As opposed to the traditional bench press, which primarily targets the chest, the close grip bench press primarily targets your triceps.
In fact, aside from parallel dips, this exercise is in my opinion the best exercise for your triceps when performed correctly.
When training triceps, many lifters tend to focus on isolation exercises. While these exercises will help to increase strength, one benefit of the close grip bench press is that it targets all three heads of the triceps, something that most isolation exercises do not do.
In addition, by placing more emphasis on strengthening the triceps, the close grip bench press will allow you to increase how much weight you can lift on the traditional bench press. This is because your triceps are the secondary, or assister muscles that help to press the weight off of your chest when you are performing a traditional bench press.
HOW TO DO A CLOSE GRIP BARBELL BENCH PRESS:
Lie flat on the bench. Using a close grip (hands roughly 12 inches apart), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over the lower portion of your sternum with your arms just short of being fully locked out.
Inhale and lower the bar down slowly until it touches or is just an inch or two above the middle of your chest. Whether your touch it to your chest or not depends on your mobility, however, do not rest the bar on your chest. Keep your elbows close to the torso at all times in order to maximize triceps involvement.
Press the bar back up to the starting position as you exhale. Locking out the elbows will take the muscle-building tension away from your triceps, so just go to 95% of lockout. Hold for a second and then lower the bar down again slowly.
Repeat for desired amount of reps.
Watch the short video below to see how to do a close grip barbell bench press correctly 👇🏼
Brian Donovan is a certified fitness and nutrition coach, and the founder of Online Fitness Coach, LLC – an online fitness program where clients get direct coaching and personally tailored training and nutrition plans. Coach Brian was voted Chicago’s “Best Personal Trainer” by Chicago Reader magazine, Best Of Chicago 2014 edition. He has been featured in magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Chicago Reader, Voyage Chicago, and The PTDC as well various other health and fitness blogs.
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