What is a close grip bench press? (A guide to bigger triceps)

What is a close grip bench press?

What is a close grip bench press?

The close grip bench press is a tricep exercise that also activates the anterior deltoid and pectoral muscles. of the shoulders and chest. It is similar to a regular, flat bench press, but the grip is much closer, shifting most of the resistance away from the chest and onto the triceps. 

Unlike skull crushers and kickbacks, the close grip bench press is great for training triceps with a heavier load.

Close grip bench press muscles worked.

The close grip bench press predominantly targets the tricep muscles at the back of the arm. Because it is a compound pressing movement, the shoulder and chest muscles are also activated. This is a great exercise for building both strength and size in your triceps. It is also great for improving your standard bench press and military press.

Muscles worked with a close grip bench press

If you want to take the strain away from the chest and shoulders to isolate the triceps, select a smaller weight and opt for skull crushers instead.

How do I perform a close grip bench press?

To perform a close grip bench press, you will need a flat bench, a barbell (preferably a short bar for easier balance) or a pair of dumbbells. It is also possible to use an EZ bar or a tricep bar with a hammer grip if you wish to attack the triceps from different angles. Using these bars may also be beneficial if you have limited mobility in your wrists.

This is the most popular form of close grip press. As mentioned above, if your gym has a short bar, balancing the load will be much easier and put less stress on stabiliser muscles. 

what is a close grip bench press

  1. Select your weight, hold with an overhand grip and sit on a flat bench. 
  2. As you lie backwards, roll the weight to your chest with your palms underneath facing upwards. 
  3. Before you start, make sure that your feet are firmly planted on the floor or at the end of the bench
  4. Try to arch your back so that your lower back is lifted off the bench and the weight is on your upper back.
  5. Your hands should have a grip on the bar that is narrower than your shoulders.
  6. Raise the bar with your elbows tucked in as you exhale.
  7. As you lower the bar, inhale, keep elbows locked in and bend them to around 45 degrees. 
  8. When the bar touches your chest, repeat the movement for the required number of reps and sets.

Dumbbell close grip press.

If you do not have access to a barbell, you can use dumbbells as an alternative. Using dumbbells gives you a bit more freedom with grip and makes sure that both arms are doing a fair share of the work. 

How do I do a close grip dumbbell press

Essentially, you are performing the same motion as you would with a close grip barbell press. By holding the dumbbells against each other with your palms facing each other, you are using a narrow hammer grip. 

As long as you keep your elbows tucked in, the tension will be placed onto the triceps and away from the chest. You can also opt to use one dumbbell and just hold each end of it with each hand for the same effect. 


In conclusion, if you want to go heavy on the triceps, opt for a close grip bench press. Just don't do it on chest day!

We hope that you have found this article useful and that we have answered the question - what is a close grip bench press?

If you are looking for a free strength building program, take a look at our HyperStrength training strategy. It is a 21 day, a super-accumulation training program that will give you insane strength and hypertrophy gains. 

If bodybuilding is your thing and you want maximum muscle growth, check out HyperGrowth, our free hypertrophy bodybuilding program

What is a close grip bench press alternative?

Skull crusher

Tricep pushdown

Overhead tricep extension

Tricep dips



Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form