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Push Ups for Upper Chest Development – 5 Variations

Decline Push ups

What is the decline Push up?

The decline pushup is an advanced version of the basic push up which includes placing your feet higher than your hands. If you are looking for an alternative to the basic pushup, you can add the decline push up to your upper body strength workout routine because it builds strong upper chest muscles.

How to do the decline Push up?

Before heading straight into the decline push up, perform about 10 basic pushups to warm up your shoulders and elbows.

  1. Place your hands about shoulder-width on the ground.
  2. Extend your body and prop your feet (one at a time) on the bench or step. Make sure that your body is in a straight line. Do not arch your hips.
  3. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the ground. To avoid injury, slightly look up so that you do not hit your nose or forehead on the ground but keep your back straight.
  4. Push up until your elbows are straight.
  5. Return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat as much as you can manage.

How the decline Push up works the upper chest?

The decline pushup requires that you place your feet very high. This position is difficult and means that you will have to work harder than if you were doing a basic pushup. However, the chest wall is made up of the pectoralis major (a fan-like muscle).

The upper portion of this muscle is called the clavicular region while the lower portion is known as the sternal region. When you are in a decline position you are putting more weight on the clavicular (upper portion) head of the chest. This allows you to work the upper chest more intensely.

Pike Push Up

What is the Pike Push Up?

The Pike pushup also called the Jackknife push up, is a push-up variation in which you use the arm in a vertical position rather than in a horizontal position used in basic push-ups.

How to do the pike push up?

  1. Place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart. Your butt must be in the air and your feet on the ground. If you are not that flexible feel free to bend your knees.
  2. Keep your arms over your head, slightly in front of your face.
  3. Lower yourself until the top of your head touches the ground.
  4. Keep that position for a second, then return to starting position.
  5. Do as many reps as you can.

How the Pike Push Up works the upper chest?

In the pike push-up, the hips are elevated above the shoulders, so the range of motion is increased for better access to the upper chest.

Stability Ball Decline Push ups

What is the stability ball decline Push up?

The stability ball push-up is an advanced bodyweight exercise that builds muscles and strength in the chest. Since it’s a functional movement that requires balance and stabilization, it is good for sports and athletes who want optimal functional strength.

How to the stability ball decline Push up?

  1. Get on the floor and lay your chest on the stability ball.
  2. Place your hands, shoulder-width apart, on the ball at the sides of your chest.
  3. Keep your legs straight and your toes on the floor.
  4. Without locking your elbow, push yourself up until your arms are straight and tighten your chest muscles.
  5. Balance and hold that position for at least two seconds.
  6. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

How the stability ball decline position works the upper chest?

The decline angle position on the stability ball makes the exercise more difficult which makes it better for developing a strong and muscular chest.  The unstable surface of the stability ball forces the upper chest muscles to work harder.

Feet on Wall Push Up

What is the Feet on Wall Push up?

The feet on wall push up is an advanced variation of the basic push-up and while it targets the chest muscles, it requires strength and balance.

How to do the feet on wall Push up?

  1. Place yourself in a quadruped position on the floor – put your hands under your shoulders, toes tucked, and knees under hips.
  2. One at a time, extend your legs and drive your feet up a wall.
  3. Slowly come to the floor by retracting the shoulder blades and unlocking your elbows.
  4. Your chest should touch the floor upon your descent.
  5. To go back to the starting position, extend your elbows and place your palms on the floor,
  6. Repeat as desired.

How does feet on the wall push-up work the upper chest?

Unlike traditional push-ups that activate the core, the feet on the wall push up forces you to stabilize your body with more effort to target the main chest muscles (pectoralis major and minor).

Flexed Trunk Push ups

What is the Flexed Trunk Push up?

The flexed trunk push-up is an exercise that is used to access upper body power and strength. The exercise starts with the face on the ground then in a specific hand position you will lift yourself from the ground while trying to keep a stable trunk.

How to do Flexed Trunk Push Ups

  1. Lie down and extend your arms slightly overhead at shoulder-width apart.
  2. Men – position thumbs in line with the top of the head.
  3. Women – position chin in line with the top of the head.
  4. Close your legs and place your feet on the ground.
  5. Lift your knees and elbows off the floor.

How Flexed Trunk Push ups Work the Upper Chest?

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science reports that in the trunk flexed push-up the weight of the upper chest is loaded on the serratus anterior (muscle on side of the chest) as the center of the upper body is moved forward. This increases the activity of the clavicular part of the pectoralis major (fan-shaped muscle in the chest).

Adnan Munye

A certified personal trainer, Adnan specialises in weight loss, muscle building, body conditioning, core strengthening and injury rehabilitation. Adnan comes from a sporting background, where he has played football, badminton, rugby, and swimming all at various levels.

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