Form, Benefits, and Muscles Worked: The Close Grip Bench Press

When you first start going to the gym, you focus on building your chest and arms. But what if there was a shortcut to building your strength and muscle?

Enter the close grip bench press (aka the close grip barbell bench press).

Sure, a regular bench press is great. But the triceps are more active during a close grip bench press than the regular bench press.

To find out what that means, and why it’s important to your workout routine, read on.

What’s the Best Form for This Exercise?

Lie on the bench under the rack. Reach up to grab the barbell. Make sure there’s a slight arch in your lower back and your glutes are pressed into the bench.

Keep your hands closer than shoulder width. Hence, close grip.

Breathe out and push the bar upwards. You want to reach the lockout position with your arms. 

Breathe in and slowly lower the bar towards your chest. Don’t let the bar bounce off your chest.

Keep your elbows into the body. Pause for a moment.

Then slowly use your triceps to push the barbell upwards. Go back to the lockout position and hold for a moment.

Repeat the movement as many times as necessary. Make sure the weight isn’t drifting forwards.

Which Muscles Does This Exercise Work?

The close grip bench press is a compound exercise. So you’ll work several muscle groups at once.

But the move primarily works your triceps. That’s because the closer grip puts more stress on them. The more stress they’re under, the harder they work.

It also works the muscles of the chest and front deltoids.

If you don’t have a spotter, start with lighter weights. You can also use dumbbells if a barbell isn’t available. When using dumbbells, put the palms facing together for the right form.

What Are The Benefits of The Close Grip Bench Press?

Tricep exercises like rack lockouts are better if you want to gain strength. If you’re looking to build muscle, dumbbell triceps extensions are a better choice.

But the close grip bench press lets you gain strength and build muscle with the same move. 3-5 reps in 3 sets will help with strength. 8+ reps for a minimum of 5 sets will help with muscle building.

And if you find your elbows move out during a regular bench press? It could be your triceps need more strength which the close grip bench press will help with. That’ll stop your body relying on your chest.

It’s also quick and easy to set up, compared to other triceps exercises.

But because it’s a compound movement, you can lift more weight with less chance of injuring yourself. You’ll also be able to lift more weight in a traditional bench press.

Add This Move to Your Routine Today

It’s a good idea to add some variety to your routine. You won’t get bored and you’ll work more muscles. Adding the close grip bench press will help with other moves and you can swap it with a bench press whenever you need to.

Just remember to stick to the right form and start off light. You can always add more weight as you get stronger.

Why not check out my other articles on weight training? 

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