What Are the Benefits of a Decline Pushup?

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The pushup is a traditional calisthenic exercise that is probably the most commonly performed exercise in the world. Popular with elite athletes, military personnel and hardcore and recreational exercisers alike, there is a pushup variation for almost every level of fitness. The decline pushup, an intermediate- to advanced-level exercise, is performed by placing your feet on a raised platform. The higher the platform, the more challenging the pushup becomes. Decline pushups offer numerous benefits.

More Intense Workouts

  • Elevating your feet places an increased load on your arms, shoulders and chest. This makes decline pushups more demanding than regular pushups where your feet rest on the ground. This increased loading will result in greater strength development and a tougher workout. Some exercisers become so good at pushups that they are able to perform a very high volume of repetitions. A high number of repetitions can take a long time to complete. Elevating your feet means you will not need to perform so many repetitions to reach the same level of fatigue. This can help you save time in your workouts.

Shift in Muscular Emphasis

  • Regular pushups target the sternal or lower/inner part of your pectoralis major, or pecs. Overdevelopment of this muscle can make the lower part of the pec muscles large and rounded -- not a good look for men. Decline pushups place an emphasis on the upper or clavicular pecs, which will help create a more aesthetically pleasing shape for the chest muscles.

Exercise Variety

  • Regular pushups are the cornerstone of many exercisers' workout. However, in exercise, it's all too easy to get bored doing the same exercises over and over. By including decline pushups in your workout, you inject variety into your training, which helps prevent exercise boredom. This is especially important if you are reliant on body-weight exercises for your workouts. Exercise variety also ensures that you do not overload any one particular movement pattern, which can result in overuse injuries.

Improved Regular Pushup Performance

  • Pushups are one of those exercises where it's all too easy to hit a repetition plateau, when it becomes impossible to make any further progress. If you want to be able to perform more regular pushups, spending a few weeks on a diet of decline pushups will increase your strength. When you return to regular pushups, you should find they feel easier and that you are able to perform more repetitions. This is the exercise principle of overload in action.

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