Close-grip barbell bench press exercise
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Close-grip barbell bench press

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Triceps Brachii
  • Synergists: Sternal (Lower) Pectoralis Major, Clavicular (Upper) Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid
  • Dynamic stabilizer (not highlighted): Biceps Brachii (short head only)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Lie supine (on your back) on a flat bench, spread your legs, and plant your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Dismount the barbell using a shoulder-width grip.
  3. Straighten your wrists.


  1. Keeping your elbows close to your body, inhale as you lower the barbell to your chest.
  2. Exhale as you press the barbell back up to the starting position.
  3. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Using a shoulder-width grip and tucking your elbows into your body are important to maximize the emphasis on your triceps brachii instead of on your pectoralis major.
  • Do not use a grip that’s narrower than shoulder width. This will not put more emphasis on your triceps brachii. Instead, it will decrease your range of motion, put excessive pressure on your wrists, and limit the amount of weight that you can use.
  • Never use a false (aka thumbless or “suicide”) grip with any kind of bench press, including the close-grip barbell bench press.
  • For safety, have a spotter ready when lifting heavy.
  • When performed using proper form, the close-grip barbell bench press is one of the most effective exercises for activation and development of the triceps brachii.
  • See also the diamond push-up, the barbell JM press, and the Smith machine JM press.

Close-grip barbell bench press video


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