Best Exercises you Will Ever Do: Decline Pushups



Sorry, I’m a little excited that I can actually see my sidewalk again and the snowbansk are starting to gradually reduce. The downside is that there’s potholes everywhere and my back alley is part dirt road and part “Washington crossing the Delaware” to try to get to work in the morning. Whatever. I spent about two hours shoveling slush out of my driveway and the back alley, which gave me a wicked cardio burn deep in the lungs. The funniest thing I’ve found is stuff like this is becoming all the rage in fitness centres, with people hauling sandbags, hammering tires, dragging sleds, carrying pipes or buckets. We used to do this growing up, but we called it something different. What was it? Oh yeah, we called it WORK, and we did it to pay the bills and put food on the table. I’m going to have specialized Boot Camps soon where people just come over to my house in the winter, pay me $15 and spend an hour shoveling my snow. The funny thing is I’m sure it’s been tried before, and it’ll only be a matter of time before someone decides to make it a certification.

Anyways, after spending the past three or four weeks wearing the same gold-colored t-shirt to present exercise demos and workout and whatnot, I had to do some laundry, but not before I could bring you todays taste of Awesome Sauce in concentrated form known as the Decline Pushup. Check it out, yo!!

What the hell is that?? That’s me using some handles to get lower into the pushup movement, and yeah, my nose is touching the floor and pausing for a brief but oh so impressive moment. The decline increases the load on the arms during the pushup movement, and allows a form of progressive overload to anyone with an elevated surface handy. The core stabilization requirements alone can help back pain, hip problems, and scapular stabilization issues much better than trying to isolate any of those. I would rather do pushups for someone with scapular issues than a dumbell press or a bench press, simply because it encourages more of a scapular movement than the other two, which usually pins the scap under the thoracic cage and restricts their movement. Chains would make this that much more bad-ass, but whatever.

Why the hell is the gym empty?? Maybe I should have washed the clothes sooner…..

On a side note, yesterday I asked everyone out there in reader-land what they wanted me to talk about, and I have to say the responses were some doozies, but ones I think would go well. Here’s the thing: I’m a man of the people, and since it’s voting season up here in Canada I’ll let you decide what answer is going to be the best. Check a box in the poll below and let me know what idea you want to have more knowledge bombs dropped on your head so that I can make you all hella smart and awesome like me.

So fill out the poll and we’ll treat this like a true democracy: you vote on what you want and I’ll do whateverthehell I want anyway. Kidding. But seriously…..

About deansomerset

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Post-Rehab Specialist, personal trainer and probably the coolest guy my mom knows, I try to impart a little knowledge with a sense of humor to keep people reading. I've always thought if it's something that can grab your attention, you're gonna remember it tomorrow!!
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6 Responses to Best Exercises you Will Ever Do: Decline Pushups

  1. Angie M. says:

    Well, I voted for Turkish getups but see that scapular stability is in the lead. I don’t even know what that means so I’d be happy to learn more. Just discovered your site via Brent Contreras and am so stoked to see your expertise and enthusiasm in my own hometown!!

  2. Angie M. says:

    oops..Bret. Not Brent.

  3. R Smith says:


    Another damn winner. As someone who does no straight bar benching and very little DB benching, pushups are a staple in my programs.
    In your opinion, is there a downside to dropping all benching variations in favor of
    just pushups? My main goals are to get as strong as possible, but I’d also like to add some mass to my arms and shoulders as well. (I do plenty of rows and pullups.)

    • deansomerset says:

      R – I’m never in favor of completely abandoning ANY exercise, but feel there is a time and place for it. For someone with sloppy shoulders, I would recommend benching over pushups as they can’t get into winging as easily if they’re crushed on a bench, but if they have impingement or RC issues, I’d advise pushups first to get the scap moving properly. Keys to remember about building muscle is that muscles will respond to overload by increasing size and strength, and that overload does NOT mean doing the same thing or not working to maximal exertion and fatigue. To get stronger and bigger, you need to lift heavier and heavier, and do it in multiple directions to work as many muscles as possible and prevent adaptation to the workout.

  4. R Smith says:


    Makes sense, and I will keep following suit. Thanks very much for your insight.
    Have a great weekend.


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