HomeExercise LibraryHow To: Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press

How To: Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press

Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press
The dumbbell close grip bench press is merely a slight variation in hand placement when compared to the regular dumbbell 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: Dumbbells & Bench

Optional: N/A

Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press:

Lay down on a flat bench and hold a pair of dumbbells together with a neutral grip (palms facing towards each other).

Lower the dumbbells down until they touch your lower chest.

Flex the triceps, keep your elbows tucked in and raise the dumbbells back up until your arms are fully extended.

Repeat for the desired number of repetition.

Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press Variations

Pause Rep Close Grip Dumbbell 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.

See also
How To: Bent Over Two Dumbbell Row

Unilateral Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press

Perform the dumbbell close grip bench press with one dumbbell at a time, this will increase core engagement and ensure you're not pushing the dumbbells together to overcompensate for a weaker or lacking side.

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Common Dumbbell 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.

See also
How To: Dumbbell Shrug

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 

  • Barbell Close Grip Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Overhead Extension
  • Triceps Dips

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

Scott J.
Scott J.
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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