You can change up the regular pushup in many ways. Find out how to do clapping pushups, what their benefits are, and whether they are good for you.
Clapping pushups are a pushup variation where you push yourself up with enough power so that your hands lose contact with the ground for a moment.
While in the air, you clap your hands and move them back fast enough for the next repetition.
Clapping pushups are mostly good for building chest, tricep, and shoulder muscle and improving athletic performance in sports where you benefit from fast movements with these muscles.
This variation will be more challenging than regular pushups.
Keep in mind that clapping pushups can be rough on body parts like your wrists, elbow, shoulders, and back even if you implement the right technique and do the exercise on a soft surface.
How to do a clapping pushup
Something to note first is that clapping pushups are not suited for everyone. People with sensitive wrists, elbows, shoulders, and backs may want to turn to other exercises.
Doing clapping pushups on a soft surface can help to some extent (but not entirely).
If you do decide to do clapping pushups, make sure you warm up. This helps you avoid injuries and improves performance.
That being said, take the following steps to do a clapping pushup:
- Sit on your hands and knees with your hands about shoulder-width apart and your shoulders above your wrists.
- Step back with your feet until you are in a straight line. Keep your shoulders above your wrists.
- Slowly lower your upper body as far as comfortable by folding your arms. Keep your upper arms at angles of 45 degrees or less to your sides.
- Push up your body fast enough so that you make a “jump” in the air with your hands at the top.
- While in the air, clap your hands and move them back to the pushup position before you hit the ground.
- Make sure you land with less than stretched arms so you have a softer landing.
Two things to keep in mind while doing clapping pushups are keeping your spine straight and the angles of your upper arms.
Additionally, you definitely want to land with slightly less-than-stretched arms.
If the full version is currently too challenging, you can start with pushup progressions like regular pushups or knee pushups.
When you go do 15 regular pushups in a row with good technique you can slowly progress to clapping pushups. Start with regular plyometric pushups without the clap first.
If that goes well, you can give clapping pushups a try.
On the flip side, you can consider making clapping pushups harder by jumping higher, doing the decline version, and/or wearing a weighted vest.
Clapping pushups muscles worked
Clapping pushups are an example of a compound chest exercise.
More specifically, they mainly work your chest, tricep, and front deltoid muscles.
Additionally, your abs and hip flexors will have to work a decent amount during clapping pushups too.
Lastly, you also engage your glutes and quadriceps to some extent.
Compared to regular pushups, clapping pushups engage your chest, tricep, and front deltoid muscles in a more explosive way.
This can be helpful for improving muscle power but it could also offer more muscle growth than regular pushups.
Clapping pushup benefits
You can look at the benefits of clapping pushups in different ways. The first one is the advantages of clapping pushups over the regular version. Some of these are:
- Trains muscle power more: Muscle power is how much force your muscles can generate in a short amount of time. Clapping pushups will be more useful for this than the regular version.
- Improves athletic performance more: The extra muscle power training clapping pushups offer can lead to an improvement in sports like boxing where you benefit from fast movements with these muscles.
- Balance & coordination: Clapping pushups are more challenging in terms of balance and coordination. This can benefit your performance in these areas.
- Likely strengthens bones more: You can strengthen your bones by putting them under safe amounts of pressure. As long as you don’t overdo it, the extra shocks from clapping pushups can help with this to larger extents.
Besides that, clapping pushups are still a variation of the classic bodyweight exercise. Many of the positive effects will be similar.
More specifically, some of the benefits of pushups are:
- Bigger and stronger muscles: Doing clapping pushups in a smart way can help you grow and strengthen your muscles.
- Can help with losing weight: Clapping pushups can help you lose weight by increasing your energy usage and building muscle. At the same time, you may need to make other changes too to see results.
- No equipment or location required: You don’t need any equipment or location to do clapping pushups. This can save you money and time.
There will be exercises that are more useful than clapping pushups for many of these benefits.
However, this does still show the power of adding more resistance training to your routine.
As briefly mentioned, clapping pushups can be a challenging exercise for your body.
Even if you implement the right technique, the movement could be too hard on areas like your wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, and back.
People with issues in these areas likely don’t want to do clapping pushups at all.
If you do decide to do clapping pushups, make sure you warm up your muscles, joints, and tendons beforehand.
Additionally, you want to keep an eye out for signs of overtraining when doing this exercise more often and stop when needed.
If you have a soft surface to land on with your wrists, it is often smart to use this to make clapping pushups at least somewhat more comfortable in a good way.
Clapping pushup alternatives
Clapping pushups are not the only (explosive) compound chest exercise out there. Some alternatives with similar effects include:
- (Explosive) bench press
- (Explosive) shoulder press
- Wall ball toss
- Medicine ball chest press throw
- Medicine ball overhead throw
- Boxing session
- Other pushup variations
Details like your training goals, the state of your body, and what exercise equipment you have will influence what the ideal exercise routine is for you.
Are clapping pushups a good exercise?
Clapping pushups can be a good exercise for specific fitness goals like improving chest, tricep, and front deltoid muscle power and better athletic performance.
They are also relatively good for improving bone density in your arms and shoulders.
On the flip side, it is fair to say that there are better exercises than clapping pushups for building muscle, losing weight, and even improving muscle power.
The extra injury risk is likely not worth it when you have other options like (explosive) bench presses available.
Are clapping pushups harder?
Yes, clapping pushups are harder than regular pushups due to the extra force you have to generate to “jump” in the air.
Are clapping pushups worth it?
Clapping pushups are likely not worth it compared to exercises with similar positive effects but lower injury risk like (explosive) bench presses. At the same time, they can be good to train muscle power and improve bone density without equipment at home.