Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is a variation exercise similar to the regular bench press developed to work a different set of muscles.  By moving your hands within 18 inches, the stress shifts to your triceps and do a lesser degree, your shoulders and lower chest.  The close grip bench press focuses on the medial and lateral heads of your triceps.  This exercise will also build up your tricep strength and will increase the amount of weight you lift with the regular bench press.  Because of the heavy weights used in the bench press, it is always recommended to use a spotter.   The spotter will be standing behind you and grip the barbell with alternate hand grips. He should also squat and move with the bar for maximum support.

In addition to the standard bench press machine, there is also a Smith bench press machine.  This bench press allows you to focus on your form since the Smith bench press machine controls the motion of the barbell.  It also eliminates the need for a spotter.   The goal of the bench press is to increase the size of your triceps and to build your strength.  This is best accomplished by increasing the weights on the barbell and keeping the reps lower.

The basic form for the close grip bench press is the same as the regular bench press with the exemption of your hand placement.  Position yourself lying face up on a flat bench. With your feet on the floor and spread wide, grip the bar with both hands close together.  If your hands get closer than about 12 inches you could strain your wrists or elbows.  The closer together your hands are, the more the exercise will benefit your triceps, so itís a delicate balance.   Slowly lower the bar to your chest, with your wrists facing up.  The bar should be at the lower portion of your sternum.  Pause for a second and then slowly lift the barbell back to the starting position.  Do not lock your elbows when your arms are fully extended.  Also, to benefit the triceps, keep the elbows close to your sides.  You will probably feel extra stress in your triceps.

There are a number of different variations of close grip bench presses.  You can change your torso position by lying in an incline or a decline position.  Do not choose a position greater than 25 degrees.   Another variation for you torso is the seated machine bench press.   The seated machine lets you to focus your attention on maintaining the correct form.  Another advantage is itís easier to keep your back straight.  You wonít be struggling to keep from arching your back as you go through the exercise.  However, some of the experts donít believe you will be able to build the mass with sitting machines.  Another variation is to substitute dumbbells for the barbell.  Each dumbbell contains the same weight.  The dumbbells begin to the sides of your upper chest with your elbows below the dumbbells.  Both dumbbells are raised and then lowered together and return to your upper chest.

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