Close Grip Push Up: Tutorial For A Proven Bodyweight Tricep Exercise

Are you struggling to build your chest muscles despite doing countless push-ups? Well, it’s a common problem amongst fitness enthusiasts and often attributed to poor form. Specifically, the standard push up mainly targets the triceps and shoulders while minimally working the chest muscles. However, performing a simple modification called the close grip push up can save the day. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the close grip push up and explain how it can help you build a robust chest. So, keep reading to learn more about this technique and how to incorporate it into your workout routine.

Close Grip Push Up Summary

Graphic image of a fit woman performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Close Grip Push Up Instructions

  • Lie prone on the floor with your hands narrower than shoulder width.
  • Press your body off the floor by extending your arms with your body straight.
  • Keep your body straight, and lower your body to the floor by bending your arms.
  • Push your body up again until your arms are fully extended.
  • Do these Close Grip Push-Up for a complete set.

Video Tutorial

How to Do a Close Grip Push-Up | Boot Camp Workout

Close Grip Push Up Muscles

Target (Agonist)


Dynamic Stabilizers


  • No Significant Stabilizers

Antagonist Stabilizers

Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the close grip push up exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Close Grip Push Up

The close grip push up is an excellent exercise for targeting the pectoralis major – sternal muscle. This exercise works to strengthen and define the chest muscles, helping to improve posture and overall upper body strength. It also helps to increase stability in the shoulders and arms, allowing for better form when performing other upper body exercises. Additionally, this exercise helps to improve core strength, balance and coordination, all of which are essential for any strength training or fitness routine.

Tips for Performing Close Grip Push Up

If you’re looking to take your close grip push up to a new level, then you’re at the right place. Using these tips will allow you to maximize the advantages of this beautiful exercise. In addition to shaping your chest muscles, improving movability, and also a lower chance of injury can all be accomplished with this exercise. Let’s get started and see what these tips can do for you.

  • Keep your core engaged: Maintaining an engaged core throughout your push ups ensures that your body is properly supported and reduces the risk of injury. This will also help you generate more power and stability in each rep.
  • Keep your hands close together: Keeping your hands closer together when performing close grip push ups will increase the intensity of the exercise and challenge your chest and triceps even further.
  • Lower your body slowly: Taking your time when lowering your body during the close grip push up will help you to better control the movement and ensure you’re engaging the right muscles. Slowing down the movement also helps you to maximize the benefits of the exercise.

Benefits and Tips Video

Essential Tip For Close Push Ups

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

When conducting close grip push up, keeping away from typical errors can be the difference to getting the most out of the exercise and avoiding injury. Also, in order to maximize your benefits of the exercise, proper form is required. Through preventing these frequent mistakes, you will improve your performance and get your desired results. However, take it easy, it’s not quite as difficult as it might appear. By knowing the mistakes to avoid and taking the appropriate actions, you can execute the exercise securely and successfully. So let’s get started on avoiding those common mistakes and making this exercise a standard part of your fitness training.

  • Not keeping their elbows close to their body – This mistake can cause them to put more strain on their shoulders, which can lead to injury and discomfort.
  • Not keeping their core engaged – Not engaging their core muscles can limit the effectiveness of the exercise and put strain on other parts of the body.
  • Doing too many repetitions too quickly – Rushing through the repetitions can lead to poor form and not working the right muscles, making it harder to tone and get slim.

Find More Bodyweight Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

Variations, complementary exercises, and alternative exercises for the Close Grip Push Up can help to target the same muscles in different ways. Depending on the individual’s fitness level, one or more of the following exercises may be suitable for inclusion in a workout routine.

Lever Pec Deck Fly (Machine)

Graphic image of Lever Pec Deck Fly (Machine).

The Lever Pec Deck Fly is a great machine to use as a complementary or alternative exercise to the Close Grip Push Up. It is a seated machine that uses an adjustable lever arm to target the chest muscles. This machine is great for those who are looking to build muscle and size in their chest without putting strain on their shoulder joints. The Lever Pec Deck Fly is an effective exercise for building the upper chest, which is often neglected in the Close Grip Push Up. Additionally, it allows you to control the range of motion and intensity of the exercise, making it easier to progress and make gains.

Standing Cable Chest Press

Graphic image of Standing Cable Chest Press.

The standing cable chest press is a great complement or alternative exercise for the close grip push up. This exercise works the chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles by pressing the cable handle from a standing position. It is important to maintain proper form and posture while performing the standing cable chest press to maximize its effectiveness. Unlike the close grip push up, the standing cable chest press allows the user to adjust the weight on the cable to increase or decrease intensity. Additionally, it is possible to move the cable handle in multiple directions to target different muscles in the chest and shoulders. The standing cable chest press is an effective exercise that can be used to complement or replace the close grip push up.

Push Ups

Graphic image of Push Ups.

Push ups are a great complementary exercise to the Close Grip Push Up. The Push Up works the same muscles, but in a slightly different way. Push ups target the chest, triceps and core while the Close Grip Push Up focuses more on the triceps and shoulders. Both exercises require you to keep your body in a straight line while you press up and down, however, with the Push Up your hands are shoulder-width apart while with the Close Grip Push Up your hands are close together. Both exercises help to build strength and muscle in the upper body.

Check Out These Top Bodyweight Exercises

Push Up From Knees

Graphic image of Push Up From Knees.

Push Up From Knees is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Close Grip Push Up. This exercise targets the same muscle groups as the Close Grip Push Up, but with less intensity and more control. The Push Up From Knees allows you to concentrate on form and technique, which can help you progress faster when attempting the Close Grip Push Up. The Push Up From Knees also serves as a great way to warm up and prepare your body for a more challenging exercise like the Close Grip Push Up.

Lying Cable Fly

Graphic image of Lying Cable Fly.

The lying cable fly is an effective complementary or alternative exercise for the close grip push up. This exercise requires a cable machine and an adjustable bar attachment. The bar should be lowered to chest height, and the user should hold the bar with their arms extended outwards, perpendicular to their body. The user then brings the bar together in front of their chest while keeping their arms extended. This exercise engages the same muscles as the close grip push up, but with the added resistance of the cable machine, it can help build more strength and muscle mass in the chest and arms.

Lunge Push Up

Graphic image of Lunge Push Up.

The Lunge Push Up is an alternative exercise to the Close Grip Push Up. It is a bodyweight exercise that engages the chest, arms, core, and legs. To perform the exercise, start in a push up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Step one leg back and lower your body towards the ground. Push up and repeat with the opposite leg. This exercise is great for toning the chest and arms as well as strengthening the core and legs. It is also a great way to add variety to your workout routine.

Find More Chest Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

To further complement the Close Grip Push Up exercise and strengthen opposing muscle groups, try adding the following exercises to your routine:

Reverse Grip Bent Over Dumbbell Row

Graphic image of Reverse Grip Bent Over Dumbbell Row.

Reverse Grip Bent Over Dumbbell Row is a great exercise to complement the Close Grip Push Up. This exercise targets the back muscles, specifically the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and trapezius muscles. By performing Reverse Grip Bent Over Dumbbell Row, you are strengthening your back muscles in opposition to the chest muscles worked during the Close Grip Push Up, resulting in a balanced and stronger upper body. When combined, these two exercises create an effective way to build muscle and strength in the upper body.

Bent Over Rotating Dumbbell Row

Graphic image of Bent Over Rotating Dumbbell Row.

The Bent Over Rotating Dumbbell Row is a great complementary exercise to the Close Grip Push Up as it works the opposite muscle group. This exercise targets the back muscles, specifically the lats, traps and rhomboids. To perform this exercise, stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand and bend forward at the waist until your torso is parallel to the floor. Keep your back flat and pull the dumbbells up and out to your sides until your elbows are in line with your shoulders. This exercise complements the Close Grip Push Up because it targets the opposing muscle group, allowing for a balanced workout.

Bent Over Dumbbell Row

Graphic image of Bent Over Dumbbell Row.

The Bent Over Dumbbell Row is a great complement to the Close Grip Push Up exercise, as it works the opposing muscle group. This exercise involves bending over at the waist, with a slight arch in the back and the knees slightly bent. You then hold a dumbbell in each hand and pull it up towards the chest while keeping your elbows close to your sides. The main muscles used in this exercise are the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and traps, which are the opposite of the ones used in the Close Grip Push Up. Performing both of these exercises in succession can help improve posture, strength, and flexibility.

Get Strong with Close Grip Push Ups!

Looking to build a stronger upper body? Close grip push ups are a great exercise to add to your routine. By bringing your hands in closer to your body, you engage your triceps and chest muscles more than a traditional push up. Plus, the added challenge can help you break through plateaus and see results faster. Just be sure to keep your elbows tucked in and your form solid to minimize any risk of injury. Give close grip push ups a try and watch your strength soar!

References: Wikipedia | | | Comprehensive List of Chest Bodyweight Exercises

Pin image for close grip push up post. With an image of a woman performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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