The Best Pushup for Broad Shoulders

full body shot of a young woman in a yellow and black exercise outfit as she does push ups

Pushups are an often underrated exercise. Although they can be thought of as more of a beginner exercise, there are plenty of pushups variations you can perform to keep your workouts challenging. Regular pushups will hit your shoulders, along with your chest and triceps, but to really target your shoulders and make them broader, look at introducing different types of pushups into your routine.

Wide-Grip Pushups

A standard pushup is performed with your hands shoulder-width apart, so for wider pushups, take each hand out three to four inches. These are harder than regular pushups as you have less leverage to push yourself up, according to strength coach Marc Perry of You can place more emphasis on your shoulders by flaring your elbows a little.

Decline Pushups

Place your feet on a chair, weight bench or Swiss ball to turn your pushups into decline ones. Decline pushups increase your range of motion, giving your shoulders more work to do. The higher your feet, the harder they are. Start with just a small decline by putting your feet on an aerobic step and increase the height as you get more confident.

Handstand Pushups

Handstand pushups are the most shoulder-focused pushup variation, but also the hardest to learn. Decline pushups are a good gateway to handstand pushups, but you'll still need plenty of practice before you master them. Perform handstand pushups with your feet against a wall, to minimize the risk of falling, advises Sally Moss, strength coach at Ultimate Performance in London. Have a partner on hand to help you get into position, too.


These three pushup variations are by no means an exhaustive list. You can also perform incline pushups, place your hands on dumbbells or pushup handles, or try the one-armed variety to hit your shoulders. For best results, combine different types of pushups with other shoulder exercises such as dumbbell or barbell overhead presses and lateral raises. Aim to increase your pushups every workout, either by adding more reps and sets, adding weight with a weighted vest, backpack or weight plate or by slowing down the tempo.