The Close-Grip Bench Press: How to Build Muscle and Avoid Common Mistakes

Updated: 22 hours ago


The Close-Grip Bench Press: How to Build Muscle and Avoid Common Mistakes


The close-grip bench press is an effective exercise for building muscle in the triceps. When done correctly, it can be a very safe and productive exercise. In this article, we will describe the proper way to perform the close-grip bench press and highlight some of its benefits. We will also focus on the variations of this exercise and how to avoid making common mistakes.


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What muscles does the close-grip bench press work?

Similar to the conventional bench press, the close-grip bench press works the chest, shoulders, and triceps. The main difference is that the close grip places more emphasis on the triceps than the other muscles.


The close-grip bench press has several benefits when compared to other bench press alternatives. It allows you to overload the triceps with a greater weight because your hands are closer together and provide better leverage.


How to do a Close-Grip Bench Press

To perform the exercise:

  • Lie back on a flat bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground.

  • Grip the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart.

  • Slowly lower the barbell down to your chest, pause, and then press the weight back up to the starting position.

Cues:

  • Keep your elbows close to your sides throughout the exercise.

  • Do not arch your back or flare your elbows.

  • Focus on pressing the barbell straight up and keeping your wrists in a neutral position.



Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing this exercise is using too much weight. It is important to focus on using a weight that you can control. Another common mistake is arching your back or flaring your elbows. This can lead to injury and puts unnecessary stress on your joints.

Variations of the Close-Grip Bench Press

There are several variations of the close-grip bench press that you can try that can help you target different muscles.


Variation #1: Dips

Dips are another great close-grip bench press variation that targets the triceps. This exercise can be performed with or without weight, making it ideal for both beginners and experienced lifters alike.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by holding onto a dip bar with your hands close together.

  • From here, lower yourself down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.

  • Once your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, press back up to the starting position and repeat for reps.

If you want to add weight to this exercise, you can do so by wearing a weighted vest or holding a dumbbell between your feet.


Common Mistakes

When performing dips, it is important to keep a tall posture and avoid rounding your shoulders. Additionally, be sure to not lean too far forward or backward. Doing so will put unnecessary stress on your shoulders and could lead to injury. Finally, be sure to lower yourself down under control and press back up with control. Do not allow your body to swing back and forth.


Variation #2: Diamond Push-Up

The diamond push-up is a great close-grip bench press variation that targets the triceps.


To perform this exercise:

  • Start in a standard push-up position with your hands close together, forming a diamond shape.

  • From here, lower yourself down until your chest touches the ground.

  • Once your chest touches the ground, press back up to the starting position and repeat for reps.


Common Mistakes

When performing diamond push-ups, it is important to keep a tall posture and avoid rounding your shoulders. Additionally, be sure to not lean too far forward or backward. Doing so will put unnecessary stress on your shoulders and could lead to injury. Finally, be sure to lower yourself down under control and press back up with control. Do not allow your body to swing back and forth.


Variation #3: TRX Tricep Extension

The TRX tricep extension is a great close-grip bench press variation that targets the long head of the triceps.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by grabbing the handles of the TRX and placing your feet shoulder-width apart on the ground.

  • Next, lean forward and place your hands behind your head.

  • From here, extend your elbows and press the handles of the TRX away from your head.

  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for the desired reps.


Common Mistakes

When performing the TRX tricep extension, it is important to keep your elbows close to your head throughout the entire exercise. Additionally, be sure not to arch your back or lean too far forward. Doing so will put unnecessary stress on your lower back and could lead to injury. Finally, be sure to press the handles of the TRX away from your head with control and return to the starting position with control. Do not allow your body to swing back and forth.


Variation #4: Skull Crushers

Skull crushers are a close-grip bench press variation that targets the triceps. This exercise is performed with dumbbells or an EZ bar.


To perform this exercise:

  • Start by lying on a weight bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground.

  • From here, hold a dumbbell in each hand or an EZ bar above your chest with your elbows extended.

  • Lower the weight down to your forehead, maintaining a close grip.

  • Once the weight reaches your forehead, press it back up to the starting position and repeat for reps.


Common Mistakes

When performing skull crushers, it is important to keep your elbows close to your sides. Many people make the mistake of allowing their elbows to flare out, which takes the focus off of the triceps and puts unnecessary stress on the shoulders. Additionally, be sure to lower the weight all the way down to your forehead and press it back up with control.


Variation #5: Dumbbell Close-Grip Floor Press

The close-grip floor press is a variant of the close-grip bench press that focuses on the triceps. This exercise is similar to the standard close-grip bench press, but it is performed on the ground instead of on a weight bench.

To perform this exercise:

  • Start by lying on the ground with dumbbells close to your chest.

  • From here, press the dumbbells up until your arms are extended.

  • Once your arms are extended, lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position and repeat for reps.


Common Mistakes

When performing the close-grip floor press, it is important to keep your elbows close to your sides. Many people make the mistake of allowing their elbows to flare out, which takes the focus off of the triceps and puts unnecessary stress on the shoulders. Additionally, be sure to lower the dumbbells all the way down to your chest and press them back up with control.



Summary

In conclusion, the close-grip bench press is an excellent exercise for building muscle in the chest and triceps. However, there are a few common mistakes that people make when performing this exercise. Be sure to keep your elbows close to your sides, lower the weight under control, and press the weight back up with control. By avoiding these common mistakes, you will be able to maximize your results. Try incorporating some of the variations listed above into your workout routine to keep things fresh, emphasize other muscle groups, and add variety.


For a complete routine, check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


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