What are Wide Push Ups?

The wide push up is a push up variation where the hand position is wider than shoulder-width apart. It puts more emphasis on the outer chest and triceps muscles to a greater extent than regular push ups, which makes it is easier to perform. This can add a new dimension to your training regiment, preventing boredom that comes from doing the same variation every day! It also builds your upper body strength.

What Muscles are Worked by Wide Push Ups?

The primary muscles worked are the pectoralis major, triceps, and anterior deltoids. The secondary muscle groups worked are the abdominals, obliques, serratus anterior, glutes, and quadriceps.

What Level Are Wide Push Ups?

Wide push ups are ideal for beginners as it’s easier to perform than traditional push ups, due to higher muscle activation of both chest and anterior deltoids. Moreover, a wider grip creates a greater balance base. It is highly recommended for all levels to practice as many variations as possible. 

  • Balance muscle growth
  • Target all angles within a muscle 
  • Break strength plateaus
  • Keep training fun and interesting

How to do Wide Push Ups?

  1. Begin On All Fours

Get into a plank position where your hands are wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet together and engage your core and glutes to ensure the body is rigid and in a straight line. This is your starting position.

 

2. Lower Down

Inhale as you slowly bend the elbows to lower your body towards the floor, until your triceps are parallel to the ground. Pause when you are in this position.

3. Push Back Up 

Exhale as you push your hands into the floor, keeping your body engaged, to raise it away from the floor back to the starting position. Lock arms out to ensure a full range of motion.

4. Repeat 

Repeat this movement for a desired number of repetitions (see the recommended reps and sets range below).

Wide Push Ups workout

Beginners should perform between 4-8 reps for 4 sets, 3 times a week.

The intermediate level should perform between 9-20 reps for 4 sets, 3 times a week.

The advanced level should perform between 20+ reps for 4 sets, 3 times a week.

Once your reps and sets goals have been achieved, you should increase additional 1-2 reps into your sets to ensure progressive overload. Doing this will increase strength and endurance in your muscles. You could try other variations such as archer push ups, decline push ups, tricep extensions, and clapping push ups (see in wide push ups variation section below).

What are the benefits of Wide Push Ups?

Build Upper-Body Strength

Wide push ups are great for building upper body strength. They target pectoral muscles, triceps, shoulders. When performed with proper form, they can also enhance the lower back and core by engaging the abdominal muscles. It will increase your muscle mass, strength, and endurance which will occur through consistent training.

Progressive 

There are many variations to the wide push up that you can practice to target specific parts of your body. It is good to work on all angles of the muscle to target specific training goals and adaptations. For example, clap push ups works on your dynamic and explosive power. Diamond push ups isolate your triceps, and decline push ups work on your upper chest and anterior deltoids. Thus, they are easy to scale for a variety of training needs and goals.

Improve Core Stability 

Wide push ups are actually a dynamic plank that requires core strength to be able to hold your body in a rigid line. Your core act as a stabilizer for your body whilst it changes angle. If you have a weak core, you instantly increase your risk of muscle injuries, poor posture, and lower back pain. Doing push ups will decrease the risk of this happening.

No Equipment Needed

You can do it anywhere, no need to wait for the next workout machine to be available. All you need is a little space on the floor and your body as resistance. Bodyweight exercises eliminate those common obstacles that would give you an excuse to not work out, whether you’re working at home or on the road.

What are the different variations to Wide Push Ups?

Archer Push Ups

Archer push ups advocate full-body control as one side is supporting most of your body weight. Your body will be prone to shift or rotate, which highly recruits your core to keep the body in balance. This is a progression to wide pushups. To perform this, you will:

  1. Begin in a plank position with a wider than shoulder-width grip. Squeeze your glutes and engage your core to ensure a straight line. This is your starting position.
  2. Lower your body down to the right side by bending the right elbow and straightening the left arm out to the left side. Keep your core tight.
  3. Push back up the starting position and repeat. Aim to perform this between 4-12 reps for 4 sets, on each side.
  4. Repeat on the left side.

Decline Push Ups 

Decline push ups put your body at an angle where your feet are on an elevated surface and your hands are on the ground. This movement targets the upper chest and the anterior deltoids. This variation is challenging as more load will be distributed to your body, which makes it a progression exercise. To perform this, you will:

  1. Get into a plank position with feet resting on a stable elevated surface such as a bench, or a plyometric box. The higher to the surface, the harder the movement will be. If you are a beginner, you should start with a lower surface. Engage your glutes and core. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale as you gradually lower your body down towards the ground by bending the elbows and keeping them close to your torso. Lower until your triceps are parallel to the ground.
  3. Exhale as you push back up to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this movement between 5-12 reps for 4 sets.

Triceps Extensions 

This exercise does look like push ups, but it puts more emphasis on the long head of the triceps muscles, which makes it a great complement to the wide push up. To perform this, you will:

  1. Begin in an elbow plank position with your feet together. Your shoulders are stacked directly on top of your elbows. Engage your core and glutes to ensure a straight line along your body. This is your starting position.
  2. Exhale as press your hands into the ground to raise your body up whilst extending your arms out fully. Feel the engagement in your tricep muscles.
  3. Inhale as you lower back down to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this movement between 5-12 reps for 4 sets.



Clapping Push Ups

Clapping push ups are a challenging exercise that tests your muscle fibers through a rapid and explosive contraction, while fatigue accumulates during longer rep sets. This variation will elevate you through a training plateau, build explosive power, and develop muscle to your chest, triceps, and anterior deltoids. To perform this, you will:

  1. Start in a plank position where your shoulders are stacked on top of your wrists. Engage your core and glutes to keep your body in a rigid line. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale as you lower yourself until your triceps are parallel to the floor. Keep the elbows close to your torso. 
  3. Exhale as your push through the palms with speed and power to elevate your body vertically upward. Quickly clap at the center of your chest in one quick motion.
  4. Return your hands to the ground and bend your elbows to cushion the landing.
  5. Repeat this movement between 5-12 reps for 4 sets.

About the Author

My name is Pat Chadwick, I am a calisthenics coach with over 4 years of experience in helping people from all backgrounds to achieve their calisthenics goals. My goal is to become the number one calisthenics coach in the world as it is my passion to help people change their lives through inspiring bodyweight movements. I believe everyone deserves the right to feel good about their health, body, and be delighted inside and out.