You might know how good pushups are in building upper body strength. When it comes to pushups, decline pushup is a little difficult exercise as compared to regular push up. That’s why some people find it difficult to do.
In this article, you will find some awesome alternatives to decline pushups which will give you the same benefits you get if you do decline pushups. Also, some exercises wil be difficult and will be a great alternative for those who want to try something different apart from the pushup.
Muscles Involved During Decline Pushups
Decline pushup is a compound movement that is good in building upper body strength. During a decline push-up, the upper chest and triceps are the major pushing muscles that are involved and abs act as a supporting muscle to provide stability during the movement. So it is known as an effective exercise to target the upper chest.
If we want to pick any alternatives to decline pushups, then we should choose those that target the same muscles. So let me share those alternative exercises with you.
Best Decline Pushup Alternatives
1. Incline Bench Press
This is a great alternative to decline pushups. Here your body is placed at a similar angle if we compare it with the decline push up.
Incline press is a very effective exercise to build your upper chest. Many people have underdeveloped upper pecs, so I would highly recommend you to include those exercises which target your upper chest.
Muscles targeted- upper chest, triceps and abs
How to do
1. Lay down on an incline bench with your feet on the floor.
2. Grab the barbell with both hands slightly wider than the shoulder width. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.
3. Lift the barbell and hold it at the top. This will be your starting position.
4. Bring the barbell down towards the upper part of your chest. Breath in as you bring the weights down. Your elbow should be at about 45° angle.
5. Pause at the bottom and then push the weights up back to the starting position. Breath out on the way up.
You can go heavy on this but your form should be perfect. Also, focus on your upper chest when performing this exercise and feel those muscles getting hammered!
2. Incline Swiss Ball Dumbbell Press
If you don’t have access to a bench, then this is a great way to train your chest. You just need a swiss ball for this exercise. Again, this is a great alternative exercise and is also good at increasing core strength.
Muscles targeted- upper chest, triceps, and abs
How to do
1. Sit on a swiss ball while holding both dumbbells on each hand.
2. Slide your body forward such that your hips are slightly above the floor and keep the dumbbells close to the shoulders.
3. While keeping your elbows at about 60° angle, start pushing the dumbbells up and extend your elbows at the top.
4. Slowly bring the weights back to the starting position and then repeat the movement.
As you are performing this exercise on a swiss ball, your core muscles will be highly engaged which makes it a more functional movement.
Also, using dumbbells will allow you to move the arms more towards the midline of the body which created complete adduction which is one of the main functions of the chest.
3. Dive Bomber Pushup
If you want to try some different push-up exercises apart from decline pushups, then you must try dive bombers. This exercise will not only targets the chest and triceps but will engage a lot of core muscles.
This exercise is more challenging than the regular push up however you should make exercises difficult for continuous results.
Muscles targeted- upper chest, triceps, and abs
How to do
1. Place both hands on the floor at about shoulder width and keep both feet together with your knees extended.
2. Now move your hips up such that your body looks like an inverted V. This will be your starting position.
3. Start the exercise by lowering the chest and move your body like a dive bomber.
4. Bring the chest in front of the arms as you move and extend your elbows at the end. Look straight and feel the stretch on you your abs.
5. Slowly move your body back and drive your hips up to bring your body back to the starting position.
4. Cable Incline Press
This is a great isolation exercise for your upper chest. You can create a better mind and muscle connection with cables instead of a barbell because cables put constant tension on the chest throughout the movement. But that doesn’t mean that barbell exercises are bad.
The important thing to understand is that your muscles should go through different stimuli to get the best results.
Muscles targeted– upper chest
how to do
1. Place an incline bench in between the cable fly machine. Attach both the pulleys down and hold both handles from each hand.
2. Lay down on a bench with your feet back and knees pointing out. Then start pressing up while squeezing your chest and keep your chest up and the shoulders retracted.
3. Focus on your upper chest while pressing up. Bring your arms down to the starting position. Remember not to overextend your shoulders or go too far down.
Your arms should move up in line with the upper chest. Don’t lock your elbows at the end. Don’t go too heavy on this exercise otherwise, you could injure your shoulders.
5. Landmine Chest Press
Another great exercise you can replace with the decline pushups. This trains your upper chest at a different angle.
This is a functional way of training your chest. Here, you are in an athletic position that will engage your core and other stabilizer muscles. It’s a good way to improve your pushing strength, particularly for athletes.
Muscles targeted– Upper chest
How to do
1. Place one end of the bar at the corner of the wall and stand straight with slightly leaning forward.
2. Hold the bar from both hands and then pull it up towards the level of your chest and this will be your starting position.
3. With your back straight and abs tight, start pushing the bar up and extend your elbows at the top. Your body should not come forward.
4. Slowly bring the bar back towards the starting position and then repeat the movement.
Make sure that you are squeezing your upper chest while pushing the barbell up. Also, don’t bend your lower back too much and keep your core tight during the entire movement.
6. Incline Chest Press with Bands
Another exercise that is a good alternative to decline pushups. You can do this exercise at home very easily if you have resistance bands with you. It’s not so expensive and so many people can afford it. It’s always better to have some dumbbells or resistance bands to work out easily at home.
This is a good isolation exercise where you can completely concentrate on your upper chest. This will help you in building a better mind and muscle connection. You should do this exercise after performing heavy pressing movements like the bench press.
Muscles targeted- Pectoralis major and minor (upper chest)
How to do
1. Attach a door anchor at the lower part of the door. You can watch the above video to understand it better.
2. Hold the resistance band and get to the pushing position. Make sure that your elbow is pointing at the door anchor where the band is attached.
3. Retract your shoulders and start pushing forward. Pause at the top and come back down slowly.
Your shoulders should be back (retracted) and your chest should be up before performing any pushing movement. That will keep your scapula in a much stable and safe position. This will reduce the risk of injury and puts more tension on the chest.
There are so many options we have when it comes to training your body and if one exercise is not appropriate for you, then that doesn’t mean that you should stop your workout. Instead, look for other alternative options and be consistent with your workout routine.
So we looked at so many alternatives to decline pushups. All of these exercises can be used whenever you want to change your workout program or if you find difficulty in pushups.
You can replace decline pushups with these above exercises but make sure that you design your workout program according to your fitness level and goals.
If you found this blog helpful, then do share it with your friends and on social media so that more people can get the information. Also, if you know of any other alternatives, then please do share them in the comment section below.
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Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He has worked as a personal trainer in gyms and is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com. He is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.