The Importance of the Close Push-Up in a Progressive Routine
Push-ups are a crucial exercise in any progressive calisthenics routine. They directly affect the chest, shoulders, triceps, and with proper technique will indirectly work the lats and core. Pushups also provide the foundation for more advanced techniques like handstand pushups, or any asymmetrical press like uneven or one-arm variations. While all exercise progressions have their place, the close-grip pushup, otherwise known as the diamond pushup, is an essential variation at the intermediate stage of training.
The focus is shifted from the larger upper body muscles(chest and lats), to the triceps, elbows, and shoulders. This shift is important, as it sets the tone for progression toward advanced pushing techniques. Without increased focus on these muscle groups, progression with more difficult asymmetrical pushups, like those mentioned above, will suffer because they rely so heavily on a baseline strength in those areas. This is why it is so important to develop strength using the close pushup.
For those just beginning close pushups, the degree of difficulty can be mitigated by simply increasing the distance between the hands, provided you do not exceed the width of a standard pushup. Once the necessary strength is attained, you can progress to a more advanced form by lifting a leg off of the floor during execution.
A solid close pushup is a necessary variation to have in a progressive routine, even for the most advanced practitioners. Effectively applying this technique is a pivotal step toward accessing the immense strength advanced push-up techniques provide.
Above are examples of hand placement during the close push-up. The top an arrow position and the bottom the traditional diamond shape placement. Both are great and you may find one more comfortable than the other.