Refuse Push-ups: Benefits, Proper Form, and Variations

Ohen I work out, I always rely on the old faithful: push-ups. We push things all day, whether it’s shopping carts or heavy doors, and push-ups are one exercise that can give you the functional strength to make all of those moves easier. There are several variations of push-ups, including decline push-ups, which we’ll discuss here. But all of them use your own body weight for resistance and help strengthen your upper body and core.

Because you are working more than one muscle (or muscle group) at a time, push-ups are considered a compound exercise. By doing them, you work the deltoids, located on top of your shoulders, the pectoral muscles of the chest, the triceps and biceps (front and back of the arms), the gluteal and hip muscles, as well as the erectors of the the spine, which are the long, rope-like back muscles that run up and down the sides of the spine. As a result, push-ups allow you to do a full-body workout in less time, keep your heart rate up, and generally burn more calories than exercises that don’t strain your muscles as much.

Learn how to perform the perfect push-up from certified trainer Charlee Atkins:

Given their versatility, you can incorporate push-ups into any bodyweight workout, circuit training, or strength training. Plus, modifications and progressions let you make them easier or harder, so you can work them no matter what your fitness level. For more advanced athletes, if you’re looking for a challenge, try a decline push-up, a 2.0 version of the classic move that puts more emphasis on your shoulders and arms.

What is a decline push-up?

By placing your feet higher than your hands, you increase the difficulty, says Katie Kollath, certified trainer and co-founder of Barpath Fitness, based in Colorado. She also says it improves shoulder mobility because it allows you to access a greater range of motion. “This change in stimulus and increased range of motion can recruit additional muscle fibers and increase strength and muscle mass gains,” says Kollath. The higher you elevate your feet, the harder this workout becomes. When it gets too easy for you, increase the decline angle.

How to do a good decline pushup

To perform a proper decline push-up, you must have a bench, chair, step, or other sturdy object to place your feet on. The prop can be as low or as high as you want, but consider starting small and increasing the decline angle. as you get stronger.

How? ‘Or’ What: Start in a high plank with your feet on your prop and your wrists below your shoulders or slightly wider. “Think of your feet as the pivot point and the rest of your body as the lever that moves together as one unit,” Kollath says. Bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor, and when you reach your lowest point, press into the floor with your palms to return to the starting position.

Technical advice

To effectively work your muscles, push-ups, like all exercises, require good form. “Common mistakes include pulling the hips in first as you roll off the ground,” Kollath says. “Hips and shoulders should go up at the same time. On the other hand, dropping your stomach and having too much arch in your lower back is another common problem. It is important to find a solid position close to a neutral spine.

If your belly is saggy and you’re having trouble engaging your core, that’s a sign that you may not be strong enough to refuse push-ups. In this case: “Master the usual push-ups first,” suggests Kollath.

Refuse push-up variations

If you’ve already mastered the decline push-up, luckily for you, there are more difficult variations to choose from.

  • Stability ball decline pump. Raising your feet on an unstable surface will force your core to work harder to keep you from tipping over.
  • Single-leg decline push-up. Raising one leg a few inches into the air increases the stability challenge even more and also requires more effort from your obliques to keep your torso square to the ground.
  • One-arm decline push-up. Performing push-ups with one zone will also further challenge your core (especially your obliques) while increasing the load on your working shoulder and helping it build more strength.
  • Refuse clap push-up. When you get off the floor, do so with enough strength to lift your hands up and slam them in front of your chest before performing another repetition. Now only with this help will you increase your power, but it will also increase your heart rate.

Whatever your fitness level or fitness goals, you can make push-up variations, like decline push-ups, work for you.

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Richard V. Johnson