Exercise of the Week: Close Grip Bench Press

While I’m definitely more of a pull up person than a bench press person, I recently added in a little more bench pressing into my workout program. Why?

  1. I rarely focus on direct arm work (biceps, triceps) and I’d begun to feel like my triceps were especially weak.
  2. I only noticed a little improvement in my tricep strength after a few weeks of isolation exercises (tricep extensions, pushdowns, etc.).
  3. After quite a bit of time away from bench pressing, it sounded fun.

Major Muscles Involved

  • Pecs (chest) — Even though I picked this exercise to strengthen my triceps, the prime mover here is still the chest.
  • Triceps — My little baby triceps.
  • Shoulder (front delt)


  • Make sure you don’t place your hands too close together. Having your hands directly in line with your shoulders is best, this way you don’t risk internal rotation at the shoulder because your hands are too close together!
  • Have the bar hit your chest a little lower than with a traditional bench press. This keeps your wrist stacked over your elbows which just feels better and should help you feel like you’re really pressing with your triceps.
  • Start with a lower weight than the regular bench press.

If you’re not quite ready to do this with a 45 pound barbell, you could definitely use a preloaded barbell as well. Now go give it a try!

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