While the wide-grip push-up is a legitimate exercise, many of us set our hands too wide for the wrong reason -- and get a less effective exercise as a result.
Photo by the US Army.
This is one of the most common push-up mistakes, according to Outside Online, and it's a problem if it's forcing you to shrug your shoulders, which can lead to shoulder pain over time. Here's the fix:
When performing a standard push-up you want to align the webbing of your thumbs with your shoulders. As you lower your body, sweep your elbows to your sides. "We watch closely for any shrugging of shoulders and instruct our athletes to keep as much distance between their ears and their shoulders as possible," explains [strength coach Adam] Scott. "You may not be able to perform as many push-ups in this alignment, but overtime you'll be able to transfer much more strength through this motion."
Save the wide-grip push-ups for when you're doing them on purpose to target specific muscles (they work your pecs a little more and your triceps a little less) -- and make sure you're using proper form then, too.
You're Doing Your Push-Ups Wrong [Outside]