Decline Push-Up Technique

Decline pushups provide a good workout for your upper pectoral muscles. They require you to push up more of your body weight than you would for most other types of pushups. Doing a proper decline pushup requires using proper technique. Some people who have worked out for years do not perform decline pushups correctly. Proper technique will make your workout efficient and reduce your risk of injury.

Basics of a Decline Pushup

If you have not noticed strength gains from doing your regular pushups, decline pushups are the way to go. You can use any sturdy object that places your feet above your heart. This could include a couch, chair, inflatable balance trainer or bench. Using a height of 1 to 1 1/2 feet is a good start. Getting the feel of the movement will benefit you in the long run.

Beginning Position

Begin by placing your toes above the chosen object. You can either have your toes touching or about a foot apart. The farther they are apart the more stability you will have. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and put pressure on the outside -- not at the bottom -- of your hands. This will help prevent wrist injuries. Your fingers should face completely forward. Keep your head straight and aligned with your neck. Do not shrug your shoulders up to your ears. Keep them down and back.

Lowering Position

Inhale as you lower your body, keeping your back stable and not arched by activating your gluteal muscles. Engage your core muscles throughout the workout by keeping your hips and torso straight. This will properly recruit the muscles that the exercise is intended for. Lower your body enough so that your chest lightly touches the floor. Your elbows should end in a 45-degree angle. They should not flair out too much from the side of your body but stay rather close. Push back up to your beginning position by straightening your arms while exhaling. If you are a beginner, find a height that works for you so that you struggle on the 15th repetition. Aim for two sets and increase the reps or height when 15 becomes too easy.

Safety Recommendations

With any pushup, doing too much too soon can cause joint problems such as wrist injuries or chronic shoulder instability. Chronic shoulder instability may affect those who do an excessive number of pushups. This occurs when the shoulder joint becomes loose and falls out of place repeatedly. Start slowly and perform decline pushups in a slow and controlled manner. As with any new exercise regimen, consult a physician before starting to perform decline pushups.

About the Author

Kamrie Kingston is a certified personal trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as well as a certified women's fitness specialist. Kingston holds a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in exercise and wellness and a minor in nutrition. She has completed a full and half-marathon and is a versatile exerciser.