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How To: Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

The barbell close grip bench press is merely a slight variation in hand placement when compared to the regular bench press, however this change is enough to fully engage the triceps and promote some serious size and strength gains.

The tension we’re able to place on our triceps via the close grip press is unable to be replicated by smaller isolation exercises like the kickback, making the close grip bench press one of the top few exercises for demolishing your triceps.

Looking to add the close grip bench to your workout routine? I recommend performing it as either the first or second exercise in your arm regime.

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Triceps

Required: Barbell & Bench

Optional: Spotter


Barbell Close Grip Bench Press:

Lay on a flat bench and unrack your barbell with a shoulder width grip.

Lower the barbell to the middle of your chest, ensuring your elbows are tucked in to your side for the entire movement (flaring and widening your grip will bring in too much chest activation).

Pause at the bottom of the movement for a second.

Flex your triceps as you drive the barbell back up until your arms are fully extended.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press Variations

Pause Rep Close Grip Bench Press

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.
Pause reps on the bench press are fantastic for building explosive power in the chest and triceps.

Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press

No spotter? No worries.
The dumbbell close grip bench press is the variation for you! Load up two dumbbells with palms facing towards each other and proceed to lower them to the bottom of your chest.
Pause for one second before powering the weights back up.

Here’s The Barbell I Use & Recommend…

I’ve been using one of these ‘The Beast” 7 foot olympic barbells in my home garage gym for the last 6 years, it’s affordable, high quality and gets the job done regardless of how many 45lb plates are loaded on it.
Check it out and invest in a high quality “The Beast” barbell here.

Common Barbell Close Grip Bench Press Mistakes

Utilizing A Partial Range Of Motion

There’s no reason to work in a small range of motion on your close grip bench press, opt to lower the bar ALL the way down to your chest before driving through the triceps until they’re locked out at the top of the movement.
Partial range of motion = partial triceps activation.

Flaring Your Elbows Out

When performing any triceps exercise, whether it be a dumbbell overhead triceps extension or a rope pushdown it’s imperative you keep your elbows tucked in by your sides.
Flaring your elbows outwards is often a sign that the weight is too heavy (as you’re trying to muscle the shoulders in to assist with moving the weight).
Flaring the elbows on triceps exercise places your shoulders at a high risk of injury not to mention you’re only going to applying a small amount of tension to the triceps as the shoulders are trying to take over and lift the weight.

If you find yourself constantly flaring your elbows lower the weight and consciously practise tucking your elbows in to your side on each repetition until it becomes natural.

Lifting Too Light

If you don’t generally train in the lower rep range I recommend you give it a try, stop lifting in the 10 – 15 rep range for at least a month and focus on heavy, low rep sets. Once you start to see results you won’t want to go back.

Now, you may still think high reps are beneficial, but let me tell you they’re far from it.

High repetitions result in increased stress on your CNS, increase in localized inflammation and increased soreness.

“Movements or exercises that do not give the muscle the required resistance, but are the kind that involve a great number of repetitions, never break down any tissue, to speak of. These movements involve a forcing process that cause the blood to swell up the muscle, and simply pump them up”– George F. Jowett, 1926

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

    Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press
  • Triceps Dips
  • Dumbbell Skull Crusher
  • Barbell Skull Crusher

Any Questions Regarding The Barbell Close Grip Bench Press? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.https://ignorelimits.com
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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