A close hands push up has little to do with exercising the chest muscles and is instead done to work the triceps. Knowing when a push up changes from focussing on the chest, to triceps as well as chest, and then finally to concentrating on the triceps, will allow you to use one simple exercise to achieve three different results.
The triceps muscle (otherwise known as the triceps brachii) is mainly responsible for extending the arm. It originates at the shoulder blade (scapula) and inserts at the tip of the ulna, which is one of the bones in the forearm.
The close hands push up is very similar to a standard push up except the hands are a lot closer together, taking the effort off the pectorals because of the lack of adduction (inward movement) at the shoulder. In a standard push up the hands are about shoulder-width apart, similar to a bench press, which allows the chest and triceps to get involved and share the work. With a wider position move effort is on the chest but there is smaller range of movement, while in a close hands press up there is very little movement on the chest which forces the triceps to take the strain.
The usual position for the hands in a close hands push up is generally to have them a few inches apart rather than very close as this can put pressure on the wrists, but for some people this isn’t a problem.
How To Do A Close Hands Push Up
1. Get into a standard push up position, on your toes with your arms straight, but with your hands as close together as is comfortable. This is the start position.
2. With your back straight, bend your arms with control aiming to get a close to the floor as possible. This is the finish position.
3. Push the floor away keeping your arms tucked in and return to the start and repeat for the required number of reps.
Notes For Close Hands Push Up
1. Engage your core throughout the exercise which will help you keep and straight back and good body position.
2. Do not lock your elbows at any point. Keep them soft even in the start position.
3. Bend your arms with control so that you get an eccentric contraction, which should take 3-7 seconds depending on your training goals, and straighten your arms explosively to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibres.
4. Holding the finish position for a second will add an isometric contraction to the exercise.
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