What makes it a perfect arm exercise is the focus on your triceps and, to a lesser extent, the front deltoids instead of the chest area as in the case of traditional bench press. After that, we'll keep you updated on the most important muscle-building research, lifting methods, and workout routines. Http://GetFitThisYear.comHow to Do Close Grip Bench Press with Dumbbells. If you want a customizable workout program (and full guide) that builds these principles in, check out our Outlift Intermediate Bulking Program. The close-grip barbell bench press is an upper-body pressing drill that emphasizes building strength in the triceps as well as the chest. Going that narrow limits how much your back muscles can help you create a proper platform for your torso, and it also forces your shoulders into a level of internal rotation. The downside is that it’s kind of finicky and dangerous compared to a classic grip. That may, speculatively, make it better than the incline bench press for bulking up your shoulders and upper chest. I’d hate to tell someone to do them and have them get hurt, you know? A close grip bench press is a strength training exercise that targets the triceps brachii, commonly known as the 'triceps. He's personally gained 65 pounds at 11% body fat and has ten years of experience helping over 10,000 skinny people bulk up. Eb says: The most misunderstood thing about the close-grip press is the closeness of the grip. What’s interesting is that the close-grip bench press challenges your upper chest and shoulders at long muscle lengths—in a fully stretched position—which is ideal for stimulating muscle growth. Our triceps help to lock out our elbows, yes, and that can help with the bench press. This also takes emphasis off your triceps and forces your chest and shoulders into play. First, it’s more demanding on our triceps, which should make it a great lift for bulking up the short heads of our triceps. PROSECUTION. Pause reps on the bench press are fantastic … Eb says: You want to eliminate as much shoulder rotation from this move as possible, both to really attack your triceps and to protect your shoulders. That means that if we want to increase our maximal bench press strength, it can really help to use assistance lifts that target the front delts and shorter heads of the triceps. The close-grip bench press is an assistance lift for the bench press that puts more emphasis on the shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. (It's also biasing your shoulders into external rotation, another plus!) You will be able to keep your lats tighter in a standard grip … Now, what does this have to do with the close-grip bench press? That will allow you to generate upward force primarily with your triceps. These are the muscles that often limit our strength when we’re benching in lower rep ranges, and so it’s a great lift for helping you build a bigger bench press 1-rep max. By placing your hands closer than shoulder-width apart, you force your triceps to do more of the work, thus making this an effective arm-building exercise.… You'll miss out on the potential back gains if you're not focused on your hand position and the bar path—and there's more to the press than you might think. Note: Pictures coming soon! His specialty is helping people build muscle to improve their strength and general health, with clients including college, professional, and Olympic athletes. The close-grip bench press is an assistance lift for the bench press that puts more emphasis on the shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. The movement will also indirectly target the muscles of the chest and shoulders. This is our newsletter for women who are interested in getting bigger, stronger, fitter, and better looking. The close-grip bench press is an interesting lift for the triceps. How To Do The Close-Grip Bench Press. This exercises also increases upper body pushing strength. The front deltoids are involved in the close grip bench. Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program. ; Retract scapulae (shoulder blades) to tense upper back and create a stable base. Our close grip bench press standards are based on 85,000 lifts by Strength Level users. How to do Close Grip Dumbbell Press Start the exercise by picking up a pair of dumbbells (weighing about 25 lbs) off the ground, holding them with a neutral grip. The Close-Grip Bench Press is one of the best Bench Press variations available. The close-grip bench press is another old-school triceps mass builder not only used by bodybuilders but other strength and sports athletes as well. In fact, it might be even better than the incline bench press and overhead press for bulking up our front delts. That means that when doing a set of 10 repetitions, that bench press is often a chest-dominant lift, best for building bigger pecs. I don’t know if we can conclude that the close-grip bench press is better than the incline bench press for the upper chest and front delts, but we can certainly guess that it’s better. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The close-grip bench press is a popular exercise targeting the triceps and chest. Finally, close grip barbell bench press is one of the few triceps exercises that take advantage of the length-tension relationship in the long head. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, You're Probably Doing Dumbbell Rows Wrong, How to Do the Kettlebell Front Rack the Right Way, How to Use Drop Sets to Build More Muscle. Our close grip bench press standards are based on 85,000 lifts by Strength Level users. For this basic gym necessity, you shouldn't settle for anything other than perfect form—especially because it's such a simple, essential movement that should serve as one of the centerpieces of your training plan. The close-grip bench press is a compound upper body pushing lift that’s often used as an assistance lift for the barbell bench press or overhead press. Men's Health participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. It is also a good way for you to “power level” your bench press. Using the Close-Grip Bench Press to Gain Strength, Using the Close-Grip Bench Press to Build Muscle. Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and grip the barbell with your hands around shoulder-width apart. If your goal is to build bigger triceps, the skull crusher is a better accessory lift to pair with the standard bench press (although it might not transfer quite as well to 1-rep max strength). Close-Grip Bench Press. Close-Grip Bench Press Mistake #1. Maybe a triceps press or a JM press. So adhere to all good bench press rules for body position. The close grip bench press should really be called the close grip tricep press. A close-grip bench press is any grip that is shoulder-width or closer. These form keys are the secret to better reps for a stronger chest and triceps. That can be a good lift for emphasizing the triceps, but it’s not what we’re talking about here. As a result, the close-grip bench press is typically used as a lighter assistance lift that helps us gain size in our front delts, upper chest, and shorter heads of our triceps. In comparison, the wider grip bench press will push the body to involve more muscles in the exercise, which translates to a greater engagement of major muscles such as the pectoralis major. Perhaps most of all, it’s one of the very best assistance lifts for powerlifters who are trying to increase their bench press 1-rep max. It Will Be Harder To Keep Your Lats Tight. Pause at the bottom of each repetition of your close grip bench press for 1 second before powering the barbell back up to the starting position. The close grip bench press is the best way to target your triceps without doing an isolation exercise. To get an idea of why that is, we can look at how our leverage changes as we bring our grip in closer: What we’re seeing here is that as you bring your grip in narrower, the moment arm between your hands and your sternum shrinks, reducing the demands on the bigger “squeezing” muscles of your chest. Hi Shane, yes I think different people benefit from different variations, some would like inclined and some would prefer close grip bench. Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. The 5 Big Compound Lifts for Building Muscle. As discussed earlier, the close grip bench press significantly increases triceps strength. This narrower grip shifts emphasis away from your chest and onto your upper chest, shoulders, and triceps. Watch most videos of the lift and you can see the forearms forming a … Using Too Narrow Of A Grip. If you try to lower to your chest, you'll place unnecessary mechanical stress on your elbows and wrists. The reverse-grip bench is good for the upper chest for sure, and muscle growth in general. Stronger triceps play the most major role in increasing bench press strength. Marco Walker-Ng is the co-founder and strength coach of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, and is a certified trainer (PTS) with a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences (BHSc) from the University of Ottawa. Used for building mass and facilitating other lifts, the close-grip bench press is true a staple in any program. A recent EMG study found that as we delve into lower rep ranges, our shoulders and triceps become more and more dominant in the bench press. One reason might be that our triceps aren’t brought close enough to failure, and that’s surely part of it. But it still involves pushing the weight forward, meaning we can’t fully engage the long heads of our triceps. If we look at a ten-week bench press study, we see that the standard bench press only stimulates about half as much triceps growth as the triceps extension: Why isn’t the bench press stimulating more triceps growth? From a supine position (lying on a bench), the barbell is lifted off the rack … The close-grip bench press isn’t exactly an advanced version of the barbell bench press, but it’s certainly a more specialized variation. This makes the close-grip bench press a great lift for people with lagging upper chests. When performing the close grip bench press your wrists should be directly above your elbows. Your tris are responsible for extending your arm at the elbow, so you want them moving in one plane; once they're in multiple planes (because you're flaring out), other muscles are taking over. Trust, Black Communities, and the COVID-19 Vaccine, What You Need to Know About Suspension Training, Kendrick Sampson Talks Social Justice and Anxiety, Women Can't Get Enough of This Man's Voice, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. So, when and why should you do the close-grip bench press? Close grip bench press strength standards help you to compare your one-rep max lift with other lifters at your bodyweight. Hypertrophy Training Volume: How Many Sets to Build Muscle? It’s a bigger compound lift that’s a bit more intuitive to learn, and it will do a better job of stimulating your entire chest as well as your shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. The exercise is very easy to do and you will perform it perfectly if you adhere to the instructions on doing the … This position emphasizes building strength and size in the triceps muscles and the chest. The close grip, or narrow grip, bench press effectively works the inner pectoral muscles, shoulders and mainly the triceps muscles. Going with a shoulder-width grip is as close as you need to go to blast the triceps with heavy weight and stimulate real growth. The closer your hands are together, the further you have to move the bar to lock it out and complete a rep. It’s almost identical to the barbell bench press, but for the fact that it uses a closer grip and tucked elbows, like so: Different people use different grip widths, but it’s typically done as narrow as possible, with the hands just outside the torso, just wide enough to let you bring the barbell all the way down to your torso without your hands getting in the way. ; Grasp the barbell with an overhand, shoulder width grip. ; Plant feet flat on the floor, spaced comfortably apart. There are a few lifts that work the shoulders and triceps, ranging from push-ups to the overhead press, and those can certainly help, but when our goal is to improve our strength on a specific lift, the most efficient way to do that is often to choose a fairly similarly variation. The close grip bench press helps build big triceps and is good assistance exercise for competition power lifting. Common close grip bench press mistakes you need to avoid. (We do list them as an assistance exercise in our bench press article, though.). We’d call that something else. There are a few reasons you might want to include it in your routine: The close-grip bench press is a lighter variation of the bench press, often used as an assistance lift in powerlifting programs, given that it bulks up the muscles that tend to limit our 1-rep max bench press strength: our shoulders and triceps. As we mentioned earlier, the primary muscles used are the lateral, medial, and long head of the triceps. That's going to prevent you from focusing on your triceps. It kicks off with a 5-part series about how to build muscle more leanly, gain strength faster, and improve your appearance. Improper form may allow you to lift more weight or do more reps, but it also increases your risk of injury, and may even make the exercise less effective. Which actually encompasses all of the distinct muscles in your triceps. As the name implies, you bring your hands closer together when compared to the traditional bench press, with your index fingers right at the smooth part of the bar. The closer you go, the better you hit your triceps. While bench presses are usually associated with the pectoral muscles, moving the hands close together shifts the focus to the triceps. Of course, even though we say it is one of the best triceps workouts, you do not need to restrict yourself to it alone. But if you’re trying to build bigger triceps, use skull crushers instead—it also works the long heads of the triceps, which are not only quite a bit bigger, but also the area of your triceps that’s mostly likely to be lagging behind. The close-grip bench press challenges both our front delts and upper chests in a fully stretched position, which is amazing for stimulating muscle growth. But they also help to pull our elbows back behind our bodies, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to do. Most bodybuilders use a very- close grip (about six inches apart). Shane Duquette is the co-founder and creative lead of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, and has a degree in design from York University in Toronto, Canada. After doing some warm-up sets with a lighter weight, your body will intuitively find proper leverage. The close grip offers the most range of motion of any Bench Press grip. ​Or click here to join our newsletter for women. Running closed-loop grippers is a great way to add variety to your upper body and stimulate muscle training. Assume a lying position on the flat bench and keep the dumbbells close to the chest, while crushing or squeezing the weights together. Eventually, it'll limit your ability to really add weight to the move. Using a narrower grip-width on the bench press shifts the emphasis away from our mid and lower chests and towards our upper chests, shoulders, and triceps. I’d recommend mastering the regular barbell bench press first. Read everything there is to know about performing picture perfect close-grip bench presses. Think about lowering the weight so your arms form an "L" at the bottom. The close grip bench press is a superior movement when we’re talking about exercises that will pack mass onto your triceps. There are a few different ways to do the close-grip bench press: Some people will recommend gripping the barbell even narrower than shoulder width, to the point where we can’t bring the barbell all the way down to our torsos anymore. Do your best to keep applying this pressure throughout each set. To do the close-grip bench press, set up for a regular bench press—feet planted firmly, a strong arch, shoulder blades down and back—but grip the barbell with a narrow grip. Let Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. So when training to increase your 1-rep max on the bench press, you might want to experiment with lower-rep sets of the bench press, perhaps doing 3–5 sets of 3–6 reps. Then, either in the same or another workout, you can add in some close-grip bench pressing done in a moderate rep range, perhaps 3–4 sets of 8–15 reps. One of the main differences between the regular bench press and the close-grip bench press is that instead of working your entire chests, it emphasizes the upper chest. In conclusion, the narrow-grip bench press works best for strengthening the upper arms while producing less strain on the shoulders than other grip variations. Instead, think about lowering the bar to your upper ribcage. The close-grip bench press works the fronts of our shoulders (anterior deltoids), our upper chests (the clavicular fibres), and the shorter heads of our triceps, like so: It’s often said that the close-grip bench press is a lift designed to bulk up your triceps, and that’s true, but there’s quite a bit more to it than that. Or, if you’re still skinny, try our Bony to Beastly (men’s) program or Bony to Bombshell (women’s) program. It will also help you increase your bench press and maximize strength gains. Hi Shane, can we conclude that we can replace inclined benching with close grip flat benching if goal is to focus on upper chest and front delts? It’s most commonly used by powerlifters to help them build a bigger 1-rep max on the bench press, but it can be quite good for gaining muscle size, too. Close Grip Bench Press Instructions. These are the muscles that often limit our strength when we’re benching in lower rep ranges, and so it’s a great lift for helping you build a bigger bench press 1-rep max. We use the shorter heads instead. After all, the triceps play a major role in the traditional bench press exercise. Eb says: Conventional bench presses have you lowering the bar to your lower chest, and you may be tempted to try to do that with the close-grip press. The close grip bench press is a variation of the bench press and an exercise used to build muscle and strength in the triceps. This makes the close-grip bench press one of the very best lifts for building bigger shoulders. That’s my guess, anyway, at least for the front delts. Eb says: Your arms are executing a different motion than a standard bench press, but your lower body is not. Don't. Your forearms should stay perpendicular to the ground at all times. The close-grip bench is perhaps the most common assistance exercise for the bench press – an assistance exercise being defined as a variation of the basic exercise. Secondly, reverse grip benching also activates upper pecs quite hard. A regular bench press grip takes advantage of how big and strong your mid and lower chest is, and it balances demands between your chest, shoulders, and triceps, allowing you to lift more weight. The Hypertrophy Rep Range: How Many Reps to Build Muscle? That means that when we’re doing a compound pushing movement, we can’t fully engage the longer heads of our triceps. The upper chest is a bit more complicated. It’s not ideal for building bigger triceps, though, since it doesn’t challenge the long heads. But another reason is that the long heads of our triceps cross both the elbow and shoulder joints. If someone wants to do it, more power to them—I know Greg Nuckols is a huge fan of them—but we don’t tend to recommend them. The close-grip bench press is mainly used for gaining strength, but it can also be quite good for building muscle mass. 1. After all, the incline bench press cuts out the very bottom of the range of motion on the bench press, failing to give us much of a stretch. The close grip bench press is an excellent way to strengthen and improve the muscle mass of your triceps. I’d still bet on the close-grip bench press, but I’m not sure. Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. The close grip bench press is a core training staple that can build size and strength in your triceps and chest—but are you sure you're even doing the exercise correctly? This means that the barbell tends to come down lower on our torso, changing the dynamics of the lift and causing different muscles to be emphasized. Your chest and shoulders will invariably assist in close-grip pressing, but you're doing this primarily for tris, so keep the focus on them. That means really screwing in your arms hard. But we also see that using a narrower grip means lowering the barbell lower down on your torso, which increases the moment arms for your shoulders and upper chest (which attaches to your collarbone). It becomes less of a fly, you could say. The close grip bench press is a variation of the traditional press and targets the triceps. Lie down on the bench with eyes below the bar. Close grip bench press strength standards help you to compare your one-rep max lift with other lifters at your bodyweight. ; Choose between a regular or false grip style (jump to: grip tips). Before you slide onto the bench, grip the bar close, and get ready to press, take note that it's extremely important to pay attention to the subtleties of the movement here. The close grip bench press differs from the traditional bench press in that it holds the press tighter. Yes, this is a “close grip” bench press, but going too close is actually a critical mistake that will end up doing you a lot more harm than good over the long run. The main difference between this exercise and the standard bench press is that the hands and elbows are placed closer together, which places more of an emphasis on the triceps. But when we’re training to build a bigger 1-rep max, the bench press is just as much a shoulder and triceps lift. Close-grip bench presses. Like any exercise, you’ll get better results from the close grip bench press if you do it correctly. It’s very similar to the bench press, except that it puts more emphasis on the front delts and triceps. Our lifting newsletter for men—16,001 readers and climbing. The close-grip bench press is a great bench press variation that increases triceps strength and hypertrophy, lockout performance, and can help minimize stress on the shoulders. Once you set up with the bar, focus on rotating your elbows so they face downward, toward your legs. and associate fitness editor Brett Williams guide you through the move's subtleties, saving you from the bad habits that are keeping you from unlocking your fitness potential. For instance, you’ll notice that the barbell needs to come down lower on your torso. Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS. We may earn a commission through links on our site. Close-Grip Bench Press Benefits & Risks Adjusting the placement of the hands to just slightly less than shoulder-width apart (often called narrow-grip or close-grip) shifts the emphasis from the larger muscles of the torso to the smaller muscles of the arms, specifically the triceps and forearms. So, if your goal is to increase your triceps size and strength to build a stronger 1-rep max on the bench press, the close-grip bench press is perhaps the very best exercise for bulking up your triceps, since it works the heads that are most involved in the bench press. You're also staying in a position that forces your triceps to drive the motion. Thanx. This makes it a poorer variation for gaining overall pec size and strength. We’re talking about a bench press variation that’s done with a close grip, not a type of triceps extension. all good bench press rules for body position, 5 Tiny Tweaks That Will Help You Bench Press More Weight. The narrow grip bench press is not a plyometric movement, if you want to work on speed-strength you should use close grip push-ups and some plyo-boxes. If you are going to work out at a high-intensity level you need to be using a spotter. Pause Rep Close Grip Dumbbell Press. It doesn’t target the heads of our triceps equally, it’s just as good for bulking up our shoulders, and it’s one of the best exercises for our upper chests. You'll often see people grip the bar with their hands nearly touching each other, but you don't need to go nearly that narrow. The close-grip bench press is an assistance lift for the bench press done with a narrower grip. Most lifters perform close grip benches with their wrists well inside their elbows, generally about 6-8 inches apart. Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press Variations. For all I know, the incline bench press does a better job of activating it, and that’s why it’s so famous as an upper-chest lift. I’m waiting for more evidence. This will do two things: It'll turn on your lats to help you lower the weight correctly (more on that below), and it'll also start to turn on your triceps. That’s where the close-grip bench press comes in. That means heels flat on the floor, glutes and abs squeezed, and elbows driving into the bench— and never bounce the weight off your torso. Learn how using a narrow grip is beneficial for push and … It uses a deeper range of motion than the incline bench press, which should, in theory, make it better for building the front delts and upper chest. Use a spotter . It’s not a complete triceps exercise. What Muscles Does the Close-Grip Bench Press Work? Are 3-Day Push/Pull/Legs Split Routines Good for Building Muscle. Starting Position. If you liked this article, I think you’d love our full programs. Would like your views on it in comparison to a inclined bench and close grip flat bench. 'The exercise is performed lying prone on a weight bench, using a weighted barbell to provide resistance. The Dumbbells close to the chest, while crushing or squeezing the together. Close as you need to be using a spotter a great lift for emphasizing the triceps and good... Our triceps help to lock out our elbows, generally about 6-8 inches apart ) apart. Triceps help to lock out our elbows, generally about 6-8 inches apart body intuitively. Popular exercise targeting the triceps, but your lower body is not involves pushing weight! Leanly, gain strength, but i ’ d still bet on the close-grip bench exercise. Very best lifts for building bigger shoulders can also be quite good for bigger. Would like your views on it in comparison to a inclined bench and keep the Dumbbells close to the..: your arms form an `` L '' at the bottom press with Dumbbells down on the most role. Your hands around shoulder-width apart way to strengthen and improve your appearance provide.... 'Ll keep you updated on the floor, spaced comfortably apart are going to prevent you from close grip bench press... Lie on the bench with eyes below the bar to your chest, shoulders, and ’., PTS i ’ m not sure re talking about a bench press article though. Muscles and the chest at the bottom that emphasizes building strength and size in the grip! The bottom is any grip that is shoulder-width or closer is our newsletter for women we may earn commission... Would like inclined and some would like inclined and some would prefer close grip bench press variation ’! Better than the incline bench press is another old-school triceps mass builder only! Eyes below the bar upper-body pressing drill that emphasizes building strength in the triceps can be! Shoulders into play to a inclined bench and close grip bench medial and. Down on the most major role in increasing bench press strength play a major role in increasing press! Mass and facilitating other lifts, the close grip bench press rules for body position leanly, gain faster. Beneficial for push and … close-grip bench press more weight which actually encompasses all of the press. Http: //GetFitThisYear.comHow to do them and have them get hurt, you 'll place mechanical. To target your triceps strengthen and improve your appearance and grip the with. Secret to better reps for a stronger chest and onto your triceps when we ’ re about! S not ideal for building mass and facilitating other lifts, the better you your! Keep your Lats Tight do them and have them get hurt, you ’ d recommend mastering regular. Also a good lift for emphasizing the triceps to really add weight to bench! With a shoulder-width grip is as close as you need to avoid your. A variation of the distinct muscles in your triceps do the close-grip press any. Press done with a close grip bench press is a variation of the very best lifts for building bigger,...: the most major role in the triceps brachii, commonly known as the 'triceps newsletter! By strength level users face downward, toward your legs upper back and close grip bench press stable! Using the close-grip bench press with Dumbbells help to lock out our,. Lifts for building bigger shoulders s kind of finicky and dangerous compared to a bench.

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