The Close Grip Bench Press

Bench pressing is perhaps one of my favourite exercises in bodybuilding. It’s a feeling of raw strength and power… your upper body’s ultimate challenge for maximal strength. It’s also an excellent mass building exercise, and I advocate it be a part of anyone’s program.

Bench pressing has many variations. It can be performed with dumbbells, it can be performed in a flat position, decline position, or incline position, and with varying widths in bar grip and bar placement over the chest.

The variation I want to discuss briefly in this article is the close grip bench press, how it’s done, and why it should be done.

How to perform the close grip bench press:

Firstly, I can’t tell you the precise number of inches apart you need to place your hands unequivocally, because this depends entirely upon your body width, and your arm length. But, a close grip should be performed with your hands/arms almost flush against your sides. (This is as close as you can safely get leaving the hands clear from the chest when the bar touches down.)

Normally when bench pressing, the forearms should stay upright at all times, but because the grip width is lessened by a significant amount in the close grip bench press, this won’t be possible to the same extent, and the forearms will tilt inwards.

One way to get your forearms to be more upright, if you feel you lack stability or it feels too awkward, is to bench slightly lower down on the chest, which allows you to tuck your elbows in more.

So, why should you perform the close grip bench press?

Put simply, because it’s enough of a variation of a very good exercises for building upper body mass, and variations are needed to keep things fresh. But, in addition to that, the bench press done in close grip form puts much more stress on the triceps, and many people (including myself) advocate the close grip variation for those looking to improve their triceps size and strength rather quickly.

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