Close Hand Push-ups

The first progression after full push-ups towards the one arm push-up is the close hand push-up. By moving your hands closer together, it puts more emphasis on your triceps, which will need to grow stronger in order to perform a one arm push-up.

Alternative Names

Diamond push-ups
Tricep push-ups

Muscles Worked

Primary

Triceps brachii

Secondary (Synergists)

Pectoralis major

Deltoid anterior (front)

Stabilizers (Fixators)

Rectus abdmonis
Obliques
Pectoralis minor
Serratus anterior

Quadriceps
Gastrocnemius
Soleus

Instructions

Start Position

  • Place your hands on the ground next to each other, beneath your chest; they don’t have to be in a diamond shape, but they should be touching.
  • The rest of your body should be in a straight line, from head to toe with your feet together.
  • Your arms should be be straight, but not locked out at the elbows.

Execution

  • Lower yourself under control until your hands touch your chest.
  • Hold for a second, then return back to the start position.

Close Hand Push-up Form

Elbow Position

Elbows should be by your side throughout the movement, don’t flare them out. This will focus on your triceps, as well as keeping your shoulder joint stable.

Don’t Lock Your Elbows

Whilst your arms should be straight, never lock out the elbow, this puts the pressure through the ligaments rather than the muscles.

Full Range of Motion

Full range of motion is all the way down and all the way up. Putting your tricep through the full range of motion will gain the maximum benefit and help strengthen the joints.

Keep Your Body Straight

Your body from head to toe should be in a straight line throughout the movement. Engaging your abdominal muscles will make this easier.

Breathing

Breath in during the eccentric phase (lowering yourself), breath out during the concentric phase (pushing yourself back up). Try to breath through your stomach rather than chest to get more strength from your abdominal muscles.

Cadence

At a minimum your should be aiming for one second down, one second hold, then one second back up (1-1-1). Ideally you want to be aiming for 2-1-2.

Progression / Regression

With calisthenics, there is always more than one way to make the exercise easier or harder. Here are just a few.

Hand Position

By moving the hands slightly further apart, you can perform a push-up that in terms of difficulty, is in-between a standard push-up and close hand.

Incline / Decline

Raising your hands will put more weight through the legs, rather than the arms, making it easer.
Raising your legs will make a bit of a hybrid challenge between a handstand push-up progression and a close arm push-up – a nice way to mix up your training every now and again.

Once you have got all you can out of the close hand push-up, then move onto the next progression.

  1. Close Hand Push-ups
  2. Unstable Push-ups
  3. Lever / Archer push-ups
  4. One arm push-up negative
  5. One arm push-up