Gym Shorts: Close Grip Bench Press

New to the close grip bench press or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

How to Close Grip Bench Press

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises. Here we demonstrate the close grip bench press.

Follow these steps:

  • Safety:
    • Properly set the safeties & use a spotter when possible
    • Don’t put collars on the bar
    • Unrack & rack the bar with straight arms
  • Set Up
    • Thumbs around the bar with the inside of your hands at or just outside the knurling
    • Chest up & shoulders back
    • Gaze at the ceiling & have your feet flat on the floor
  • Movement
    • Move the bar out over your shoulders
    • Take a big breath
    • Touch the bar at the base of your sternum or the top of your arch
    • Move the bar between the top position and the bottom position in a straight line on both the ascent and the descent

This is a variation on the bench press that emphasizes the triceps more than a wide grip or standard bench press. It is often one of the first pressing supplemental lifts that are added to a program, as the mechanics are extremely similar to the normal bench press & the additional stress for the triceps helps both the bench press and press.

Because of the narrower grip, the touch point on the torso will be lower than for a normal bench press.

The close grip bench press provides more pressing stress and is often done for higher reps (6-12). It can also be done at higher intensities for lower reps.

One additional benefit or use of the close grip bench press is that it eliminates some of the stress put on the shoulders, so it can be used if someone is experiencing shoulder pain without having to switch over to a football bar or other bench press variant.

The close grip bench press is often added to an intermediate’s programming, as the lifter requires more stress than the intensity & volume slots for press and bench press. This is usually done after the intensity and volume slots for the press and bench press on a 4-day split, and can be added after an upper body pulling accessory, such as lat pull downs, rows, chin ups, or pull ups, or before.

Click HERE to learn more about the best bench press variations, and HERE to learn about the muscles worked in the bench press.




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