Methods to Shut-Grip Bench Press: Ideas & Variations

Methods to Shut-Grip Bench Press: Ideas & Variations

The close-grip bench press is a flat barbell bench press carried out with a barely narrower grip.

Whereas this looks like an insignificant method tweak, utilizing close-grip bench press type considerably adjustments which muscle tissues are emphasised throughout the train.

Whereas the standard bench press is primarily a chest train that additionally trains the shoulders and triceps, the close-grip bench press is primarily a triceps train that additionally trains the shoulders and chest (particularly the higher portion of the chest).

To reap the total advantages of this train, although, you want to be taught and use correct method. Utilizing sloppy close-grip bench press type not solely reduces the effectiveness of the train, however may also wreak havoc in your wrists and shoulders.

So, on this article you’ll be taught every part you want to find out about tips on how to do close-grip bench press. You’ll be taught the muscle tissues labored by the train and tips on how to do a few of the finest close-grip bench press variations such because the close-grip dumbbell bench press and the close-grip soccer bar bench press, and extra!

Shut-Grip Bench Press Advantages

Like different horizontal urgent workout routines, the muscle tissues labored by the close-grip bench press embody the pecs, triceps, and shoulders.

Right here’s how these muscle tissues look in your physique:


There are some advantages which are distinctive to the close-grip bench, nonetheless, resembling . . .

It builds robust triceps higher than the bench press.

Analysis reveals that the close-grip bench press trains the triceps considerably greater than different bench press variations. 

Primarily based on my expertise coaching myself and dealing with and listening to from tens of 1000’s of others through the years, I’d go as far as to say that the close-grip bench press is the only finest triceps train you are able to do. And which means, by the way in which, that it’s additionally an impressive train for growing your arm mass as a result of the triceps contribute considerably extra to your complete arm dimension than the biceps.

The close-grip bench press can be among the best “accent” workout routines you are able to do for enhancing your flat bench press. The rationale for that is {that a} lack of triceps power can turn into a limiting consider growing your bench press. 

For instance, in case your chest muscle tissues are robust sufficient to bench press 300 kilos, your triceps might solely be robust sufficient to bench press 250. And because you’re solely as robust as your weakest hyperlink, your bench press probably gained’t budge till your triceps “catch up” to your chest. 

On this case, doing an train just like the close-grip bench press can right this muscle imbalance and mean you can flat bench press considerably greater than when you simply stored banging away at it.

It trains your “higher” chest muscle tissues higher than the bench press.

Though many individuals assume the incline bench press is the very best train for coaching the “higher” chest, analysis reveals the close-grip bench press might be simply as efficient.

Many guys make the error of overemphasizing the barbell and dumbbell bench press and chest press machines, which primarily practice the “decrease” (sternocostal) portion of their pecs versus the “higher” (clavicular) portion. 

Over time, these of us can wind up with a “bottom-heavy” chest that appears odd and limits their power in different urgent workout routines (in case your higher chest is underdeveloped, that’s much less muscle you should use to press heavy issues).

Thus, by incorporating workout routines just like the close-grip bench press into your exercise routine, you possibly can guarantee your higher chest is proportional in dimension and power to your decrease chest.

It has higher carryover to different sports activities than the bench press.

The close-grip bench press higher mimics the type of pushing concerned in most sports activities than the standard bench press, as most sports activities contain pushing with the arms near the edges.  Consider chest passing in basketball, blocking or stiff-arming in soccer or rugby, or posting and framing in boxing or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Thus it’s not stunning that analysis suggests the close-grip bench press is a good train for creating such a urgent power that’s important for performing properly at many sports activities. 

(This isn’t to say that the standard bench press isn’t additionally efficient for this, after all, solely that the close-grip bench press might present extra advantages). 

It’s simpler to overload than different triceps workout routines.

If you wish to maximize the muscle-building results of weightlifting, it’s important to progressively overload your muscle tissues. This implies it’s important to add weight or reps to each train over time (get stronger, mainly).

Some workout routines are a lot simpler to overload than others, which makes them usually simpler for gaining muscle. For example, the diamond push-up trains lots of the identical muscle tissues because the close-grip bench press, however overloading as you get stronger will get tough.

The identical factor is true of many different triceps workout routines resembling dumbbell triceps extensions, triceps kickbacks, and so forth. Not the close-grip bench press, although, which you’ll be able to safely overload for roughly your whole weightlifting journey. 

It locations much less stress on the shoulder joints than the bench press.

Because of the approach your higher arms are positioned throughout the close-grip bench press, it locations barely much less stress in your shoulders than the standard bench press whereas nonetheless closely stimulating your pecs and triceps.

This makes it very best for individuals who discover the standard bench press uncomfortable, who’re attempting to coach round a shoulder harm, or who merely need a few of their urgent to be extra shoulder pleasant.

Methods to Do the Shut-Grip Bench Press

Earlier than we get into close-grip bench press type, be sure you have all of the gear you want to do the barbell close-grip bench press, together with . . .

  • A barbell and weight plates
  • A sturdy flat bench
  • A pair of weightlifting wrist wraps or weightlifting belt (non-obligatory)

With that taken care of, let’s discuss tips on how to do the close-grip bench press with correct type.

Step 1: Set Up

First, lie down on the bench and alter your physique so your eyes are below the bar.

Then, elevate your chest up and tuck your shoulder blades down and squeeze them collectively. A great cue for that is to consider pulling your shoulder blades into your again pockets, like this: 


Seize the bar with a shoulder-width grip or barely narrower, plant your toes on the bottom, arch your again barely, and unrack the bar by locking your elbows out to push the bar off the hooks.

Whereas conserving your arms locked, transfer the bar horizontally till it’s instantly over your chest.  

Step 2: Descend

Conserving your elbows tucked near your sides, decrease the bar to simply beneath your pecs, across the backside of your breastbone. The bar ought to contact your chest at a degree a number of inches decrease than it does throughout the typical bench press.

As soon as the bar has touched your torso (touched, not bounced off of), you’re able to press.

Step 3: Press

Push the bar towards the ceiling to get it off your chest, and maintain pushing till your elbows are nearly locked. Keep in mind to maintain your shoulder blades “down and again,” your elbows tucked, your decrease again barely arched, your butt on the bench, and your toes on the ground.

The bar ought to transfer up towards your chin in a slight arc, ending the place you started with the bar instantly over your chest.

Shut-Grip Bench Press Errors

Utilizing too slender of a grip.

The issue: Many individuals make the error of pondering that the nearer your arms are collectively, the higher the train is in your triceps, and they also grip the bar with their arms nearly touching one another. This isn’t higher than a shoulder-width grip, and actually, it typically causes wrist and shoulder ache (which reduces how a lot you possibly can press and may result in harm over time).

The repair: Whenever you arrange for the close-grip bench press, alter your grip in order that your arms are instantly over your shoulders or simply inside shoulder-width aside. This may put your arms about 10-to-16 inches aside for most individuals. As soon as your arms are in place, take a psychological word of the place they’re in relation to the knurling (the tough, sand-papery sample) on the bar. This provides you with a reference level for locating the correct grip width each time you do the train.

Urgent the bar straight up and down.

The issue: Putting your arms nearer collectively whereas bench urgent adjustments the biomechanics of the train in order that it’s almost unattainable to press the bar straight up and down. Some individuals strive to take action anyway, and this limits power and may irritate their shoulders and wrists.

The repair: Begin every rep with the bar above your chest, then decrease it in an arc in order that it touches your torso at or barely beneath your nipples. One of the best ways to get this proper is to not give it some thought—simply deal with urgent the bar into the ceiling and reducing it to your decrease chest, and also you’ll discover that the bar naturally strikes within the right approach. If you wish to examine your type, although, have a good friend take a video of you from the aspect whereas performing the train.

Bouncing the bar off your chest.

The issue: One approach to “cheat” throughout any sort of barbell bench press is to let the bar descend so rapidly that it bounces off your chest. Whereas this boosts your one-rep max (and ego), it causes a number of issues: 

  1. It reduces the quantity of labor your triceps, chest, and shoulders should do, making the train much less efficient.
  2. It will increase the chance of harm (particularly your shoulders). 
  3. It makes it tough to trace your progress as a result of you might “bounce” the bar extra on some reps than others.
  4. It makes you appear to be a lummox. 

The repair: Decrease the bar in a fast however managed method in order that all the descent takes a couple of half second or so. Though many individuals suggest taking 1-to-2 seconds to decrease the bar, this considerably reduces how a lot you possibly can carry and isn’t any higher than reducing it in a quick however managed method, particularly because the bar approaches your torso. A great cue for getting this proper is to think about that there’s an egg in your chest, and also you’re attempting to the touch the egg with out breaking it. 

When you have bother getting this proper, listed here are two extra methods to assist: 

  1. Strive pausing with the bar in your chest for a cut up second earlier than urgent it up.
  2. Place a pencil between your pecs (proper on prime of your breast bone) earlier than you begin every set. If you happen to strive bouncing the bar, it’ll push the pencil into your chest, serving as a painful reminder to manage the descent. 

Not pulling your shoulder blades again and down.

The issue: Not pulling your shoulder blades again and down earlier than you do any type of urgent train causes two issues: 

  1. It places your shoulders in a weak place, growing the chance of harm.
  2. It destabilizes your torso and permits your physique to shift place mid-rep, which wastes vitality and reduces power.

The repair: Throughout your warm-up units, observe pulling your shoulder blades again and down and conserving them on this place throughout each rep. The one a part of your physique that ought to transfer whereas urgent is your arms—your shoulders shouldn’t budge. 

Some useful cues for getting this proper: 

  • “Again and down.”
  • “Squeeze a pencil between your shoulder blades.” 
  • “Tuck your shoulder blades into your again pockets.” 

Not totally extending the arms on the prime of every rep.

The issue: Some individuals consider you shouldn’t totally prolong your arms whereas close-grip bench urgent to “maintain stress in your triceps.” That is wrongheaded. Your triceps’ essential job is to prolong your elbows, so by solely urgent by a partial vary of movement, you’re really making the close-grip bench press much less efficient for coaching your triceps.

The repair: Press the bar till your arms are straight on the prime of each rep. Whilst you don’t want to completely lock out your elbows, they shouldn’t be visibly bent, both.

Shut-Grip Bench Press Variations

Shut-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

The close-grip dumbbell bench press is similar because the barbell close-grip bench press besides it’s carried out with dumbbells as an alternative of a barbell.

The good thing about doing the close-grip bench press with dumbbells as an alternative of a barbell is that it will possibly enable you to establish and proper muscle imbalances as a result of either side of your physique are compelled to carry the identical quantity of weight independently (one aspect can’t “take over” from the opposite). 

The draw back, nonetheless, is that it may be harder to manage dumbbells (your arms might not keep shoulder-width aside all through every rep), and also you gained’t be capable of carry as a lot weight as you’d with a barbell.

JM Press

The JM Press is called after its creator, powerlifter JM Blakely, who needed a simpler train for emphasizing his triceps after heavy bench urgent.

The JM Press is a mixture of the close-grip bench press and triceps extension, and it successfully isolates the triceps greater than the close-grip bench press and trains it by a higher vary of movement. Many individuals additionally discover that it’s barely simpler on the shoulders than the close-grip bench press, which makes it an awesome accent train for coaching your triceps after your chest is bushed from heavy benching. 

You must begin mild and progress slowly with the JM Press, although. If you happen to attempt to deal with an excessive amount of weight too rapidly, you’ll probably run into elbow ache.

Incline Shut-Grip Bench Press

The incline close-grip bench press combines the flat barbell close-grip bench press with the incline barbell bench press. The pondering behind that is that since each of those workout routines practice your higher chest, combining the 2 will practice your higher chest much more. 

Whereas it’s an fascinating concept, I haven’t discovered it to pan out in observe. For one factor, it’s a really awkward train, and I’ve discovered I can carry rather more weight if I do these workout routines individually as an alternative of attempting to shoehorn them collectively. 

Thus, the incline close-grip bench press isn’t a “dangerous” train, nevertheless it’s pointless in case your exercise routine already contains the close-grip bench press and the incline bench press

The one occasion the place the incline close-grip bench press may make sense, I suppose, is when you discover the incline bench press extra snug together with your arms nearer collectively . . . however I’ve but to satisfy somebody who can’t comfortably incline bench press.

The Soccer Bar, also called the “Swiss Bar,” or “multi-grip bar, is a kind of barbell that means that you can maintain the bar with a impartial grip (your palms going through one another). 

Many individuals discover urgent together with your palms going through every extra snug as a result of it takes a few of the stress off your shoulders. It additionally naturally locations your elbows nearer to your sides, which ensures your triceps do the lion’s share of the work. 

The downsides of doing the close-grip soccer bar bench press are that you just in all probability gained’t be capable of press as a lot weight as you’d utilizing a daily barbell, and lots of gyms don’t have them.

Diamond Push-up

The diamond push-up is a push-up variation the place you deliver your arms shut collectively below your chest to type a diamond form together with your thumbs and forefingers. 

Analysis reveals that doing push-ups together with your arms shut collectively emphasizes your triceps over your pecs in an identical method to the close-grip bench press. This makes the  diamond push-up among the best body weight workout routines for coaching your triceps when you don’t have entry to a gymnasium.

The draw back of the diamond push-up, nonetheless, is that you just’re restricted to utilizing your physique weight, which severely limits the power and muscle constructing potential of the train. (And as talked about earlier, though you possibly can add resistance with a backpack, rucksack, or bands, this rapidly turns into awkward).

FAQ #1: Is the close-grip bench press essential?

Whereas no single train is completely important for gaining muscle and power, some workout routines may help you attain power and physique targets extra effectively.

The close-grip bench press is a very good train when you targets are so as to add triceps mass, construct your higher chest, or improve your bench and overhead press one-rep maxes.

It’s additionally substitute for the standard bench press when you discover it uncomfortable.

FAQ #2: Is wide-grip higher for the chest?


For each research that reveals urgent with a wider grip emphasizes the pecs, there’s one other that reveals it makes no vital distinction.

One factor research have proven, nonetheless, is that growing your grip width past 150% of shoulder width will increase your probability of getting injured. Thus, I don’t assume the potential advantages of wide-grip urgent are sufficient to warrant the dangers, which is why I don’t wide-grip bench press and don’t embody the train in my packages for males and girls.

As a substitute, I like to recommend you utilize a slightly-wider than shoulder-width grip whereas bench urgent and a shoulder-width or barely narrower grip when close-grip bench urgent.

FAQ #3: What is an efficient weight for the close-grip bench?

It’s unattainable to say what a “good” weight is for the close-grip bench press as a result of the reply is determined by how a lot you weigh, your expertise degree, and whether or not you’re a person or a girl. (Heavier, extra skilled males can usually close-grip bench press rather more than lighter, much less skilled girls). 

That stated, most individuals will be capable of close-grip bench press round 80% of the load they usually use for the barbell bench press. 

For instance, in case your barbell bench press one-rep max is 200 kilos, you must be capable of close-grip bench press about 160 kilos. In case your close-grip bench press is considerably lower than this, it’s in all probability an indication that your triceps are underdeveloped.

If you happen to’re new to the close-grip bench press and uncertain about how a lot weight you must use, determine your beginning weights the identical approach you’d for another train: 

  1. Load the bar with a weight that you just’re assured you possibly can press for about 10 reps
  2. Do as many reps as you possibly can till you’re feeling like you may solely full one other 2-to-3 reps with correct type, then rack the bar.
  3. If you happen to received greater than 6 reps, add 5 kilos to every aspect of the bar (10 kilos complete) and do one other set. Proceed till you get 4-to-6 reps for a single set after which write down the quantity. That is your new “working weight,” which you’ll use in your subsequent close-grip bench press exercise. 

+ Scientific References

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