Close-grip bench press

The close-grip bench press is a popular exercise targeting the triceps and chest. The main difference between this exercise and the standard bench press is that the hands and elbows are placed closer together, which places more of an emphasis on the triceps. The close-grip bench press is often used as an accessory movement for the traditional bench press, or as a triceps builder for arm training. Similar to the bench press, it can be trained in low reps for strength or higher reps for muscle or strength endurance.


  1. Places extra emphasis on the triceps
  2. Works the chest, particularly the inner chest
  3. Some lifters find it easier on the shoulders than wider-grip bench variations

Close-grip bench press Images


Close-grip bench press Instructions

Close-grip bench press muscle diagram
  1. Lie back on a flat bench. Using a close grip (around shoulder width), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. This will be your starting position.
  2. As you breathe in, come down slowly until you feel the bar on your middle chest. Tip: Make sure that - as opposed to a regular bench press - you keep the elbows close to the torso at all times in order to maximize triceps involvement.
  3. After a second pause, bring the bar back to the starting position as you breathe out and push the bar using your triceps muscles. Lock your arms in the contracted position, hold for a second and then start coming down slowly again. Tip: It should take at least twice as long to go down than to come up.
  4. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.
  5. When you are done, place the bar back in the rack.

Caution: If you are new at this exercise, it is advised that you use a spotter. If no spotter is available, then be conservative with the amount of weight used. Also, beware of letting the bar drift too far forward. You want the bar to fall on your middle chest and nowhere else.

Variations: This exercise can also be performed with an e-z bar using the inner handle as well as dumbbells, in which case the palms of the hands will be facing each other.