close grip bench press

arm exercises

Note that a close grip bench press recruits a different set of muscles. Still predominantly a chest exercise, however a close grip will distribute the weight differently to a standard bench press. For that reason, you should be mindful of the load on the bar as you may find that the weight you can manage differs from what you can manage on a standard bench press.

In short; this exercise will recruit your chest muscles while also shifting more of the load through your triceps.

How to perform a close grip bench press

Lay back on the bench and position yourself under the bar while keeping your feet firmly on the ground.

To start; press your shoulder blades into the bench and reach up to grip the bar towards the centre. As a guide; each hand should be around a thumb’s distance from the centre of the bar, or thereabouts.

Next; un-rack the bar and bring the weight directly up over your chest; keeping your arms straight. Brace yourself and then lower the bar to your chest until it just touches.

Pause for a second before finally pushing back up to start position through the same controlled movement. Go for reps.

Remember that the bar alone weighs 20kg (45lbs), if you’re unsure if you can manage it, try working your way up doing the same movement using a fixed barbell and a free bench. Do this until you can confidently manage the load.

Alternatively, you can use the smith machine for assistance. Of course, this should only be until you build up your confidence. That being said; don’t get too confident on this machine because 20kg’s (45lbs) on the smith machine will not feel the same as 20 kg’s (45lbs) worth of free weight, so be aware of that as you progress.

Close grip bench press: Common mistakes to avoid

It is important to note that this is one of those exercises that could easily result in injury if not performed correctly, so pay attention to your form and get it right before you start loading.

Remember that this is a chest and triceps exercise so you should keep the muscles you intend to work in mind when you are performing the exercise, this is the ideal way to ensure targeted results.

Reps and sets

As with all exercises, your close grip bench press needs to be worked into your overall bigger picture. Therefore; how many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends entirely on where you are physically and most importantly; your desired outcomes.

Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing is to get started, the rest will come with experience.

On the other hand, more advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals first. From there; you can choose the appropriate rep/set range to work with.