How to do a Close Grip Bench Press – Proper Form and Benefits

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.

The close-grip bench press is a great workout for developing the triceps’ strength and growth as well as the chest.

This version of the standard bench press adds diversity to upper body and pushing-type muscle training by requiring a narrower grip than is generally utilized.

It’s an excellent supplement to any sports-specific training regimen for athletes who must do close-push movements typical of sports like football, basketball, or rugby.

This straightforward motion can greatly enhance an athlete’s performance with time and effort.

The close grip bench press is a useful workout for people of all fitness levels who want to increase upper-body strength.

The strain in some muscles and joint stress are transferred with a little narrower grip than standard pressing, which is better suited to smaller frames and physiques that are more prone to damage.

Plus, it’s simple to modify so that lifters with shoulder issues may still perform the workouts without endangering the joint.

Any fitness level can benefit from a tight grip press with a few minor form and motion adjustments.

How to do a Close Grip Bench Press - Proper Form and Benefits

How to Perform A Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is a great exercise to up your upper body game.

If you do this during your workouts, it will help you build bigger and stronger chest, shoulder, and triceps muscles.

To get the most out of this movement, you’ll want to use either a flat bench station or a combination of flat bench and power rack.

This way, you can focus on stabilizing yourself while still pushing yourself to do higher repetitions or heavier weight if desired.

Step by Step Guide How to do a Close Grip Bench Press:

Step 1: Place the barbell on the rack in the proper position. If necessary, a spotter should be able to help you grasp the bar and lift it off the rack.

Step 2: Depending on your degree of fitness, load the barbell with the desired amount of weight.

Step 3: To perform a close grip bench press, lie flat on a bench and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the bar.

Step 4: Inhale deeply, then lift the bar off the rack, maybe with help from the spotter, maintaining your arms straight and locked the entire time.

Step 5: After raising the barbell, softly inhale as you lower it toward your chest. Throughout the entire action of this exercise, keep your elbows close to your torso.

Step 6: To ensure good form is used throughout this exercise, exhale as you push up against gravity using primarily your triceps and locking both arms at the peak of each repetition.

Step 7: Perform this exercise as often as necessary or desired to get a good workout, and then, when finished, return the barbell to the rack.

What Muscles Does The Close Grip Bench Press Work?

The close grip bench press is an exercise that should not be overlooked when it comes to building upper body strength.

Not only does it target the chest and shoulders, but perhaps even more importantly, it specifically hits the triceps muscles.

As a compound exercise, this move can be incorporated into any upper body workout program meaning you don’t have to alter your existing routine too much if you’d like to add some variety.

This exercise, when done with proper form, is a powerhouse for hitting the triceps and upper chest.

Extensive studies have shown that it has the highest electromyography (EMG) rating of all exercises for these muscle groups.

Doing this exercise with correct form not only allows you to get better results, but also minimizes risk of injury in the workout process.

Whether you’re a beginner or advanced lifter, proper form is essential for reaping the full benefits of this exercise and maximizing your gains.

Close Grip Bench Press Benefits

The close grip bench press is a great exercise for people who want to build their triceps muscles and boost their upper body pushing strength.

The tight grip press enables greater lift loads and the best strength increases because the chest and shoulders aid in the movement.

Because of this, it is a particularly alluring workout for athletes who wish to develop their triceps to the fullest.

In order to further improve their overall fitness capabilities, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and gym aficionados all frequently use this form of press.

The close grip bench press is a hugely beneficial exercise for lifters to integrate into their overall bodybuilding routine.

Not only does this exercise increase muscle strength and muscle gains, but also improves muscle function and symmetry across the entire body, creating improved overall balance between muscles.

Furthermore, the close grip bench press reduces shoulder strain while lifting heavy weights, meaning that lifters can successfully touch deeper levels of intensity by increasing their weight during the exercise.

This helps to unlock further potential muscular growth, which can be pivotal in reaching any desired physique goals.n.

Variations of Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is the perfect exercise for users of all fitness levels, as weights can be adjusted to suit the user.

For optimal safety, it is always recommended that a spotter or smith machine be used for this exercise.

This allows for maximum resistance without any risk and enables users to experience various levels of challenges

Use an EZ Bar

The EZ bar is an innovative piece of strength training equipment that provides all the benefits of a traditional bar, but with added benefits such as a shorter length and zig-zag grip section.

This unique shape allows users to find more ergonomic positioning for their hands and wrists during workouts, making it a great way to reduce pressure on joints while still engage in effective conditioning exercises.

By providing more comfortable gripping options, the EZ bar encourages users to push themselves further than they may have thought possible, ensuring a more satisfying and productive overall experience.

Use Dumbbells

If strength training with barbells is new to you, it might be best to begin your fitness journey with a pair of dumbbells.

Dumbbells can help provide targeted support for each muscle group, improving form and helping avoid injury from incorrect posture or motions.

On top of that, they offer more control and help emphasize the individual arms more.

Up the Resistance

As your strength grows and you feel ready for a greater challenge, always be sure to increase the weight resistance appropriately in order to execute the exercise correctly and safely.

This is important in order to prevent any potential injuries. Additionally, increasing the number of repetitions per set as well as pushing the close grip bench press to muscle failure helps maximize its effectiveness.

However, be sure to find a load that matches your level of fitness, so you know that it’s achievable enough and safe at the same time.

Common Close Grip Bench Press Mistakes

Setting a grip width that is too close for the close grip bench press can have multiple negative effects.

Not only can it cause users to flare the elbows out to their sides, but it can also cause them to fail to retract their shoulder blades properly.

This lack of form may even result in users lifting their butt off the bench during the lift, which detracts from proper musculature recruitment and increases risk of injury.

As such, when taking on this exercise, one must ensure they are using an appropriate grip width so as to avoid these common mistakes and achieve proper form.

Safety Precautions when Performing a Close Grip Bench Press

The close-grip bench press is a useful exercise for triceps muscle development, but it must be performed properly to ensure safety and maximize the benefits of your training.

It is advised that you execute this exercise with either a spotter or a Smith machine to lessen the chance of injury.

For appropriate hand placement and best performance, it’s also crucial to keep your elbows close to your torso throughout the action. Keep your hands on the bar around shoulder width apart.

You should enjoy a successful and injury-free workout if you follow these safety guidelines.

It’s critical to safeguard your safety when exercising with a barbell by using specific procedures.

Avoid bouncing the bar off your chest; doing so puts you at risk for injury. Instead, make sure to walk slowly and deliberately from beginning to end while only employing a weight resistance that is appropriate for your level of fitness.

Maintaining your hips on the bench aids in maintaining balance and eases hip joint stress. In order to prevent the risk of losing the bar in the middle of an exercise, it is also crucial to grasp the bar with a full standard grip (wrapping thumbs and fingers around the bar).

For your own safety, stop the exercise as soon as you feel any pain in your shoulders or wrists.

FAQs about the close grip bench press

Close Grip Bench: Will It Help Regular Bench?

Strengthening your triceps muscles is essential to your bench press success. The close-grip bench press will provide the push you need for greater gains on your regular bench press exercises.

Your triceps pulling duties are a key component of all bench presses and cannot be ignored, as they directly affect the intensity of your workouts.

With a more robust triceps set up, you won’t need to fear stalling or feeling weakened during intense training sessions.

Should You Arc When Bench Pressing With a Close Grip?

Maintaining a slight arch in your middle back while doing exercises can be beneficial for your form and help to avoid any potential injuries.

This helps to ensure that your shoulder blades are kept retracted, which is especially important when bench pressing or working out with any type of free weights.


The close grip bench press is an incredibly effective exercise for building strong triceps and improving pressing strength.

It can be easily added to any training routine; simply incorporate the exercise into your workout template on lower body days and you’re good to go!

Most important is to ensure that safety remains at the foremost of your mind maintain a strict form, use a weight appropriate for your experience level and always warm up properly before starting.

All in all, the close grip bench press is a wonderful option for curbing fatigue from barbell movements, adding functional strength and athleticism, and keeping variety within your training regimen.

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