Push-ups are perhaps one of the simplest among all exercises as they don't require any equipment -- all you need is the floor. They can be done at just about any time and anywhere you prefer to do them. However, they also happen to be among the most challenging of all routines. The easiness is seen at start-off point; the frequency is what poses as a challenge. They works the opposite way as the bench press, requiring you to push your weight off a flat surface (as opposed to pressing weight against the chest). The impact of the routine goes to the muscle groups that stabilize your body to maintain your stance as you do your push-ups. Weight is limited, as it is dictated by your body weight.
Hand positioning is crucial in determining the efficiency of a push-up routine. Narrow push-ups are more challenging than wide push-ups as they target the triceps more than the pecs. They also target on the shoulders, back and abs. Hands are set closer and elbows are maintained close to the body, making it look like your hands are directly under your chest.
Wide hand push-ups require your hands to be positioned wider than the shoulders. As opposed to the narrow version, where your elbows stick close to your sides, the elbows are slightly flares outward, resulting in greater work on the shoulders. Your chest muscles are put to work and undergo greater work as well. The wider chest area is accountable for the ease in movement, which is why it is less challenging than positioning your hands closely.
If you want to augment your push-ups, you can increase weight and using weighted vests or resort to using gym rings or dumbbells on your hands and have your feet up on a bench. The latter increases the range of motion and provides a little complexity and toughness to your regular push-ups.
Put Them Together
Incorporate both the narrow and wide push-ups in your training regimen for best results. This ensures an equal distribution of load and stress upon the involved muscle groups, so the shoulders, arms and chest will undergo equal toning and strengthening. With the proper body stance, your abdominal muscles and hips -- and even the rest of your lower body -- can benefit from the routine.