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Blog Fitness Trainings Wide Grip Push Ups Muscles Worked And Proper Technique

Wide Grip Push Ups Muscles Worked And Proper Technique

Push-ups are an effective exercise for building upper body strength. When you have a strong upper body, you’ll be able to better participate in activities that require pulling or lifting. These include simple tasks like gardening or one of the more challenging endeavors such as rock climbing. While the standard push-up is a great exercise, it only works the muscles in your chest, shoulders and triceps. If you want to target your upper body’s other muscle groups, you can try variations of the push-up, such as the wide-grip push-up. Let’s explore the muscles worked by the wide-grip push-up and how to do the exercise with the proper technique.

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What Is A Wide-Grip Push-Up?

The wide-grip push-up is a variation of the standard push-up. As the name suggests, you simply place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart when performing this exercise. Doing so targets different muscle groups in your upper body, including your back and biceps (4). 

What Muscles Do Wide-Grip Push-Ups Target?

The difference in push up hand placement alters which muscles are used during the exercise. The wide-grip push-up primarily targets your (4):

  • Latissimus dorsi (lats): These are the large, flat muscles that run along the sides of your back.
  • Pectoralis major and minor: Your pecs are the muscles in the front of your chest. The pectoralis major is the larger of the two muscles, while the pectoralis minor is a thinner, triangular muscle underneath.
  • Anterior deltoid: This is the front part of your shoulder muscle.
  • Triceps brachii: This muscle runs along the back of your upper arm and helps you extend your elbow joint.
  • Biceps brachii: This is a two-headed muscle that runs along the front of your upper arm and helps you flex at the elbow.
  • Serratus anterior: This is the muscle that runs along the sides of your ribs and helps you rotate your arms inward. 
  • Core muscles: Your core muscles, including your abs and lower back, stabilize your body during the exercise.

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How To Do Wide-Grip Push-Ups Properly

Here are some tips for doing wide-grip push-ups with proper form and technique:

  1. Start in a standard push-up position with your feet hip-width apart and your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keeping your core engaged, lower your body until your chest is just inches from the ground.
  3. Pause for a moment at the bottom of the movement, then press back up to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

If you find that this exercise is too challenging, you can modify it by placing your knees on the ground instead of keeping your legs extended. You can also place your hands on an elevated surface, such as a bench or box, to make the exercise easier.

Read More: Agility Exercises At Home For Beginners

Push-Up Mistakes To Avoid

There are a few common mistakes that people make when doing wide-grip push-ups. Avoid these errors to get the most out of the exercise and reduce your risk of injury.

Placing Your Hands Too Wide

When your hands are placed too wide, it puts unnecessary stress on your shoulders. This can lead to pain, strain, and even injuries like tendinitis (1).

To know whether your hands are placed properly, try to place your index fingers on the outer edges of your shoulders. If they are past this point, move them in slightly until you find a more comfortable hand placement.

Arching Your Back

When your back arches during the exercise, it can negatively impact your posture. This can also lead to lower back pain and other injuries (3).

Keep your shoulders, spine, and hips in a straight line as you lower yourself towards the ground. If your hips dip down, it can also lead to an arching of your back. Try engaging your core muscles to help keep your body aligned properly throughout the movement.

wide grip push ups muscles worked

Using Lower Body Momentum

Because wide-grip push-ups require so much strength from your arms and upper body, it’s tempting to use lower body momentum to help power through the movement. However, this takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise and can lead to injuries (3). 

Instead of swinging your legs or hips to help you up, focus on using your arms and upper body to press yourself back to the starting position. This will help ensure that you’re getting the most out of the exercise and reduce your risk of injury (3). 

Looking Up During The Exercise

Many people look up when doing push-ups, but this can put excess strain on your neck and lead to injuries like whiplash (3).

Instead, focus on looking at a spot on the floor ahead of you to keep your neck neutral.  This will help you maintain proper alignment throughout the exercise and avoid neck pain. 

Letting Your Elbows Flap Out

When your elbows flare out to the sides, it puts unnecessary strain on your shoulder joints. This can lead to pain and other injuries (1). 

Keep your elbows close to your body as you lower yourself down, and focus on keeping them parallel to your sides. This will help you maintain proper form and avoid injuries.

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Not Engaging Your Core

Your core is  responsible for stabilizing your body during the exercise. If you don’t engage your core muscles, you’re more likely to arch your back or let your hips dip down. This can lead to pain and other injuries (3).

To engage your core, try to draw in your belly button towards your spine as you lower yourself down. Imagine that you’re trying to bring your belly button and lower back together. This will help activate your core muscles and stabilize your body.

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Benefits Of Push-Ups

There are several health  benefits associated with push-ups, including:

Increased Muscle Strength

Push-ups are an excellent way to build upper body strength. They work your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles (4). As you get stronger, you can do more repetitions or add additional resistance, such as wearing a weight vest. 

Improved Bone Density

Weight-bearing exercises, like push-ups, help to build bone density. This is especially important for older adults, who are at a greater risk for osteoporosis (6). 

Improved Posture

Strong upper body muscles can help to improve your posture. This is because they help to support the weight of your head and upper body. By maintaining good posture, you can reduce your risk of pain and injuries (4). 

Increased Cardiovascular Endurance

Push-ups are a great way to build cardiovascular endurance. They get your heart rate up and help to improve your lung function (2). As your cardiovascular endurance improves, you’ll be able to do more push-ups and other aerobic exercises. 

Reduced Stress Levels

Exercise can help to reduce stress by boosting your mood and increasing the production of feel-good chemicals in your brain. This is especially true with high-intensity exercises, like push-ups, which have been shown to be effective at reducing stress levels (5).

Read More: Balance Board Benefits, Drawbacks, And Exercises

wide grip push ups muscles worked

How To Add A Wide-Grip Push-Up To Your Workout Routine

If you’re looking to add a wide-grip push-up to your workout routine, there are several ways to do so:

As Part Of Your Warm Up Routine

Everyone needs to warm up before a workout, and wide-grip push-ups are a great way to do so. They help increase blood flow to your muscles and prepare your body for the exercises to come.

Start by doing 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps. You can also add in other exercises like arm circles or shoulder shrugs to further warm up your muscles. These would be perfect to get you ready for an upper body workout session. 

As A Stand-Alone Exercise

If you’re short on time or just want to focus on working your arms and upper body, wide-grip push-ups make a great stand-alone exercise. 

Start by doing 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of sets and reps. You can also add weight to the exercise by wearing a weighted vest or holding a weight plate.

As Part Of An Upper Body Workout

Wide-grip push-ups are a great addition to any upper body workout routine. They help build strength in your arms, chest, and shoulders.

Start by doing 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of sets and reps. You can also add weight to the exercise by wearing a weighted vest or holding a weight plate.

You could also add other exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, or dips to further work your upper body.

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wide grip push ups muscles worked

As Part Pf A Full Body Workout

Wide-grip push-ups are also a great addition to any full-body workout routine. They help build strength in your arms, chest, and shoulders while also engaging your core muscles.

Start by doing 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of sets and reps. You can also add weight to the exercise by wearing a weighted vest or holding a weight plate.

You could also add other exercises like squats, lunges, or crunches to further work your full body.

The Bottom Line

Wide-grip push-ups are a great exercise for building strength in your arms, chest, and shoulders. They’re also a great way to engage your core muscles. Include these in your workout routine 2-3 times per week to see the best results.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 3 Common Push Up Mistakes & How to Correct Them (2017, athletestrainingcenter.com) 
  2. Association Between Push-up Exercise Capacity and Future Cardiovascular Events Among Active Adult Men (2019, nih.gov) 
  3. COMPARISON OF THE EFFECTS OF AN EIGHT-WEEK PUSH-UP PROGRAM USING STABLE VERSUS UNSTABLE SURFACES (2012, nih.gov) 
  4. Effect of the push-up exercise at different palmar width on muscle activities (2016, nih.gov) 
  5. Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training and Moderate-Intensity Training on Stress, Depression, Anxiety, and Resilience in Healthy Adults During Coronavirus Disease 2019 Confinement: A Randomized Controlled Trial (2021, frontiersin.org) 
  6. The Effectiveness of Physical Exercise on Bone Density in Osteoporotic Patients (2018, nih.gov)

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