Close-Grip Bench Press

Close-Grip Bench Press

How to close-grip bench press properly, with perfect form and technique! The best arm exercise to build bigger stronger triceps!

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How To Closegrip bench press properly

Page Contents:

Close Grip Bench Press vs. Standard Grip

The Closegrip Bench Press is a variation of the standard Bench Press in which your hands are placed closer than your normal grip. This will place more stress on your triceps in an attempt to build them up stronger.

By training the Closegrip Bench Press you increase the strength potential of your other pressing lifts.

Due to the decreased shoulder abduction angle used by the closer grip, this variation is safer for your shoulders when done properly; aka less stress will be placed on shoulder extension.

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Hand Placement

To be considered a closegrip bench press, the hands need to be placed closer than your standard grip. This may be as little as a one-inch difference.

The closer the grip, the greater the stress placed upon your triceps. However, only grip as close as you can while maintaining a neutral wrist position. And never closer than shoulder width. That would put too much stress on your wrists and doesn’t increase triceps activation.

You can also use a closegrip for incline bench press and military press. This will increase the range of motion and time under tension, making the whole lift harder.

how to bench press more weight book Get our “How To Bench BIG” Guide!

Everything you need to know about building a BIG Bench!

Includes a 12 Week Bench Press Program, Workouts, common Bench Press mistakes and how to fix them, and so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!

How To Closegrip Bench Press Properly


  • Build Triceps and Upper-Body Strength

Prime Movers:

  1. Triceps (Arms)
  2. Anterior Deltoids (Shoulders)
  3. Pectoralis Major (Chest)


  • Paused
  • Board Press
  • Floor Press
  • Specialty Bars
  • Accommodating Resistance

The Set-Up:

The set-up is all about getting your body into the strongest position to lift the most amount of weight, safely and efficiently.

Basically, it is all about tightness. You have to create tension in the right places without wasting energy and maintain it during the entire lift. If you lose tightness, then you lose strength.

Take your time and make it perfect. If anything is off, then reset and do it again.

Lay Flat on the Bench

Start by lying down completely flat, with your feet set on the end of the bench.

Set Your Hands

After finding your preferred width, evenly set according to the power rings, spread your fingers as wide as you can as if to engulf as much of the bar in your hand as possible.

Then grasp the bar tightly with your thumbs wrapped, trying to crush the bar in your hands to take control of the weight, while keeping your wrists straight.

This is your control point, SO TAKE CONTROL!!! Make the weight feel small while you become invincible with your crushing grip!

Note: Every barbell is different. NEVER base your grip on the knurling of the bar. ALWAYS base your grip off of the Power Rings in the knurling, even if you are like me and have your grip about 1 inch inside the rings. Though some cheaper barbells have their power rings in closer than competition barbells, it is still a much better way to base your grip. If all else fails, just close your eyes and grab the bar where it is comfortable and adjust from there as needed.

Set Your Shoulders

Press your feet down into the bench to raise your hips high, then pull your shoulders up off the bench while creating an external rotation torque with your hands, also known as bending the bar. Pull your shoulder blades back, together, and down towards your hips.

Next, firmly press your upper trapezius down into the bench, while keeping your shoulders tucked. Your eyes should be in line with the bar.

This is all meant to create an arch in your chest, not your lower back. Keep your chest high, and shoulders together during the entire lift.

Set Your Hips

While maintaining tension, and an arch in your chest, set your hips down on the bench, to where your chest is as high as you can get it.

Set Your Feet

With your hips in place, set one foot at a time down on the floor, while pressing down and out to maintain tension throughout your entire body. Think as if you are trying to slide your toes to the front of your shoe while pressing down hard into the ground.

Make sure your feet are set in a place where your knees are below your hips and your hips can stay on the bench, even when you push down harder. If you are having difficulty with this you need to work on your hip flexor mobility. You can do that by following my How To Warm-Up Guide or checking out my Mobility Exercises.

Lock It All In

To maintain tension throughout your entire body as you lift, brace your core, press your knees out hard to engage your glutes and keep your feet pressed into the ground.

After you are set-up absolutely NOTHING should move during the entire lift other than your arms. No opening and closing of hands, no foot wiggles, no movement at all. If you do get out of place, start all over until you get it right.

The Unrack:

Brace Your Core:

Suck in as much air as you can and hold it in, attempting to create as much intra-abdominal pressure as you can, to stabilize your spine. Then press your lips closed to hold the air in while flexing all of the musculature surrounding your entire torso, and forcing the air deep down into your abdomen. This is known as the Valsalva Maneuver.

Hold this air in tight as you lift only breathing as needed between reps.

Pull The Bar Out

While maintaining full body tightness and an external rotation torque on the bar, lock your arms to lift the bar only slightly over the bench hooks and pull the bar out until it is over your shoulders. Again, arms should be locked with your chest high and shoulders back and down.

Make sure that you get your lats tight as you pull the bar out as well, to help you stabilize the entire lift, allowing you to lift more.

Note: No matter the weight, it is best to do this with a spotter handing you the bar to maintain proper shoulder position. Do not shrug your shoulders forward to lift the weight out.

The Closegrip Bench Press:

The close grip bench press is as simple as pulling the weight down to your chest to create back tightness, then pressing yourself down into the bench as you extend your arms to lockout.

Make sure that you keep your elbows tucked during the entire lift to better engage the triceps.

Pull The Bar Down Down

While keeping your wrist straight and chest as high as possible, initiate the downward motion by pulling the bar down onto your chest, with your elbows tucked in towards your sides, and engaging your lats.

Pause On Your Chest

Touch the bar to your chest and pause, without it bouncing. Your elbows should be slightly in front of the bar and range from a 0-30 degree angle from your sides.

Find the best position for you, and if you have shoulder or torso mobility problems you should try to improve them before every training session. You can do this with my How To Warm-Up Guide.

Press Into The Bench

Press your traps down into the bench, while keeping your chest as high as possible, as you press the bar up and back over your shoulders where the lift began.

The more you press down into the bench, the stronger your press will be!

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Key Points:

  • Crush the bar in your hands and keep your wrists straight.
  • Chest high with your shoulders tucked back and down.
  • Keep your hips down on the bench with your knees lower than your hips for more pressing power.
  • Press your feet into the ground with no wiggles.
  • Keep your entire body tight so only your arms move during the entire lift.
  • Control the entire range of motion.
  • Tuck your elbows during the entire lift to focus on the triceps.

Always use spotters during your lifts for safety. 

how to bench press more weight bookGet our “How To Bench BIG” Guide!

Everything you need to know about building a BIG Bench!

Includes a 12 Week Bench Press Program, Workouts, common Bench Press mistakes and how to fix them, and so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!