How To Do The Decline Pushup: The Complete Guide

A Decline Pushup is an advanced variation of the traditional pushup. It primarily focuses on the upper chest, triceps, shoulders, back, and arms. In addition, maintaining the proper rigid body position requires a fair amount of strength and stability through the entire core, legs, and back.

The functional fitness you develop with pushups will serve you well in pushing motions throughout daily life. As pushups develop the stabilizer muscles around the shoulders, they may help protect you from rotator cuff injuries.

Decline Pushup

Learning The Decline Pushup

  1. Start with your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart. Place your feet on the raised ground or the bench and realign your body so that it is in a straight line for shoulders to hips to toes, without sagging or arching at the hips. Reposition your hands if necessary, making sure your elbows are extended.
  2. Now, slowly lower your chest by bending your arms at the elbows, make sure you’ve retracted your scapula before the descent, and that your elbows are not flaring outwards.
  3. Brace your core and glutes so as to maintain your body’s alignment throughout the motion. Breathe in as you go down and breathe out as you come up.


  1. Keep your back straight throughout the entire move. Engage your core and glutes to stabilize your spine.
  2. You should also look down — instead of up — to maintain a neutral neck. Make sure your back and neck are aligned at all times.
  3. To protect your shoulders, avoid flaring out your elbows. Always keep them at 45 degrees.

Common Mistakes

  1. Posture – Not keeping your core and glutes tight can mess with your posture which can lead to injury in the long run. Increase your core strength if you can’t seem to get hold of the movement and practice easier forms of pushups like the traditional or the inclined pushup.
  2. Neck – While you will need to tilt your head up slightly to get a full range of motion. You want your neck to be in neutral alignment with your spine as much as possible to prevent neck strain. So, instead of looking forward, look down on the ground.
  3. Locked Elbows – Always keep a slight bend in the elbows. Locking your elbows at the top of the movement places too much stress on the joints and can lead to strain or injury. You want your elbows to stop at your ribcage.
  4. Hand Placement – Your hands should be under your shoulders. You will be putting unnecessary pressure on your shoulders if they are farther out from your body. You’ll want to lean slightly over your wrists so that your elbows stay back behind your shoulders or 45 degrees from your side body.
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