That's going to prevent you from focusing on your triceps. Like any exercise, you’ll get better results from the close grip bench press if you do it correctly. When performing the close grip bench press your wrists should be directly above your elbows. The close grip bench press is an excellent way to strengthen and improve the muscle mass of your triceps. If you try to lower to your chest, you'll place unnecessary mechanical stress on your elbows and wrists. The close grip bench press should really be called the close grip tricep press. Eventually, it'll limit your ability to really add weight to the move. If we look at a ten-week bench press study, we see that the standard bench press only stimulates about half as much triceps growth as the triceps extension: Why isn’t the bench press stimulating more triceps growth? Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. How To Do The Close-Grip Bench Press. The close grip, or narrow grip, bench press effectively works the inner pectoral muscles, shoulders and mainly the triceps muscles. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, You're Probably Doing Dumbbell Rows Wrong, How to Do the Kettlebell Front Rack the Right Way, How to Use Drop Sets to Build More Muscle. The close-grip bench press is an assistance lift for the bench press that puts more emphasis on the shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. From a supine position (lying on a bench), the barbell is lifted off the rack … That means that if we want to increase our maximal bench press strength, it can really help to use assistance lifts that target the front delts and shorter heads of the triceps. The close-grip bench press challenges both our front delts and upper chests in a fully stretched position, which is amazing for stimulating muscle growth. Starting Position. Pause Rep Close Grip Dumbbell Press. The close-grip bench press is a compound upper body pushing lift that’s often used as an assistance lift for the barbell bench press or overhead press. The close grip bench press is a superior movement when we’re talking about exercises that will pack mass onto your triceps. The closer your hands are together, the further you have to move the bar to lock it out and complete a rep. It doesn’t target the heads of our triceps equally, it’s just as good for bulking up our shoulders, and it’s one of the best exercises for our upper chests. Use a spotter . But if you’re trying to build bigger triceps, use skull crushers instead—it also works the long heads of the triceps, which are not only quite a bit bigger, but also the area of your triceps that’s mostly likely to be lagging behind. So, when and why should you do the close-grip bench press? This exercises also increases upper body pushing strength. This makes the close-grip bench press one of the very best lifts for building bigger shoulders. You'll often see people grip the bar with their hands nearly touching each other, but you don't need to go nearly that narrow. What Muscles Does the Close-Grip Bench Press Work? (It's also biasing your shoulders into external rotation, another plus!) Eb says: The most misunderstood thing about the close-grip press is the closeness of the grip. The close-grip bench press is mainly used for gaining strength, but it can also be quite good for building muscle mass. After that, we'll keep you updated on the most important muscle-building research, lifting methods, and workout routines. We’d call that something else. The exercise is very easy to do and you will perform it perfectly if you adhere to the instructions on doing the … The front deltoids are involved in the close grip bench. Or, if you’re still skinny, try our Bony to Beastly (men’s) program or Bony to Bombshell (women’s) program. The close-grip bench press isn’t exactly an advanced version of the barbell bench press, but it’s certainly a more specialized variation. ; Plant feet flat on the floor, spaced comfortably apart. Hypertrophy Training Volume: How Many Sets to Build Muscle? Marco Walker-Ng is the co-founder and strength coach of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, and is a certified trainer (PTS) with a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences (BHSc) from the University of Ottawa. Close-Grip Bench Press. Which actually encompasses all of the distinct muscles in your triceps. If someone wants to do it, more power to them—I know Greg Nuckols is a huge fan of them—but we don’t tend to recommend them. If you want a customizable workout program (and full guide) that builds these principles in, check out our Outlift Intermediate Bulking Program. Don't. In conclusion, the narrow-grip bench press works best for strengthening the upper arms while producing less strain on the shoulders than other grip variations. It becomes less of a fly, you could say. Think about lowering the weight so your arms form an "L" at the bottom. It’s not ideal for building bigger triceps, though, since it doesn’t challenge the long heads. We may earn a commission through links on our site. While bench presses are usually associated with the pectoral muscles, moving the hands close together shifts the focus to the triceps. The close grip bench press is a core training staple that can build size and strength in your triceps and chest—but are you sure you're even doing the exercise correctly? Lie down on the bench with eyes below the bar. Close Grip Bench Press Instructions. You're also staying in a position that forces your triceps to drive the motion. The reverse-grip bench is good for the upper chest for sure, and muscle growth in general. Our lifting newsletter for men—16,001 readers and climbing. Men's Health participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. The close-grip bench press is an assistance lift for the bench press done with a narrower grip. First, it’s more demanding on our triceps, which should make it a great lift for bulking up the short heads of our triceps. A close-grip bench press is any grip that is shoulder-width or closer. The close-grip bench press is a popular exercise targeting the triceps and chest. Before you slide onto the bench, grip the bar close, and get ready to press, take note that it's extremely important to pay attention to the subtleties of the movement here. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. If you are going to work out at a high-intensity level you need to be using a spotter. Once you set up with the bar, focus on rotating your elbows so they face downward, toward your legs. Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and grip the barbell with your hands around shoulder-width apart. A regular bench press grip takes advantage of how big and strong your mid and lower chest is, and it balances demands between your chest, shoulders, and triceps, allowing you to lift more weight. That may, speculatively, make it better than the incline bench press for bulking up your shoulders and upper chest. Common close grip bench press mistakes you need to avoid. Note: Pictures coming soon! This will do two things: It'll turn on your lats to help you lower the weight correctly (more on that below), and it'll also start to turn on your triceps. Eb says: Your arms are executing a different motion than a standard bench press, but your lower body is not. PROSECUTION. Do your best to keep applying this pressure throughout each set. That can be a good lift for emphasizing the triceps, but it’s not what we’re talking about here. It’s a bigger compound lift that’s a bit more intuitive to learn, and it will do a better job of stimulating your entire chest as well as your shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. Used for building mass and facilitating other lifts, the close-grip bench press is true a staple in any program. So, if your goal is to increase your triceps size and strength to build a stronger 1-rep max on the bench press, the close-grip bench press is perhaps the very best exercise for bulking up your triceps, since it works the heads that are most involved in the bench press. Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program. 1. That means that when doing a set of 10 repetitions, that bench press is often a chest-dominant lift, best for building bigger pecs. These form keys are the secret to better reps for a stronger chest and triceps. One reason might be that our triceps aren’t brought close enough to failure, and that’s surely part of it. Going that narrow limits how much your back muscles can help you create a proper platform for your torso, and it also forces your shoulders into a level of internal rotation. Close grip bench press strength standards help you to compare your one-rep max lift with other lifters at your bodyweight. By placing your hands closer than shoulder-width apart, you force your triceps to do more of the work, thus making this an effective arm-building exercise.… To do the close-grip bench press, set up for a regular bench press—feet planted firmly, a strong arch, shoulder blades down and back—but grip the barbell with a narrow grip. The close grip bench press is the best way to target your triceps without doing an isolation exercise. A recent EMG study found that as we delve into lower rep ranges, our shoulders and triceps become more and more dominant in the bench press. What makes it a perfect arm exercise is the focus on your triceps and, to a lesser extent, the front deltoids instead of the chest area as in the case of traditional bench press. The close grip bench press is a core training staple that can build size and strength in your triceps and chest—but are you sure you're even doing the exercise correctly? Watch most videos of the lift and you can see the forearms forming a … It kicks off with a 5-part series about how to build muscle more leanly, gain strength faster, and improve your appearance. Would like your views on it in comparison to a inclined bench and close grip flat bench. I’d recommend mastering the regular barbell bench press first. It is also a good way for you to “power level” your bench press. Http://GetFitThisYear.comHow to Do Close Grip Bench Press with Dumbbells. Perhaps most of all, it’s one of the very best assistance lifts for powerlifters who are trying to increase their bench press 1-rep max. Improper form may allow you to lift more weight or do more reps, but it also increases your risk of injury, and may even make the exercise less effective. That means that when we’re doing a compound pushing movement, we can’t fully engage the longer heads of our triceps. How to do Close Grip Dumbbell Press Start the exercise by picking up a pair of dumbbells (weighing about 25 lbs) off the ground, holding them with a neutral grip. There are a few lifts that work the shoulders and triceps, ranging from push-ups to the overhead press, and those can certainly help, but when our goal is to improve our strength on a specific lift, the most efficient way to do that is often to choose a fairly similarly variation. But we also see that using a narrower grip means lowering the barbell lower down on your torso, which increases the moment arms for your shoulders and upper chest (which attaches to your collarbone). As the name implies, you bring your hands closer together when compared to the traditional bench press, with your index fingers right at the smooth part of the bar. After all, the triceps play a major role in the traditional bench press exercise. As discussed earlier, the close grip bench press significantly increases triceps strength. Your tris are responsible for extending your arm at the elbow, so you want them moving in one plane; once they're in multiple planes (because you're flaring out), other muscles are taking over. Secondly, reverse grip benching also activates upper pecs quite hard. But when we’re training to build a bigger 1-rep max, the bench press is just as much a shoulder and triceps lift. Let Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. Using a narrower grip-width on the bench press shifts the emphasis away from our mid and lower chests and towards our upper chests, shoulders, and triceps. Close grip bench press strength standards help you to compare your one-rep max lift with other lifters at your bodyweight. It’s not a complete triceps exercise. This makes it a poorer variation for gaining overall pec size and strength. Your chest and shoulders will invariably assist in close-grip pressing, but you're doing this primarily for tris, so keep the focus on them. (We do list them as an assistance exercise in our bench press article, though.). It uses a deeper range of motion than the incline bench press, which should, in theory, make it better for building the front delts and upper chest. The close-grip bench is perhaps the most common assistance exercise for the bench press – an assistance exercise being defined as a variation of the basic exercise. The close grip offers the most range of motion of any Bench Press grip. So adhere to all good bench press rules for body position. These are the muscles that often limit our strength when we’re benching in lower rep ranges, and so it’s a great lift for helping you build a bigger bench press 1-rep max. The movement will also indirectly target the muscles of the chest and shoulders. You will be able to keep your lats tighter in a standard grip … The Close-Grip Bench Press is one of the best Bench Press variations available. The close-grip bench press is an interesting lift for the triceps. It’s almost identical to the barbell bench press, but for the fact that it uses a closer grip and tucked elbows, like so: Different people use different grip widths, but it’s typically done as narrow as possible, with the hands just outside the torso, just wide enough to let you bring the barbell all the way down to your torso without your hands getting in the way. The narrow grip bench press is not a plyometric movement, if you want to work on speed-strength you should use close grip push-ups and some plyo-boxes. Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS. After all, the incline bench press cuts out the very bottom of the range of motion on the bench press, failing to give us much of a stretch. We use the shorter heads instead. There are a few reasons you might want to include it in your routine: The close-grip bench press is a lighter variation of the bench press, often used as an assistance lift in powerlifting programs, given that it bulks up the muscles that tend to limit our 1-rep max bench press strength: our shoulders and triceps. I don’t know if we can conclude that the close-grip bench press is better than the incline bench press for the upper chest and front delts, but we can certainly guess that it’s better. Shane Duquette is the co-founder and creative lead of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, and has a degree in design from York University in Toronto, Canada. The 5 Big Compound Lifts for Building Muscle. The close-grip bench press works the fronts of our shoulders (anterior deltoids), our upper chests (the clavicular fibres), and the shorter heads of our triceps, like so: It’s often said that the close-grip bench press is a lift designed to bulk up your triceps, and that’s true, but there’s quite a bit more to it than that. ; Choose between a regular or false grip style (jump to: grip tips). Eb says: Conventional bench presses have you lowering the bar to your lower chest, and you may be tempted to try to do that with the close-grip press. 'The exercise is performed lying prone on a weight bench, using a weighted barbell to provide resistance. The close grip bench press differs from the traditional bench press in that it holds the press tighter. The closer you go, the better you hit your triceps. These are the muscles that often limit our strength when we’re benching in lower rep ranges, and so it’s a great lift for helping you build a bigger bench press 1-rep max. Close-grip bench presses. This makes the close-grip bench press a great lift for people with lagging upper chests. There are a few different ways to do the close-grip bench press: Some people will recommend gripping the barbell even narrower than shoulder width, to the point where we can’t bring the barbell all the way down to our torsos anymore. Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. Most bodybuilders use a very- close grip (about six inches apart). It will also help you increase your bench press and maximize strength gains. Our triceps help to lock out our elbows, yes, and that can help with the bench press. The close-grip bench press is another old-school triceps mass builder not only used by bodybuilders but other strength and sports athletes as well. Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press Variations. Stronger triceps play the most major role in increasing bench press strength. Of course, even though we say it is one of the best triceps workouts, you do not need to restrict yourself to it alone. For this basic gym necessity, you shouldn't settle for anything other than perfect form—especially because it's such a simple, essential movement that should serve as one of the centerpieces of your training plan. A close grip bench press is a strength training exercise that targets the triceps brachii, commonly known as the 'triceps. Our close grip bench press standards are based on 85,000 lifts by Strength Level users. Close-Grip Bench Press Mistake #1. Eb says: You want to eliminate as much shoulder rotation from this move as possible, both to really attack your triceps and to protect your shoulders. Hi Shane, yes I think different people benefit from different variations, some would like inclined and some would prefer close grip bench. This also takes emphasis off your triceps and forces your chest and shoulders into play. Yes, this is a “close grip” bench press, but going too close is actually a critical mistake that will end up doing you a lot more harm than good over the long run. As we mentioned earlier, the primary muscles used are the lateral, medial, and long head of the triceps. For instance, you’ll notice that the barbell needs to come down lower on your torso. Pause reps on the bench press are fantastic … It’s most commonly used by powerlifters to help them build a bigger 1-rep max on the bench press, but it can be quite good for gaining muscle size, too. Most lifters perform close grip benches with their wrists well inside their elbows, generally about 6-8 inches apart. The close grip bench press helps build big triceps and is good assistance exercise for competition power lifting. But another reason is that the long heads of our triceps cross both the elbow and shoulder joints. But it still involves pushing the weight forward, meaning we can’t fully engage the long heads of our triceps. This position emphasizes building strength and size in the triceps muscles and the chest. This narrower grip shifts emphasis away from your chest and onto your upper chest, shoulders, and triceps. After doing some warm-up sets with a lighter weight, your body will intuitively find proper leverage. If your goal is to build bigger triceps, the skull crusher is a better accessory lift to pair with the standard bench press (although it might not transfer quite as well to 1-rep max strength). We’re talking about a bench press variation that’s done with a close grip, not a type of triceps extension. I’d hate to tell someone to do them and have them get hurt, you know? To get an idea of why that is, we can look at how our leverage changes as we bring our grip in closer: What we’re seeing here is that as you bring your grip in narrower, the moment arm between your hands and your sternum shrinks, reducing the demands on the bigger “squeezing” muscles of your chest. If you liked this article, I think you’d love our full programs. It Will Be Harder To Keep Your Lats Tight. The Hypertrophy Rep Range: How Many Reps to Build Muscle? 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. For all I know, the incline bench press does a better job of activating it, and that’s why it’s so famous as an upper-chest lift. Finally, close grip barbell bench press is one of the few triceps exercises that take advantage of the length-tension relationship in the long head. 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