Most lifters within the health club have carried out the traditional flat bench press to construct chest dimension and higher physique urgent energy. In relation to variations of this time-honored train, most lifters modify the angle to focus on the “higher chest” utilizing an incline press or concentrate on the “decrease pecs” with a decline bench.
Nonetheless, many individuals overlook a extremely efficient adjustment proper at their fingertips, actually. By shifting your hand place barely inward, you flip the chest-building flat bench press into the triceps-building close-grip bench press.
This adjustments the coaching stimulus and emphasizes the tricep muscle groups, will increase the motion’s vary of movement, and nonetheless builds critical higher physique urgent energy. Right here’s all the things that you must find out about getting began with this straightforward motion for dimension and energy.
The close-grip bench press biases the triceps muscle groups with particular train efficiency and an extended vary of movement. As its identify implies, the close-grip bench press requires your fingers to be nearer than throughout a normal bench press. This will increase the vary of movement and places your elbows by way of extra elbow flexion and extension, which emphasizes your triceps over your chest.
Step 1 — Set Up on the Bench
Lie down on a flat bench. Push your ft into the ground to slip your self up the bench till your eye are beneath the barbell. Pull your shoulders down and again. Place your fingers across the bar in a pronated (palm down) grip together with your fingers near shoulder-width aside. (1)
The fundamental approach ought to nearly an identical to your normal flat bench press setup. The first distinction is that your fingers ought to now be at the very least one fist-width (4 to 6 inches) nearer than the chest-focused train. That is important for recruiting extra triceps into the motion.
Type Tip: Whereas a comparatively shut grip is critical, taking an excessively shut grip might be counterproductive, creating extra joint pressure and fewer muscular stress. Some old style lifters imagine your thumbs ought to be capable to contact in the course of the close-grip bench press. That is inaccurate, impractical, and inefficient recommendation. Having your fingers roughly according to your shoulders will probably be efficient for almost all of lifters.
Step 2 — Unrack the Bar
Fill your stomach and chest with a deep breath and raise the bar from the help pins. Preserve full physique pressure out of your flat ft by way of your core to your shoulders.
With stiff arms, information the bar ahead till it’s over your shoulders. Preserve your shoulders pinched again to interact your higher again for help.
Type Tip: The bar ought to really feel balanced when it settles into the best place. In case you really feel such as you’re “preventing” an unstable weight above your physique, it’s both nonetheless too far above your face or too far towards your abs. Management the load and attain a robust, secure place earlier than decreasing the load.
Step 3 — Decrease the Bar
Decrease the bar towards your torso, preserving your elbows stacked beneath your wrists. This place retains your tricep beneath pressure, avoids compensation from the deltoids (shoulders), and minimizes pressure in your joints.
Preserve your elbows near your ribs. If they start to flare out to the perimeters, tuck them again in towards your physique. Convey the bar down as near your physique as your mobility permits, ideally reaching close to your sternum and decrease chest.
Type Tip: Don’t permit your wrists to bend again all through the rep. Preserve your knuckles going through the ceiling. It will maintain your wrists in a extra favorable, much less annoying place. It additionally helps to maintain your wrists stacked above your elbows, which is a extra highly effective urgent place than falling out of line.
Step 4 — Press to the Beginning Place
After reaching your most comfy depth, press the bar as much as its beginning place. Preserve your ft flat on the ground and really feel total-body engagement. Preserve a impartial wrist place above your elbows.
The bar ought to find yourself balanced instantly over your shoulders, in the identical place it was in after being unracked.
Type Tip: As a result of the target of the train is to problem the triceps, actively squeeze your triceps within the locked out place earlier than performing the following repetition.
There are a number of errors that may occur within the close-grip bench press as a result of this free weight train has many variables that have to be managed by the lifter.
In distinction, sure machine workouts can lock you into pre-determined positions that don’t provide as a lot positional alternative. In different phrases, manipulating a barbell requires extra focus and extra muscular management than the same machine motion. Right here’s what to be careful for throughout this train.
Elbows Flaring Out
That is most likely the commonest mistake individuals make when doing any triceps train. Your elbows should observe beneath your wrists to emphasise the lengthening of the muscle in the course of the eccentric, or decreasing part, of the repetition.
When your elbows flare out to the perimeters, your shoulders are extra strongly contracted, which reduces the load on the triceps.
Keep away from it: Use a gradual tempo when bringing the bar down towards your chest. Take three seconds to decrease the load and focus controlling your elbow angle. Preserve your elbows ahead towards your ft reasonably than out to the aspect. When you’ve practiced and really feel comfy, steadily enhance the bar pace to some extent wherein you’ll be able to management your elbow place all through the whole motion.
Gripping Too Slim or Too Vast
In case your grip is just too slim, your elbows will probably flare out excessively, forcing your deltoids to contribute extra to the motion. A too-narrow grip place also can contribute to inside rotation of the shoulder which, over time, could enhance the danger of harm to the supraspinatus muscle of the shoulder joint.
Nonetheless, a grip that’s too extensive might be simply as counterproductive, by lowering the demand on the triceps and growing chest recruitment. An in depth-grip bench press and not using a shut grip is a plain previous bench press.
Keep away from it: Analysis has proven that the optimum grip for a close-grip bench press is the the identical as the gap between the acromion (periphery) of your shoulder blades.(2) In the course of the setup part of the train, place your fingers shoulder-distance aside together with your wrists, elbows, and shoulders in a straight line. It will create a personalized grip as everybody has a singular shoulder width, reasonably than telling each lifter in each health club to arbitrarily set their fingers 18 inches aside, for instance.
Inefficient Bar Path
You will need to do not forget that the bar path within the bench press shouldn’t be a strictly vertical line. The bar begins over your shoulders and can journey down and barely ahead because it’s lowered, in a slight arc-like path.
In comparison with the usual bench press, the close-grip bench press has an elevated vary of movement and can due to this fact have a special touch-point on the physique and a special bar path than the usual bench press.
You will need to do not forget that the bar will contact decrease in your chest in a close-grip bench than a normal bench press. In case you try to make use of the identical touch-point for each actions, it is going to result in extreme elbow flare to compensate for the inefficient movement.
Keep away from it: Purpose for the bar to the touch across the narrowing level of the underside of your sternum — the xiphoid course of. Nonetheless, the precise spot will differ barely from individual to individual primarily based on their arm size, ribcage dimension, and total physique place.
As a primary barbell train, the close-grip bench press might be tailored to swimsuit a variety of lifters’ capabilities with progressively heavier weights. Nonetheless, if people can’t but handle a full vary of movement with the barbell, there are a number of choices to assist obtain the train.
Shut-Grip Flooring Press
The ground press variation reinforces the identical close-grip setup and basic bar path with a decreased vary of movement. Whereas one good thing about the close-grip bench press (carried out on a flat bench) is a comparatively lengthy vary of movement, this flooring press variation eliminates the decrease portion of the train. This reduces shoulder pressure whereas sustaining muscular stress on the triceps.
The close-grip flooring press lets you turn into accustomed to the grip width and hand place, and encourages correct type whereas staying tight and controlling the motion. Don’t permit your elbows to relaxation on the bottom.
Paused Shut-Grip Bench Press
By incorporating a deliberate, lengthy pause on the backside and high of every repetition, you reinforce correct mechanics all through the motion. Pause within the backside, stretched place of each rep for 2 seconds. It’s essential that you just preserve pressure and don’t loosen up with the bar resting in your chest. Your muscle groups ought to be tight and engaged for the period.
Press usually and maintain the locked out place for 2 seconds. Once more, don’t deal with the pause as a chance for relaxation. Grip the bar exhausting, flex your triceps, and have interaction your core earlier than decreasing the load once more.
The close-grip bench press has a number of advantages, from efficiency to aesthetics and even longevity in barbell coaching. Right here’s why it’s best to incorporate this convenient motion.
Energy and Efficiency
For powerlifters or gym-goers trying to enhance their max bench press, the close-grip bench press has particular advantages with direct carryover to your bench. In case you battle particularly at lockout, you probably want to enhance your triceps energy.
The close-grip bench press primarily challenges the triceps, resulting in better urgent energy.(3) This easy train variation could possibly be what’s lacking out of your coaching routine to push by way of your sticking level and attain a brand new bench press PR.
Muscle-Constructing and Aesthetics
Filling out the sleeves of a shirt isn’t a foul thought. Whereas triceps dips and pushdowns problem the lateral head of the triceps particularly, the close-grip bench press considerably recruits the medial and lateral head, resulting in extra well-rounded muscular improvement.
This compound (multi-joint) motion additionally has an elevated impact on muscle hypertrophy as a result of it lets you use comparatively heavy weights, which might be helpful for exciting development.(4)
Joint Well being
In case you persistently practice utilizing a restricted vary of movement for any muscle or train, you’ll be able to develop energy in that vary. Nonetheless, this will additionally create a better threat for strains and tears when these muscle groups are put by way of a better vary of movement with “absolutely lengthened” or “absolutely shortened” positions. (5)
The close-grip bench press does problem a better vary of movement than the usual grip because of the positioning of the fingers on the bar. The shoulder joints are labored by way of an extended distance. It will stress the triceps within the lengthened ranges, making them extra sturdy and comparatively much less liable to harm.
The close-grip bench press is mostly identified for difficult the triceps muscle groups, nonetheless there are extra muscle groups concerned than it’s possible you’ll suppose.
Pectorals Main and Minor
The pectoralis main and pectoralis minor are your chest muscle groups and, whereas they don’t seem to be the key contributors to the close-grip bench press, they do play an vital position within the motion. Throughout each the concentric (lifting) and eccentric (decreasing) phases, each the pec main and minor are recruited to raise the load and push your arms upward.
Your shoulder is comprised of three separate heads — the entrance (anterior), aspect (lateral), and rear (posterior). Every helps to boost the arm in its respective course out of your physique’s midline. The anterior deltoid, particularly, contributes to elevating and decreasing your higher arm in the course of the close-grip bench press.
Nonetheless, remember that in case your anterior deltoid is fatiguing earlier than different muscle groups teams in the course of the train, your elbows are probably flaring an excessive amount of. Adjusting your grip and/or bar path ought to guarantee most focus in your triceps.
Your triceps make up nearly all of your higher arm, relative to your biceps. The triceps muscle consists of three heads — the lateral, medial, and lengthy head — and collectively their predominant motion is to increase the arm from a bent elbow place to full to elbow extension. The triceps contraction is emphasised within the lockout of the train the place the triceps are extra strongly recruited.
When programming the close-grip bench press, the primary consideration must be your objective. The simplest strategy will probably be decided by what you need to obtain with the motion and the way it suits into your total coaching plan.
To prioritize strength-building, reps should be stored in a comparatively decrease vary whereas working with greater percentages of your one-repetition max (1RM). Prepare with two to 6 units of 1 to 5 reps, utilizing 80 to 95% of 1RM.
The quantity of units can differ primarily based in your expertise, conditioning, and talents. Extra shouldn’t be all the time higher for those who can’t deal with it. No matter your whole coaching quantity, concentrate on utilizing a quick bar pace and absolutely locking out every repetition.
Utilizing reasonable to excessive units with reasonable to greater reps will present a better hypertrophy adaptation. For muscle development to happen, the muscle wants stimulus, quantity, and fatigue.(6) Work with three to 6 units eight to twenty repetitions, utilizing of 55-65% of 1RM.
The objective is to achieve muscular fatigue on the finish of every set. In case you’re performing extra triceps-focused workouts in the identical exercise, use fewer units and reps. If the close-grip bench press is your main triceps train, give it the upper finish of the workload.
Past the close-grip bench press itself, there are some variations you’ll be able to implement for comparable advantages of hypertrophy and enhancing your urgent energy.
Banded Shut-Grip Bench Press
To extend urgent energy and/or enhance your lockout capability, including resistance bands of varied pressure to the close-grip bench press will problem higher vary of movement. Resistance bands provide accommodating resistance — they get tougher as they’re stretched farther and provide comparatively much less resistance earlier than they’re maximally stretched.
The biomechanics of the bench press, the lockout place requires much less power and advantages from a leverage benefit. As your elbows turn into extra prolonged, the load feels “lighter.” Bands require you to use most pressure as resistance will increase towards the highest place, forcing a stronger contraction. Because the bar travels upward, band pressure will increase on the lockout. This forces you to consciously produce extra energy and drive exhausting to realize lockout.
This is a wonderful variation for hypertrophy objectives. Utilizing any machine that mimics the same arrange because the close-grip bench offers you extra choices for hypertrophy. The design of machines permits lifters to effectively incorporate a wide range of high-intensity strategies for elevated coaching stimulus.
Choices corresponding to corresponding to drop units, partial reps, and even compelled reps with a coaching companion permit for better variations in your exercises. That is additionally a safer choice than coaching past muscular fatigue with the close-grip bench press.
This triceps-focused push-up variation is a pleasant complement to any coaching program, as a main train or as a muscle-exhausting ending motion. Since your fingers are nearer collectively, just like the close-grip bench press, the vary of movement is larger than a normal push-up, thus making it tougher.
In case you can’t carry out a full vary of movement rep out of your toes, you go for modified variations corresponding to a close-grip inclined push-up (together with your fingers elevated on a bench) or a kneeling close-grip push up.
Why does the close-grip bench press harm my shoulder?
There could possibly be a number of components at work, however most individuals’s shoulders harm because of an absence of stability within the higher again. This requires a greater concentrate on scapular retraction and despair — pulling your shoulder blades collectively and down.
In the course of the train, ensure that to squeeze your shoulder blades again towards your backbone and “tuck” them down towards your again pockets. This stabilizes your complete shoulder girdle to help the load. If it’s finished incorrectly, or under no circumstances, your anterior deltoid is extra strongly activated as your shoulder goes into protraction (reaching ahead) and elevation (shrugging as much as your ears).
Quite a lot of higher again strengthening workouts and mobility drills can assist, together with drilling correct urgent approach and cueing your higher again stabilizers earlier than unracking the bar.
What various can I do if I don’t have a bench?
Any train that challenges your higher physique urgent muscle groups in a supine place might be an efficient various. In case you don’t have a bench however can lie on the ground, it is a nice various. A dumbbell or barbell flooring press is a good train each time a bench is unavailable. The concentrate on the higher half of the vary of movement additional emphasizes triceps recruitment.
Most industrial gyms have steps, bins, and risers that can be utilized as modified bench. Ideally, you need the improvised bench to be the identical peak as a normal one. Place a yoga mat on high of the step or field to scale back the danger of your torso slipping off.
Get a Grip on Your Bench
The close-grip bench press might be carried out both as an help train to spice up your traditional bench press or it may be approached as a predominant motion by itself to develop a stronger higher physique. The added arm dimension is an incidental bonus. Apply this straightforward grip adjustment to a time-tested motion and also you’ll quickly welcome new ranges of dimension and energy.
- Lockie, Robert & Moreno, Matthew. (2017). The Shut-Grip Bench Press. Energy and Conditioning Journal. 39. 1. 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000307.
Larsen, S., Gomo, O., & van den Tillaar, R. (2021). A Biomechanical Evaluation of Vast, Medium, and Slim Grip Width Results on Kinematics, Horizontal Kinetics, and Muscle Exercise on the Sticking Area in Recreationally Educated Males Throughout 1-RM Bench Urgent. Frontiers in sports activities and energetic residing, 2, 637066. https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2020.637066
Saeterbakken, A. H., Stien, N., Pedersen, H., Solstad, T., Cumming, Ok. T., & Andersen, V. (2021). The Impact of Grip Width on Muscle Energy and Electromyographic Exercise in Bench Press amongst Novice- and Resistance-Educated Males. Worldwide journal of environmental analysis and public well being, 18(12), 6444. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126444
- Brandão, Lucas & Painelli, Vitor & Lasevicius, Thiago & Silva-Batista, Carla & Brendon, Helderson & Schoenfeld, Brad & Aihara, Andre & Cardoso, Fabiano & Peres, Bergson & Teixeira, Emerson. (2020). Various the Order of Combos of Single- and Multi-Joint Workout routines Differentially Impacts Resistance Coaching Variations. Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis. 34. 1. 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003550.
Valamatos, M. J., Tavares, F., Santos, R. M., Veloso, A. P., & Mil-Homens, P. (2018). Affect of full vary of movement vs. equalized partial vary of movement coaching on muscle structure and mechanical properties. European journal of utilized physiology, 118(9), 1969–1983. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-3932-x
Mangine, G. T., Hoffman, J. R., Gonzalez, A. M., Townsend, J. R., Wells, A. J., Jajtner, A. R., Beyer, Ok. S., Boone, C. H., Miramonti, A. A., Wang, R., LaMonica, M. B., Fukuda, D. H., Ratamess, N. A., & Stout, J. R. (2015). The impact of coaching quantity and depth on enhancements in muscular energy and dimension in resistance-trained males. Physiological studies, 3(8), e12472. https://doi.org/10.14814/phy2.12472
Featured Picture: Daniel Krason / Shutterstock