Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is a variation on the regular bench press. A close grip bench press is a regular bench press but with your arms positioned close on the bar. It may seem like a small change, but moving your hands to about 18-24 inches apart on the bar totally changes the muscles worked. The close grip bench press shifts the emphasis to your triceps and to a lesser extent your shoulders lower chest.

The close grip bench press is best for building up tricep strength. Using the close grip bench press to increase tricep strength will help you increase your bench press. Your triceps play a huge role in how much you can bench.

How to perform the close grip bench press

Lie face up on a flat bench, with your feet position widely and firm on the floor. Grip the bar directly above your shoulders (you may go further in, to focus more on triceps).

close grip bench press start
Close grip bench press setup

Slowly lower the bar to your middle chest keeping your wrists straight, and your elbows close to your body. Pause, then push the bar straight up to the starting position over your chest. Do not lock your elbows back at the top!

close grip bench press finish

Close Grip Bench press tips and safety advice

  1. This is great exercise to really gain strength in your triceps. So you can use the close grip bench press in your tricep workout as well.
  2. When doing the close grip bench press, to really hit those triceps, keep your elbows tucked in at your side throughout the exercise. You'll notice the extra work for your triceps immediately!
  3. Some benchers like to use the close grip bench press in their tricep workout, not their bench press workout. The close grip bench press is one of the best exercises for building tricep strength. Keep the weight high and the reps down.