Wide Grip Push Ups

The classic pushup is an effective way to hit your entire upper body. But if you really want to make your pecs pop, change up your hand positions to wide grip. During a standard pushup—when your hands are directly beneath your shoulders—your triceps take part of the load. However, more of your weight is transferred to your pectoral muscles when you place your hands wider than your shoulders. And the farther out your hands, the greater the challenge on your pecs. You can use this pushup variation to prime chest muscles before the bench press.

It can be tough on the small muscles in your shoulders, though, so begin with 5 to 8 reps of the regular pushup to warm up. Then, walk out your hands a few inches to your sides. Do 5 to 8 more reps. Finally, move your hands to the widest position possible that still allows you to maintain perfect pushup form. Your body must maintain a straight line from head to heels. Do 5 to 8 reps.

Benefits of Wide Grip Push Ups

When you are doing standard pushups, most of the emphasis is on the arms and shoulders. When you are doing wide pushups, you are using your pectoral muscles in your chest to help lift your body. This will build upper body strength that is useful in competitive sports and allow you to do tasks that involve strength with greater ease.

When doing standard pushups, your abs get a minimal workout. However, when you are doing wide pushups, your body position tenses your abdominal muscles and forces them to contract with each up-and-down movement. As a result, you tend to burn more calories and work harder when exercising. This will help you develop stronger and firmer abdominal muscles.

Wide pushups can add a new dimension to your workout, preventing the boredom that comes from doing the same standard pushups every day. Doing the same exercise on a regular basis also bores muscles, inhibiting them from growing to full potential. When you do standard pushups every day, the same muscles get the same workout. Switching things up by doing wide pushups wakes up muscles and encourages new growth.

How to Do Wide Grip Push Ups

  1. With your hands wide apart, support your body on your toes and hands in a plank position. Your elbows should be extended and your body straight. Do not allow your hips to sag. This will be your starting position.
  2. To begin, allow the elbows to flex, lowering your chest to the floor as you inhale.
  3. Using your pectoral muscles, press your upper body back up to the starting position by extending the elbows. Exhale as you perform this step.
  4. After pausing at the contracted position, repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

Wide Grip Push Ups for Beginners

If you are new at this exercise and do not have the strength to perform it, you can either bend your legs at the knees to take off resistance or perform the exercise against the wall instead of the floor.

Wide Grip Push Ups for Advanced

For the most advanced lifters, you can place your feet at a high surface such as a bench in order to increase the resistance and to target the upper chest more.

Wide Grip Technique

Like any exercise, they are a good idea when performed with correct technique. To perform wide grip push ups, the upper back and core must remain stable. The shoulder is a mobile joint, making stability around it very important. Keep in mind that doing pushups with hands wide apart aren’t necessarily better than any other type of pushup. The wider apart your hands are while doing pushups, the more you use your chest muscles. The closer together your hands are, the more you use your triceps (arms).