The wide push-up is an easier variation of the standard push-ups, the main difference is the hand placement is wider than shoulder-width apart. Wide push-ups put more emphasis on the outer chest and triceps muscles to a greater extent than standard push-ups, which makes it is easier to perform. This can add a new dimension to your training regiment which could prevent plateaus that comes from doing the same variation every day!
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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.
Wide push-ups are ideal for beginners as it’s easier to perform than traditional push-ups due to less range of motion and chest and tricep activation. Moreover, a wider grip creates a greater balance base. It is highly recommended for all levels to practice as many variations as possible.
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.
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.
Exhale as you push your hands into the floor to raise it away from the floor back to the starting position. Lock arms out to ensure a full range of motion.
Repeat this movement for a desired number of repetitions (see the recommended reps and sets range below).
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 push-up variations I have covered below:
Wide push-ups are great for building upper body strength as they target many muscle groups such as the pectoral muscles, triceps, and 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.
A 2019 study assessed 1,562 male firefighters whose average age was 40. Results suggest that those who could crank out at least 40 consecutive push-ups showed a 95% decrease in the likelihood of experiencing heat-related illnesses.
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 work 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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
The narrow grip push-ups, otherwise known as diamond push-ups put more emphasis on your triceps while wide wide grip push-ups are better for building strength in your serratus anterior. The narrower support base of narrow push-ups will better develop your core strength than wide push-ups due to greater instability.
Overall, I recommend you to practice both variations to target as many upper body muscles as possible so that you can have an overall rounded strength, this will not only reduce the likelihood of you reaching plateaus, but also increase your endurance and strength.
Wide push-ups engage your body from top to bottom. It's a compound movement that targets multiple muscle groups at once: the chest, arms, core, legs, and hips. This exercise can be modified to accommodate your fitness level. For example. adjusting the speed you execute a push-up, the hand placement, and even the angle of your body. You can easily increase or decrease the intensity, or focus of specific muscles. Here are specific follow-along push workouts for you to try:
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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.