Clap Push ups: Muscles Worked, How to do and Benefits

Clapping Push-Up: Benefits, Muscles Worked, and How to Do It

clap push up

The clap push-up is a powerful and intense variation of the conventional push-up, suitable for athletes and experienced exercisers. This plyometric exercise involves launching the body off the ground with force during the ascending phase and clapping the hands before returning to the starting position. Let's explore the benefits, muscles worked, and how to perform this impressive exercise.

What is the Clap Push-Up?

The clap push-up is a bodyweight exercise that challenges the upper body. It is a plyometric or ballistic movement that has gained popularity due to its effectiveness in training and its impressive appearance. However, due to its intensity, it is not recommended for high volumes and may not be suitable for everyone's training goals.

Who Should Do Clapping Push-Ups?

Clapping push-ups are best suited for intermediate to advanced calisthenic athletes or those with experience in explosive bodyweight exercises. Novices or individuals unfamiliar with intense bodyweight movements should stick to traditional push-ups. Athletes can benefit greatly from clapping push-ups, as they enhance explosiveness and power, crucial for competitive sports.

How to do Clapping Push-Ups

To perform a clapping push-up, follow these steps:

  1. Start in a plank position on the floor with hands wider than shoulder-width apart, core engaged, and feet touching the ground.
  2. Lower your chest towards the floor, stopping just before touching it.
  3. Quickly push your palms against the ground to propel your torso into the air.
  4. Clap your hands together while in the air.
  5. Rapidly return your hands to the floor and catch yourself in the plank position to complete one repetition.

What Muscles are Worked by Clap Push-Ups?

Clap push-ups are a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups in the upper body. The primary mover muscles include the pectorals, anterior deltoids, and triceps brachii, which are heavily worked during the explosive clapping motion. Secondary mover muscles like the serratus anterior and medial deltoids are recruited to a lesser extent, while stabilizers like the abdominal muscles, forearms, and glutes work isometrically to maintain stability.

Benefits of Doing Clapping Push-Ups

Clapping push-ups offer several unique benefits:

  • Upper Body Explosiveness and Power: Regularly practicing clapping push-ups improves upper body explosiveness and power, enhancing performance in various movements.
  • Carryover to Other Pressing Movements: Clap push-ups target fast-twitch muscle fibers, which can improve performance in other pushing exercises like the bench press and weighted dip.
  • Perfect Exercise for Athletes: The exercise develops muscular size, strength, and explosiveness, essential for athletic performance and real-world activities.
  • Conditions Body to Dynamic Movements: Clapping push-ups help reinforce the upper body joints against the strain of intense exercises.

Most Common Mistakes of Clap Push-Ups

To perform clapping push-ups safely and effectively, avoid these common mistakes:

  • Not engaging the core and glutes properly, leading to instability and poor form adherence.
  • Allowing the lower body to rise with the torso, compromising balance and exercise effectiveness.
  • Extending the wrists and fingers at lift-off, risking injury to the small tissues in the hands.
  • Placing hands not parallel with the shoulders, causing strain on the arm joints and altering exercise focus.

Variations of the Clap Push-Up

There are several clap push-up variations to cater to different fitness levels:

  • Deficit Clapping Push-Up: Elevating the hands for a wider range of motion and increased pectoral focus.
  • Clapping Knee-Ups: Easier version with knees on the ground for novice or intermediate exercisers.
  • Decline Clapping Push-Ups: Performing the exercise with feet elevated for added upper body intensity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What do Clapping Push-Ups do?
Clapping push-ups build power, explosiveness, and strength in the upper body, targeting muscles like the pectorals, triceps, and deltoids.

Are Clapping Push-Ups Harder?
Yes, clapping push-ups are more challenging than regular push-ups and require greater coordination and strength.

What are Clapping Push-Ups Called?
Clapping push-ups are also known as clapping plyometric push-ups due to their explosive nature.


The clap push-up is a dynamic and intense exercise that demands precision and power. When executed correctly, it can unlock your potential for explosive upper body strength. Remember to prioritize proper form and safety, and embrace the challenge of mastering this impressive calisthenic move.

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