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Do Push-Ups Widen Your Shoulders?

Many men hope to develop a strong, chiseled physique that features broad shoulders. Developing large shoulder muscles requires commitment to a strength training plan that includes several types of exercises. Push-ups work the shoulders and chest muscles, strengthening the entire upper body. However, performing push-ups alone may not achieve maximal shoulder-widening results.


The deltoid is a large muscle that makes up the rounded part of the shoulder. The deltoid muscle originates in three places, creating three heads of the muscle: the anterior, posterior and lateral heads. Each muscle head helps your body perform different movements and is strengthened by specific exercises.


Master the basic push-up form to strengthen your entire upper body. Place your hands directly under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward. Keep your toes on the floor and abdominal muscles tense. Smoothly lower your body until your chest nearly reaches the floor. Push upward in a fluid motion, straightening your arms. Keep your back straight throughout the entire exercise.


Push-ups primarily work your pectoral muscles, strengthening your chest. The website Gain Muscle Fast reports that your deltoids and triceps muscles are secondary movers in a push-up. Push ups increase the size and strength of your deltoid muscles, making your shoulders appear wider. However, exercises specifically targeting the lateral head of the deltoid muscle more effectively broaden your shoulders.


The lateral head of the deltoid works to move your arms directly out to your sides. Perform lateral raises to work this part of the deltoid muscle. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and slowly raise your arms until they reach shoulder height. Lower the weights back to your side to complete the exercise. Upright row lifts also target the lateral head of the deltoid, increasing shoulder breadth.


Carefully attend to your form when performing push-ups to increase chest and shoulder size. Executing a small number of high-quality push-ups is a better workout than doing many push-ups using poor form. Using improper hand positioning or moving your hips and back may cause an injury. Stop immediately if push-ups cause a sharp pain or hurt your joints. Consult a personal trainer to ensure that you use appropriate form.

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About the Author

Aurora Harklute has been writing since 2009. She works with people with depression and other mental illnesses and specializes in physical and mental health issues in aging. Harklute holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and physiology from Marquette University and a Master of Arts in cognitive psychology from the University of Chicago.

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