your feet high, as in decline push-ups, you actually push up even more of your own weight, which makes the decline variation more efficient and harder than the standard push up variation. And, of course, the harder it will be the higher you place your feet.

Decline Push-Up Vs Standard Push-Up

Standard Push-ups are a compound strength-training exercise that involves raising and lowering the body using the arms while facing down in a prone, horizontal position.

The classic push-up has survived the test of time and is the single most efficient exercise to simultaneously strengthen the chest, arms, deltoid, lower back, abs and glutes.

Decline push-ups are harder than standard push-ups because of the angle at which the exercise has to be done. The decline position means that more of the upper chest, shoulder muscles, tricep are used in decline push-ups.

Benefits Of Decline Push Ups

The decline push-ups exercises are a good choice for training: Benefits of regularly performing decline push-ups include:

  • The decline push-up is an advanced upper body exercise that targets the muscles of the chest, shoulders, back, and arms.
  • Decline Push-ups will improve muscular endurance within the upper body, strengthen both muscles and bones.
  • Research shows that decline push-ups may improve the performance of athletes.
  • Doing a push-ups can be a powerful full-body workout and help to burn more calories.
  • As you’ll be moving your full body around, these drills will improve your metabolism, get you to burn more fat and help you achieve that mean and lean look.
  • Decline Push-ups are also considered a compound exercise because they require multiple muscle groups to be worked simultaneously.
  • Are you looking to build a home gym? You don’t need any special equipment to practice the push-ups workout. All you need is the right technique and some willpower.

Decline Push Up Muscles Worked

Depending on the degree to which you perform this exercise, it will be the muscles that are worked and with greater or lesser intensity. The main  muscles involved in push-ups are:

Because of your body’s position, the decline push up emphasizes your upper chest (clavicular head of the pectoral) while also working your front deltoids, triceps, and serratus anterior.

Decline Pushups Angle

Decline push-ups are one of the best upper chest exercises, but there’s one major problem: the front deltoid likes to dominate the movement, which prevents us from getting the maximum benefit out of it.

When the angle is steep, the upper chest gets worked. However, if you raise the elevation too high, the shoulders will begin doing the primary work, and the chest will only act as assisting muscles. This is when you do Pike push ups and handstand push ups.

For proper stimulation of the upper chest muscles, keep the downward angle at 30-45 degrees. If you want to increase the angle further, please avoid going beyond 60 degrees, as this will shift the focus to the anterior deltoid.

Make It Easier Or Harder (Regression & Progression)

If you want to make decline pushups easier, place your feet on a less inclined surface. Anyone can do this version because you’re not lifting a large percentage of your bodyweight.

To make decline pushups harder, you can use any of the variations listed below, which increase the angle of inclination or using stability ball decline push ups

1. Decline Push-Up

Decline Push-up is a great exercise to start with if you want to train your upper chest with push ups at home.

It is similar to normal push-ups, but with your legs on a bench. Although this is called the Decline push-up, it focuses more on the upper pecs.

Furthermore, your lower body is raised from the floor, the resistance your body provides is increased compared to doing the push-up on the floor. This makes the decline push-up harder than the standard push-up.

Decline Push-Ups
Decline Push-Up

How To Do Decline Push-Up

  1. Placed your hands firmly on the floor and spaced slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Put legs on the bench or the pad roller.
  2. Now raise yourself off the ground, straightening your elbows and your arms. Keep your elbows close to your body.
  3. Raise until your elbows are almost near to locked, and pause for a moment at the top of the movement.
  4. Now lower your body under slow sustained motion, feeling the motion all the way down until your chest is very close to the ground.
  5. Complete 3-4 sets of 8 to 20 repetitions.

Decline Push-Ups Modifications And Variations

You can adjust the decline pushup according to your fitness level, preferences, and goals. You can enjoy the benefits of decline pushups in different ways by doing the following variations.

Make it easier

The difficulty of the decline pushup can be changed by changing the height of the object you are putting your feet on. If you want to make decline pushups easier, try placing your feet on a less inclined surface.

Make it harder

When you can do 15-20 basic decline pushups in a row, or you may want to increase the intensity of push-ups, then incline the bench height or try doing the decline push up on a less stable surface such as a stability ball pushup, or with one arm.

1. Feet On Stability Ball Push-Up

If you’re looking for a way to get more creative with your upper chest workout, why not try push-up with feet on a Swiss ball. The unstable surface of the stability ball forces the upper chest muscles to work harder.

It is a progression of the decline push-up that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps while engaging the core. The exercise emphasizes the upper chest and shoulders.

Feet on stability ball push-up
Feet on stability ball Push-up

How To Do Decline Stability Ball Push-Up

  1. Lie face-down on the ball with your arms supporting you in push-up position. Roll forward until your pelvis and thighs are off the ball and positioned your feet on top of the ball.
  2. Your hands should be directly beneath your shoulders. And your body should form a straight line from head to heals.
  3. Breathe in as you lower yourself by bending your arms until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Use your core muscles to stabilize yourself.
  4. Pause for one to two seconds at the bottom before breathing out and using your arms to push you up to starting position.

Wall decline push up

The Wall decline push-up is a variation of the decline push-up which is challenging and requires coordination and balance. It is appropriate for advanced learners.

Wall decline push up

How To Do decline push up on Wall

  1. Placed your hands firmly on the floor and spaced slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Place your legs against the wall.
  2. Now raise yourself off the ground, straightening your elbows and your arms. Keep your elbows close to your body.
  3. Raise until your elbows are almost near to locked, and pause for a moment at the top of the movement.
  4. Now lower your body under slow sustained motion, feeling the motion all the way down until your chest is very close to the ground.
  5. complete the desired number of reps.

Single-Leg Decline Push-Up

Instead of keeping both feet on the step or bench, lift one a few inches in the air. This forces your upper body to work harder to stabilize you during the move.

Decline Clap Push-Up

Turn this movement into a more explosive exercise by adding a clap. When pushing up to the position where your arms are fully extended, push with enough force to raise your hands off the floor, clapping them together before returning them to the ground and lowering back down.

Training Tips And Techniques For Decline Pushups

Follow the proper foam and techniques to get the most out of this move.

  • For the decline push-ups, begin by performing 2–3 sets of 6–8 repetitions. Add more reps and sets as you build strength.
  • Choose the exercises as per your fitness levels. And also choice your sets and repetitions based on your ability to maintain good technique throughout all sets and repetitions.
  • Always keep the elbows slightly bent. Locking your elbows at the top of the movement puts too much stress on the joints and can lead to strain or injury.
  • Pay extra attention to your form and emphasize quality over quantity to improve your upper-body strength.
  • Do not let your lower back sag or your butt rise. Ensure your body is straight and rigid.
  • Slow down all of your movements and really stay focused on your form.
  • The core and glutes should be contracted during the exercise.
  • Your neck should be in line with your body, not tilted up, which could strain the neck.
  • If you are having trouble perfecting your form for this decline push up, it can be helpful to break down the movement, regress, and work on the foundation.
  • To see continual progress and build body strength, incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program.
  • Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.


The decline pushup is a more advanced exercise that takes time to master. Before trying this move, you’ll want to be able to do regular and incline pushups.

Decline push-ups are a useful chest exercise to incorporate into your strength-training program.

Decline push-ups activate multiple muscle groups throughout your upper body, including your anterior deltoids, pectoralis major, and triceps.

People Also Asked

Do Decline Push Ups Work Upper Chest

The decline push up is one of the best pushups for the upper chest. You will be expected to decline at a certain angle in order to complete this move. The ‘declination’ helps target the upper chest muscles.

How The Decline Push Up Works The Upper Chest?

The decline push up requires that you place your feet very high. When you are in a decline position, you are putting more weight on the clavicular (upper portion) head of the chest. This allows you to work the upper chest more intensely.

Incline Push Ups Vs Decline Push Ups

Incline pushups are easier than basic pushups, while decline pushups are harder. The downward angle of a decline pushup forces you to lift more of your body weight.

Both variations work your chest, triceps, shoulders, and back muscles. However, because of the angle, the Incline Push Up works your lower chest and back more.

On the other hand, the decline push-up works the upper chest and front shoulders more than the regular or incline variation.

Once you’ve mastered the incline and basic pushups, give the decline pushup a shot. It is an excellent exercise for challenging your upper chest and shoulders.

When To Perform The Decline Push Up

These decline push ups are a must-have for any chest-focused workout. You should do them at the end of the workout because of their simplicity and good resistance. Also do the other push ups variation to build upper body mass and strength.

  1. Standard push ups 
  2. Incline push ups
  3. Narrow-grip push up
  4. Pike Ups
  5. Hindu push ups

What Do Decline Push Ups Work 

The decline position primarily works your upper chest muscles, but you’ll also need to engage your lower chest, shoulder, tricep and core muscles.

How Many Decline Push-Ups Should I Do

For decline push-ups, begin by performing 3–4 sets of 10–20 repetitions, focusing on maintaining good technique.

Which Type Of Pushup Should You Do?

For a more well-rounded physique, you might consider using various push ups.

  • Standard push ups are best for chest, shoulder and tricep.
  • Incline Push Up works your lower chest and back more.
  • On the other hand, the decline push-up works the upper chest and front shoulders more than the regular or incline variation.
  • Close grip push-ups focus more on tricep than chest.
  • Pike Push-ups focus more on shoulder than chest and tricep.


  1. The Biomechanics of the Push-up:
  2. Leaf Group. (n.d.). Push-ups that target the inner chest | livestrong. LIVESTRONG.COM.
  3. Effect of the push-up exercise at different palmar width on muscle activities:

Leave a Comment