What Are the Benefits of Elevated Pushups?

Young woman exercising against the bed

Push Ups are an exercise that strengthens the entire body. It’s a pretty popular bodyweight exercise but many beginners don’t know that there are different kinds of push ups, and one specific pushup variation is the elevated pushup. In an elevated pushup, or incline pushup, either the upper or lower body is elevated above the rest of the body at a certain angle to the floor. These kinds of pushups are a useful addition to standard pushups and they can enhance your exercise routine without the help of a dumbbell.

How to do an elevated pushup?

Elevated push ups allow you to make your workout easier or more challenging depending on the type of pushup. If you are just starting out and are unable to perform a pushup on the ground, putting your upper body on an elevated surface like a step or even against a wall will take some weight off of your upper body, making a pushup more attainable. On the other hand, elevating the legs places more weight on smaller muscle groups of the shoulders and causes the abdominals to contract more. The added gravity also makes the exercise more challenging to perform and increases muscle activation and fitness level.

Whatever angle you are doing pushups, the motion of the traditional push up remains the same. To get into starting position, get down on all fours with your hands wider than shoulder width. Straighten your arms and legs until your body is in a straight line, this is known as plank position. Lower your body to the floor and maintain proper form. Pause and push yourself back. Do this for 10-15 repetitions, or reps, to build upper body strength, core muscles, your lower back and those all important glutes

What are some elevated push up benefits?

High angle shot of a young woman doing push-up exercises at home

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By changing the angle of your pushups, you will build strength in different muscle groups. In elevated pushups where your feet are above the rest of your body on a step or bench, your weight is placed further forward. The anterior deltoids, which are muscles in front of the shoulders, are working harder. The trapezius, lats, and rhomboids, which are back muscles, are also working harder. Thus, you’re building more muscle in these areas. When your upper body is above your feet, the pecs, which are the chest muscles, and the triceps work harder. This makes for a great chest exercise to add to a chest workout.

What is Muscle Confusion?

Elevated push ups work the shoulders and chest muscles in a different way than regular pushups. They create muscle confusion, which occurs when the muscles are forced to work differently than they are used to. This builds more muscle and inhibits a workout plateau. To take advantage of this benefit, rotate between regular, incline and decline pushups during your strength training workout. Before starting a workout routine consult a personal trainer.