Close Grip Push Up: How To Do, Muscles Worked, Benefits

The close grip push-up is a bodyweight exercise that focuses more inner chest and the triceps because it uses a close hand position.

There are several benefits that can be gained from adding the narrow push-up to a workout routine. It includes an increase in triceps and chest activity, an improvement in core strength and stability, and an enhancement of shoulder strength.

Close hand push-ups are beneficial not only for tricep activation, but for almost the entire upper and lower body as well.

In this article, we will take a closer look at how to do close grip push-ups, which muscles are worked during them, and the benefits of doing close pushups. We will also explore some variations and alternate versions you can try.

What Is A Close Grip Push-Up?

A close-grip push-up is a variation of the standard push-up that involves placing your hands narrower than shoulder width apart.

Close hand push-ups, often referred to as narrow grip push-ups. It’s done by positioning the hands close to each other. It is one of the more challenging variations of the push-up because of the narrower base of support.

This exercise works several muscle groups throughout your entire body, including your deltoid, chest, and triceps muscles.

The set-up is similar to a traditional push-up, wherein the individual assumes a high plank with the feet parallel to the hips, and the hands on the floor beneath the chest.

Close Push Up Muscles Worked

Several muscles work together to execute the close grip push-up.

  • The primary muscle worked during narrow push ups is the triceps brachii.
  • The secondary muscles include the pectoralis (chest) muscles, deltoids (shoulders), and serratus anterior.
  • Aside from the upper extremity muscles, close hand push-ups in general, engage the core, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps femoris and calf muscles as well.
Narrow Grip Push-Ups

How To Do Close Grip Push-Up

Take a narrower push-ups stance than you normally do, which is similar to a close-grip push-up that helps in building the inner chest and tricep.

  1. Lay face down on the ground with your legs straight, palm near, and arms supporting the upper body.
  2. Keep your knees off the ground. Take a narrower push up stance than you normally would.
  3. Now raise yourself off the ground, straightening your elbows and your arms but keep your elbows close to your body.
  4. Raise until your elbows are locked, and pause for a moment at the top of the movement.
  5. Now, slowly and steadily lower your body until your chest is close to the ground.
  6. Go as low as you can while maintaining good form and without letting your shoulders shrug up to your ears.
  7. Push through your palms, extending your arms and returning to the starting position.
  8. Ensure that you’re pressing mainly through the heels of your palms.
Close Grip Push-Up

Close Grip Push-Ups Proper Form And Tips

When performing any type of exercise, it is important to have proper form and technique to avoid injury. The benefits of doing narrow push-ups should be maximized by avoiding the following mistakes.

  • Avoid letting the elbows flare out, or point out to the side. The angle between the torso and the arm must be at around 45 degrees.
  • It is important to keep the body in a straight line throughout the activity. The hips should be level with the shoulders from start to finish.
  • Close grip push-ups places more load on the elbows than a conventional push-up does. To avoid injury, it is vital to master a regular push-up, and over the course of a few weeks, slowly progress by bringing the hands closer together.
  • If you are a beginner, it is more important to perfect your form before increasing your reps, as this will help you avoid injury and develop the correct form.
  • Don’t lock your arms on the way up. Squeeze your glutes and engage your core before moving into the push-up
  • You should incorporate proper warm-ups, stretching and nutrition into your exercise program to see progress.
  • It is recommended that you rest for 36 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups in order to allow sufficient recovery.

Benefits Of The Close Hand Push-Up

Although the close grip push-up is a bodyweight exercise and thus does not use any equipment, it still carries with it several benefits.

1. Increased Triceps Activation

The close push-up is great for developing the triceps brachii. One classic study compared muscle activation using various hand positions during the push-up exercise. They found that close grip push-ups are best for training the triceps.

2. Enhanced Strength

Push-ups can strengthen muscles, and progressing to workouts that place more work on muscles is possible.

3. Improves Core Strength and Stability

To maintain balance, the exercise recruits the core muscles, specifically those that function in trunk rotation, such as the external and internal obliques. Recruitment of core muscles for maintaining balance leads to an improvement in both strength and stability.

 4. Close-grip push-ups are versatile

Close-grip push-ups can be done at home without any equipment, and can be made easier or harder with a few simple changes.

5. Tone & Tighten Upper body

Anyone who has done narrow push-ups knows that they are one of the most effective exercises to make your upper body toned and tight.

6. Improve Posture

One of the most important close grip pushups benefits is that it improves your posture. This helps you prevent and manage back problems like pain, stiffness, and tension.

7. Burn Calories

Doing push-ups can be a powerful full-body workout and help to burn more calories.

8. Improve overall health

Regular practice of the narrow push-up, then, can improve overall health, since muscle strength helps to improve bone strength, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and enable everyday mobility.

9. Best Home Workout

An important advantage of the close grip push-up is that it is a versatile exercise. If you don’t have much time to go to a gym, these types of exercises are a good option for a home workout.

Close Hand Push Up Variation And Modification

The push up can be adjusted according to your goals and fitness levels. There are several ways you can enjoy the benefits of narrow grip pushups. You can do the following variations to get a full workout.

Make It Easier

The difficulty of the close push up can be changed by changing hand position. If you want to make close pushups easier, place your hands on a wall or more inclined surface or do close grip knee push up.

Make It Harder

When you are able to do 15-20 basic narrow pushups in a row, or you would like to increase the intensity of pushups, you may want to try doing close grip decline pushups or try doing them on a less stable surface, such as a stability ball. You can increase the intensity by placing a weight plate on your back.

1. Close Grip Knee Push-Up

Bent Knee push-ups are one of the most basic and rewarding exercises you can do. It’s always beneficial to do them regularly.

The close grip knee push-up, also known as a modified close push-up. It is a brilliant beginner exercise for the development of the triceps brachii.

Push-ups on the knee can be practiced by putting the knee on the floor and bringing your hands too close to your chest.

Once the close push-up on knees becomes easy, graduate to performing the exercise on your hands and forefeet.

Close Grip Knee Push Up

How To Do Close Grip Knee Push-Up

  1. Get into a push-up position, supporting your body on your hands and knees instead of on your hands and forefeet.
  2. Your hands should be close to each other.
  3. Keeping your body straight and rigid and your elbows close to your body, inhale as you lower your chest to the floor.
  4. Exhale as you extend your elbows and push your body back up to the starting position.

2. Close Grip Incline Push Up

If you have trouble doing the basic push up, incline pushups are a good way to start. The exercise reduces the amount of body weight you are lifting and puts less stress on your elbows.

For the next degree of difficulty, place the box or chair to support your arms while you perform close push-ups.

This type of push-up allows you to really concentrate on the push-up motion—all without the strain of the traditional version.

Close Grip Incline Push Up

How To Do Incline Close Push Up

  1. Stand approximately 3 to 3.5 feet away from a bench or smith machine.
  2. Your hands should be positioned close to one another.
  3. Slowly lower yourself by flexing your elbows so that your chest comes within a few inches of the edge of the box or bench.
  4. Using your hands, push yourself back to the starting position while focusing on maintaining a straight body position from head to ankle.
  5. The movement should be smooth and controlled.

3. Close Grip Medicine Ball Push-Up

The close-grip medicine ball push up is an upper body strength exercise that targets the chest and shoulders, with slightly more of an emphasis on the triceps. The unstable surface of the ball also helps improve core strength and stability.

Resistance can be reduced by performing push-ups with knees bent on the floor or placing a medicine ball on a higher platform.

Close Grip Medicine Ball Push Up

How To Do Close Grip Medicine Ball Push-Ups

  1. Get in the standard push-up position with your hands on a medicine ball directly beneath your chest. Your left thumb and forefinger should touch your right thumb and forefinger.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower yourself in a controlled manner. Maintain a rigid core as your chest moves towards the top of the ball.
  3. Hold for one to two seconds before breathing out, extending your arms and pushing your body back to starting position.
  4. Repeat the desired number of repetitions.

4. Close Grip Decline Push-Ups

Decline close grip Push-ups are similar to normal push-ups, but with your legs on a bench.

When you perform push-ups with your feet high, as in decline push-ups, you actually push up even more of your own weight, which makes the decline variation more efficient and harder than the standard push up variation

Close Grip Decline Push Up

How To Do Decline Close grip Push-Ups

  1. Elevate your feet by placing them on a bench, chair, or box.
  2. Your hands should be positioned close to one another.
  3. Keeping your elbows next to your body, bend your arms and lower your body until your head is right above the floor
  4. Push back up to the starting position

Close Grip Push Up Vs Standard Push Up

It is the question on everyone’s mind. What is the difference between regular push-ups and close push-ups? Are they actually that different? 

In a regular push-up, you have your hands fairly far apart, and they rest just outside your shoulders. During a standard push-up, the Chest muscles are worked harder than the triceps.

During close grip push-ups, your hands should be closer to each other and directly under your chest. It increases activation of the triceps and inner chest muscles more than a regular push-up. This means that, while individuals consider the narrow push-up to be a tricep-predominant exercise.

The increase in triceps activity in this workout is due to the narrower position of the hands, which places a heavier load on the triceps. This is evidenced by a study which found that there is greater electromyographic (EMG) activity in the triceps brachii when doing close push-ups as compared to when executing regular push-ups.

Close Push Up Alternatives

Exercises that target the same primary muscle groups with push up form

How To Add A Close hand Push up To Your Workout?

Push-ups with a close stance are a versatile exercise. You can do them:

  • Mixed into your cardio or strength-training workout
  • at the end of a weightlifting session

Aim to do narrow pushups 3 to 4 times per week, giving your muscles at least 1 full day of rest between sessions to help them recover.

Proper form is more important than the number of pushups you do. It’s better to do fewer repetitions with good form than more repetitions with poor form.

For a more well-rounded physique, you might consider using various push ups.

  • Standard push ups are best for chest, shoulder and tricep.
  • Incline Push Up works your lower chest and back more.
  • On the other hand, the decline push-up works the upper chest and front shoulders more than the regular or incline variation.
  • Wide grip push-ups focus more on the outer chest and shoulder.
  • Pike Push-ups focus more on shoulder than chest and tricep.


The Close aka narrow grip push-up is a great bodyweight exercise that carries with it the benefit of both greater tricep and chest activation.

While it is more advanced and hence more difficult to perform than a classic push-up, adding the narrow push-up to an individual’s workout routine may be worth the effort because of its added benefits.

People Also Ask

What Push Up Works Inner Chest?

The close grip push up places more emphasis on the inner chest. Everyone should know how to do the close push-up properly to strengthen their inner chest and tricep muscles. You can easily add it to your daily exercises or fitness routine because it requires no equipment and little space.

Are Close Grip Push Ups Harder

When you perform push-ups with a closer hand placement, as in close push-ups, makes this variation. The closer the hand position, the harder it is.

25 Best Variations Push-Ups for Beginner to Advanced

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