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November 23, 2021 4 min read

Unlike traditional or wide grip push-ups, close grip push-ups involve doing your push-ups with your hands placed even more narrow than shoulder-width apart. Like other forms of push-ups, this workout is great for building muscles in the delts, biceps, and chest but has other benefits as well.

Sportsman wearing blue shorts and black t-shirt doing exercise for arms

What is a Close-Grip Push-Up?

Similar to wide grip push-ups, close grip push-ups are performed by getting in plank position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your fingers pointing forward.

The close grip push-up puts more pressure on the biceps, triceps, and chest.

While both variations use the same muscles, they activate different muscle responses. Because of this the close-grip push-up is commonly considered the more strenuous push-up variation.

What Muscles Do Close Grip Push-Ups Work?

The muscles that are jacked when doing a close grip push-up are the following:

  • triceps brachi
  • pectoralis major
  • serratus anterior
  • coracobrachialis
  • biceps brachii
  • deltoid anterior
  • supraspinatus
  • latissimus dorsi.

The biceps also play an active role during a close grip push-up and have a role in stabilizing the shoulder joint during the movement.

Positions For Your Feet During Close Grip Push-Ups

As described above, doing close grip push-ups requires you to be in alignment. So, where should your feet be?

If you are a beginner, keeping your toes on the floor is fine.

This is because it can help  build strength in your legs that will be necessary to get better at your reps. You can eventually work up to trying these push-ups with your feet elevated to challenge yourself. First, however, it's crucial that your hips stay down and not come up toward the ceiling when you lower into the exercise.

If that happens, then try elevating your feet or doing the push-up with bent knees until you feel confident enough to lower your hips back towards the floor as you press back up.

How To Properly Perform a Close Grip Push Up

1. First, you need to come into the plank position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your fingertips pointing forward. Check that your neck and back are both in a neutral position so that your core is engaged.

2. Place both hands approximately two inches apart and bring in your elbows so that they are close to your ribs on both sides. Make sure your spine is not too low or too high but is in a perfectly neutral position.

3. Next, lower yourself down toward the ground slowly by bending your elbows and allowing them to move outwards slightly.

4. Slowly lift yourself back up into starting form while keeping your spine in the neutral position.

5. After your first rep, depending on your experience you can do 2-3 sets of 8 to 10 reps each.

6. If you are a beginner, it's more important to perfect your form first before increasing your reps as not to get injured or develop the incorrect form.


Benefits of Doing Close Grip Push-Ups

If you're looking for a way to tone your arms and strengthen your upper body, then close grip push-ups can be a great exercise for you. Not only do they target your chest muscles, but they also work out your arms, shoulders, and back as well.  

Part of what makes the close grip push-up so useful, is that you are do them from nearly anywhere where there is a flat surface. No machines or workout equipment is necessary for this explosive workout. Some additional benefits are the following:

  1. Improve Muscle Endurance: As you work your arms and chest with this workout, your muscles can become stronger and as a result handle more and more pressure.
  2. Improve Balance & Stability: When done with proper form (and by using all three components of fitness: cardio, strength training, and flexibility), close grip push-ups will develop not only broad chest and arm strength but also your overall balance and stability. In addition, by training your body to do this exercise with ease, you'll be developing a broad, solid set of muscles that help you get through daily activities like carrying groceries or walking up the stairs without feeling any discomfort.
  3. Improved Mobility & Flexibility: If you want to increase muscle strength, your muscles must be mobile enough to do so. If you're not mobile, it will be tough for you to develop good form while doing close grip push-ups (plus lack of mobility can lead to injury). But if done correctly, these push-ups will help loosen up tight muscles in your chest, arms shoulders which may benefit some of your daily activities like working on the computer or driving.
  4. Tone & Tighten Arms, Shoulders & Back: Anyone who has done push-ups knows that they are one of the most effective exercises to make your arms toned and tight (in a good way).
     Bodybuilder man with perfect abs, shoulders,biceps, triceps and chest,
  5. Good for Losing Weight: If you're looking to burn calories, then different cardio exercises can help with that goal. However, if you're looking to lose weight and turn fat into muscle, you need to look into strength training. All of that running or elliptical machine time can lead to muscle loss (the opposite of what we want). By doing close-grip push-ups, you're burning calories by building muscle which will help you burn more calories without doing additional cardio exercises!
  6. Improved Bone Density & Strength: The saying, "Use it or Lose it" applies well when talking about bones. The best way for a fitness enthusiast to strengthen the bones is through high-impact exercises like running, jumping rope, and strength training with weights.
  7. Great to Do at Home: If you don't have much time to go to a gym, then these types of exercises are one of your best bets for a good home workout.
  8. Tone and Strengthen the Triceps: Push-ups are among the best exercises to help develop your triceps muscles. When done correctly with good form, close grip push-ups can help sculpt your arms in good time.

Wrapping Up

So there we are, close grip push-ups have proven to be one of the best and most widely performed push-up variations. If done correctly, you should be able to build up some seriously strong arms and a solid chest