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Close Grip Bench Press

What Is A Close Grip Bench Press

How To Do A Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip barbell bench press is a variant of the barbell bench press that emphasises different muscle groups through grip manipulation. The movement closely replicates the barbell bench press, with the closer width of grip being the significant difference. This altered grip style shifts a considerable amount of the weight from the pectoral muscles onto the shoulders and triceps.

Commonly Asked Questions On Close Grip Bench Press

  • The close grip bench press primarily works the upper chest, triceps, and anterior deltoids. Compared to the standard barbell bench press, the shoulders and triceps take more of the load.

    This movement also challenges the core stability as a certain amount of stability and coordination is needed to control the barbell and ensure the movement is executed correctly.

  • The close grip bench press can be performed with dumbbells, and if you’re new to bench press movements practicising with dumbbells can help to get the movement and reduce injury risks. However, you may find it more difficult to maintain a narrow grip throughout the exercise when there isn’t a fixed position on a bar.

  • The tricep is made up of three heads, the medial, lateral and long head. The close grip bench press primarily targets the lateral and medial head. The lateral head is positioned on the side of the tricep and the medial head is at the back of the arm just above the elbow. If you want to work the long head of the tricep more, overhead movements like dumbbell overhead tricep extension are great options.

Close Grip Bench Press Tips

While the close grip requires the hands to be close to one another, it is important that they are wide enough apart so that the bar can be lowered down to the chest, this is usually just wider than shoulder width. If the hands are too close, the movement will be uncomfortable, or you may find you’re unable to lower the bar fully.

If you’re new to close grip bench pressing, we’d advise becoming familiar with the flat bench press before attempting the close grip. Once you feel confident enough to try the close grip, you’ll need to lower the weight. As there is less pec involvement in the close grip, it is likely that less weight will be manageable than with the flat bench press grip.

How To Do A Close Grip Bench Press

  1. Lying down on a bench, position yourself so that your eyes are in line with or behind the barbell. 

  2. Grip the barbell taking a close grip just outside of shoulder width apart. 

  3. Retract your shoulder blades by pulling your shoulder blades into the bench and pressing through your feet. This should create an arch in your lower back, which helps to protect the shoulder joint.

  4. Take a deep breath in to unrack the barbell and hold it straight above you.

  5. Commence the reps by lowering the barbell in line with your mid chest making sure you keep your elbows tucked rather than allowing them to flare outwards. Ensure to lower the barbell until it is nearly touching your chest.  

  6. Push through your arms, chest and feet as you lift the barbell back up in an arc direction towards your chin. 

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.