Incline push-up exercise

Incline push-up

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Sternal (lower) Pectoralis Major
  • Synergists: Clavicular (upper) Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid, Triceps Brachii
  • Dynamic stabilizer: Biceps Brachii (short head only)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Place your hands on a box, bench or any sturdy elevated surface, with your hands positioned a little wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Extend your feet backwards and straighten your body.


  1. Keeping your body straight and elbows slightly tucked in, inhale as you lower your chest by flexing your elbows.
  2. Exhale as you reverse the movement and push your body back up to the starting position.
  3. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your body straight. Do not allow your hips to rise or sag.
  • Keep your neck neutral.
  • The point of keeping your elbows slightly tucked into your body is to reduce the pressure on your shoulder joints.
  • To make the incline push-up easier, do it on a higher surface. To make it more difficult, do it on a lower surface, or use the standard push-up.
  • Although the incline push-up activates both the lower and upper pectoralis major, it emphasizes activation of the lower pectoralis major, whereas the decline push-up emphasizes activation of the upper pectoralis major.
  • Use the incline push-up to activate and strengthen the horizontal pushing muscles of your upper body until you can graduate to the standard push-up.
  • See also the the knee push-up and the stability ball push-up.

Incline push-up video


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