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What Are the Benefits of Elevated Pushups?

by Chelsea Hanson

About Chelsea Hanson

Chelsea Hanson began writing professionally in 2009. She is a personal trainer and running coach in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who has written for the website AnnArbor and worked in the health and fitness fields since 2002. Hanson has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts in psychology from Michigan School of Professional Psychology.

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Overview

Pushups are an exercise that strengthens the entire body. There are different kinds of pushups, and one specific kind is the elevated pushup. In an elevated pushup, either the upper or lower body is elevated above the rest of the body at a certain angle to the floor. These kinds of pushups are a useful addition to regular pushups and they can enhance your exercise routine.

Increase or Decrease the Challenge

Elevated pushups allow you to make your workout easier or more challenging depending on the type of pushup. If you are just starting out and are unable to perform a pushup on the ground, elevating your upper body on a step or even against a wall will take some weight off of your upper body, making a pushup more attainable. On the other hand, elevating the legs places more weight on smaller muscle groups of the shoulders and causes the abdominals to contract more. The added gravity also makes the exercise more challenging to perform.

Focus on Specific Muscle Groups

By changing the angle of your pushups, you will work different muscle groups. In elevated pushups where your feet are above the rest of your body on a step or bench, your weight is placed further forward. The anterior deltoids, which are muscles in front of the shoulders, are working harder. The trapezius, lats, and rhomboids, which are the muscles on the back, are also working harder. Thus, you’re building more muscle in these areas. When your upper body is above your feet, the pectoralis major, which are the chest muscles, and the triceps work harder.

Mucle Confusion

Elevated pushups work the shoulders and chest muscles in a different way than regular pushups. They create muscle confusion, which occurs when the muscles are forced to work differently than they are used to. This builds more muscle and inhibits a workout plateau. To take advantage of this benefit, rotate between regular, incline and decline pushups during your workout.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.