Push ups are an excellent way to build upper body strength.
Push ups are also hard, especially if you are doing them correctly.
Incline push ups are the right way to work your way down to the flat-on-the-floor traditional push up. I prefer this incline version to the from-your-knees version. The technique and body alignment is closer to the traditional and will make it easier to progress to the floor (if you so choose).
The key to getting the most out of this exercise is to keep your entire body involved. The main movement is still produced with the muscles of the arms and chest, but holding your body in a straight line means maintaining active muscles all along the back of the body too. Think tight glutes, squeezing the shoulder blades down and together to activate the muscles of your back, and keeping your abdominal muscles braced. All of a sudden, this is a full body exercise!
Incline Push Up
- Stand on the balls of the feet with hands on a bench, a bar or a wall, just outside shoulder width.
- Keeping your body in a straight line by tightening your tummy and glutes, and keeping head and neck in line with the spine.
- Lower yourself towards the bar or wall.
- Push yourself back up to the starting point.
- To make it more difficult, move hands to a lower position; to make it easier, move hands higher.
- Aim to maintain the straight line with the hips and back in neutral (I can’t emphasize this enough). No sagging through the lower back or hiking the hips up.
- You should feel this: “bracing” through torso/core, slight squeeze in glutes, work in arms and chest.