One of the most basic but also probably one of the most important exercises a person can master is the push-up. Feet Elevated Push Ups are a slight modification to the classic exercise we all know.
By elevating your feet onto a bench or box, the exercise becomes more challenging and targets the upper chest and shoulders more.
In this guide, I will be going over how to do Feet Elevated Push-ups, coaching points, common mistakes, and some modifications in case you need them.
How To Do Feet Elevated Push-Ups
- Bench or Box
- Can also be done on an unstable surface like a medicine ball
- Core (Bracing)
- Lie face down on the floor and place your feet up on a bench or box.
- Pull your toes in so that you’re on the tip of your shoes.
- Eyes should be focused straight down or slightly up.
- Pull your hands close to about the nipple line of the chest and bring them out about 2-3 inches away.
- Take a deep breath, engage the core and brace.
- Push yourself up in one unit. There should be no sagging of the waist. The entire body from head to toe should move up and then back down in unison.
- Feel your scapula upwardly rotate and make sure the antagonist muscles (Back and biceps) are fully engaging.
- Lock out your push-up and pause.
- Slowly lower yourself back down and get ready for the next repetition from just above the ground.
Take your time and master the push-up. The benefits of doing sound push-ups will pay dividends for your shoulder health and the potential to maximize your upper body strength.
Keep the elbows at a 45-degree angle. For maximal chest, shoulder, and rotator cuff engagement, do not let the elbows flare out away from the middle. Also, do not let the elbow hug right next to the torso.
I would highly recommend this movement to any athlete. It provides all the benefits a pressing movement can offer with minimal risk.
By far the biggest mistake I see in the push-up is lifters not using a full range of motion. Push all the way up and slowly lower yourself back to about an inch of the ground.
Elbow angle. Another common mistake in pressing movements is lifters allowing the elbows to flare. Remember to keep your elbows at 45 degrees to keep your shoulders healthy.
Another mistake is lifters go too fast with their push-ups. Push-ups are commonly programmed for strength and hypertrophy. This means time under tension is key. Take them slow and perfect the movement to yield maximal results.
Benefits of Feet Elevated Push-ups
Here are some potential benefits of incorporating Feet Elevated Push-ups into your workout routine:
- Increased upper body strength: Feet Elevated Push-ups can increase upper body strength, particularly in the chest, triceps, and shoulders. Elevating your feet increases the resistance, making the exercise more challenging (which is why they’re a great alternative for regular Push-ups).
- Improved stability: The elevated position of your feet requires you to engage your core and stabilize your body during the exercise, which can improve overall stability and balance.
- Enhanced coordination: Feet Elevated Push-ups can also improve coordination and balance as you work to maintain proper form and alignment, especially on an unstable surface like a medicine ball.
- Increased cardiovascular endurance: Feet Elevated Push-ups can provide a cardiovascular challenge if done at high volume and/or as part of a circuit.
- Variety: Feet Elevated Push-ups provide a new challenge and can add variety to your workout routine, which can help to prevent your program from getting stale and keep you motivated.
How Many Reps?
Feet Elevated Push-ups are generally done as a supplemental strength exercise toward the end of a workout or as part of a circuit. Recommended rep ranges are 2 to 4 sets of 10 to 25 reps.
Feet Elevated Push-Up Alternatives
Want to add some variety to your workouts? Here are a few alternative options for Feet Elevated Push-Ups you might be able to try out.
Dumbbell Incline Bench
If you have a set of dumbbells, then Dumbbell Incline Bench may be a perfect substitution.
The range of motion is very similar and you’re able to more easily control the amount of resistance – something that could be very helpful for beginners.
Landmine Single Arm Press
Set up a landmine attachment (here is how to make your own with a tennis ball) and add weight to the open end of the barbell.
Standing in an athletic position, perform Single-Arm Landmine Presses with the bar. Can also be done kneeling to modify the press into more of a shoulder movement.
Med Ball Chest Pass
Stand in an athletic position with a lighter medicine ball (for most, 10-15 pounds will work well here). Extend the hips and aggressively chest pass the ball into the wall or to a partner. This should be fast and explosive.
Medicine Ball Chest Passes are also a great warm-up exercise for athletes getting ready for a bench day.
More Info and Links
Looking for some more great exercises to increase your upper body strength? Head over to our exercise library to find step-by-step exercises to help you get stronger. All for free.