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Close Grip Bench Press: How To, Common Mistakes + FAQ

Close Grip Bench Press For Triceps ExerciseMany people think that the bench press is only meant to train your chest. However, the close grip bench press variant focuses more on your triceps. This variation of the popular exercise is a very effective exercise for building strength and mass in your triceps.

On this page, you will find an explanation about the execution of the exercise and the mistakes that are often made. In addition, we end all information with a few frequently asked questions about the close grip bench press.

Which muscles do you train with it?

We have already revealed the answer to this question in the introduction; you mainly train your triceps with this exercise. The width in which you place your arms plays a major role in how much your triceps are used in the close grip bench press.

In addition to your triceps, it is also inevitable that your chest muscles will be used during the exercise. Even though this won't be the main goal for you to perform the exercise, your chest can actually start to sour if you do a lot of repetitions.

Your shoulders are also used during the exercise. Especially with the hands in a fairly narrow position, you will notice that there can be more pressure on your shoulders than, for example, with the regular bench press.

Close Grip Bench Press For Triceps Exercise

It is therefore very important that you keep a close eye on your form. Therefore, read the explanation below about how to perform the close grip bench press to make sure you know how to perform the exercise.

Implementation of the close grip bench press

Below you will find a handy step-by-step explanation about the close grip bench press. Take this slowly and step by step before you start the exercise. Then also read the common mistakes, to prevent these mistakes from creeping in on you and you do not perform the exercise correctly.

  1. Lie on a bench under a barbell

    You can just use the regular bench for this, where you also do the standard bench press. Yes, lie down and make sure the bar is slightly higher than with the normal bench press because you will grip the bar more narrowly.

  2. Grab the bar fairly narrow

    How narrow a close grip bench press should be varied from person to person. For example, you can choose to just touch the ring on the bar with your little finger. This is probably narrower than what you normally do with bench presses, but wide enough not to strain your wrists too much.

  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together

    Your shoulder blades should be pushed in. Picture it as if you want to push both shoulder blades together. In this way, you also automatically move the shoulders back, so that there will be less pressure on them. Once you have this you can lift the bar out of the rack.

  4. Now lower the barbell in a controlled manner

    Slowly move the bar down. When lowering, make sure your elbows stay close to your body, but not so close that there is no space between your elbows and your torso. Try to keep the arms about 30 degrees from the body. Move the bar all the way down until you can touch the chest.

  5. Move the barbell back up in a controlled manner

    As soon as you have tapped the chest, the barbell can rise again. Also do this controlled, so that you really feel the tension in your triceps. Push all the way through until you are back in the starting position.

  6. Repeat as many times as desired

    Now you've done one full rep. You can then repeat this as often as you want or as often as described in your schedule, for example.

Most common mistakes

Of course, mistakes are regularly made with the implementation of the close grip bench press. Below you can read the most common mistakes for this exercise. Prevent yourself from making such mistakes and read the list below carefully. This way you prevent incorrect execution and possible injuries, but you also ensure the best possible result from the exercise.

  1. Hands not narrow enough around the bar
    What often happens when doing a close grip bench press is that the hands are not placed narrow enough around the barbell. This ensures that the chest muscles will take over part of the work of the triceps. As a result, you will push less from your triceps and train them less efficiently. So always make sure that your hands are not too wide.
  2. Hands too narrow around the bar
    The opposite of the error described above is that the hands are placed too close together. It is possible that this creates a lot of pressure on the wrists, which can be experienced as very unpleasant and can even cause wrist injuries. So make sure that your hands are not placed too close together.
  3. Shoulder
    blades not inward The last common mistake is that the shoulder blades are not pushed inward enough. As a result, the shoulders come forward too much and they also take over part of the weight. To avoid putting too much strain on the shoulders (and too little on the triceps), make sure you don't try to make this mistake.

Making Close Grip Bench Press More Challenging

Would you like to make the regular close grip bench press a bit more challenging? Then you can, for example, choose to attach an elastic to the barbell. This will make the last part of the exercise harder because the elastic will then be at maximum tension. This way you learn even more focus on that last part that your triceps have to work so hard for.

You can also attach chains to the ends of the barbell, for example. These hang on the floor and the higher you push the barbell up, the more these chains come off the ground. So more and more weight is added during the upward movement. That too is a good way to stimulate the triceps even more while doing a close grip bench press.

Frequently asked questions about close grip bench press

We round off this information with some frequently asked questions about the exercise. Do you still have questions after reading this and it is not described on this page? Let us know and maybe your question will be featured in our article.

Is close grip bench press a compound exercise?

Yes, the close grip bench press is a compound exercise that focuses on the triceps. Because especially the chest, but also the shoulder muscles are trained during the performance, the exercise is seen as a compound movement.

Is the close grip bench press the best triceps exercise?

Whether an exercise is the best will be very personal. What is pleasant for one person and works well for another may be the opposite. One thing is certain: if you can perform the close grip bench press correctly, it is a great exercise for your triceps.

What are good alternatives to the close grip bench press?

If you are looking for alternatives, it is best to take a look at our overview of all triceps exercises. Here you will find suitable alternatives that you can perform in almost all gyms. Think of popular triceps exercises, such as triceps dips or the triceps pushdown.

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